Rock Garden Plants – Gardening with small perennials offers a lot of innovative options. You could plant a conventional rock garden or merely load a little room with these small yet vivid plants. All are very easy to expand, needing only a well-drained and a not-too-rich dirt. They are also outstanding when made use of in container gardens as well as placed around patios as well as patios.
Transforming an unattractive incline or pile in your yard into a vivid rock garden is easy when you picked the right plants. These incredible, low-maintenance ground huggers do not mind poor soil, however, do need excellent drainage to make it through. Here’s a checklist of our top plants for rock yards.
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Rock Garden Plants with Campanula
Campanula, or bellflower, vary in size, shape, and plant form, but are usually various shades. They bloom from late spring into early summer with solitary blue flowers. It is effective as an edging or tumbling over a small rock cliff.
Rock Garden Plants with Limnanthes Douglasii
Poached egg plant, Limnanthes douglasii, is simple to grow in almost any soil in a sunny spot. The bright white and yellow cup-shaped flowers create a cheerful patch of ground cover. It will self-seed freely and naturalize itself.
Rock Garden Plants with Armeria Maritime
Also known as armeria maritime, sea thrift is an evergreen perennial that produces grassy mounds, with rounded flowerheads on stems. Colors range from white, pink or red. It can be used as the groundcover, as edging plant or planted in rocks.
Rock Garden Plants with Catchfly Blooms
Campion, or catchfly, is colorful perennial great for mixed perennial border or rock garden. Valued for its brilliantly colored blooms against striking silver foliage, colors range from rose pink to white to red in late spring to summer.
Rock Garden Plants with Aubrieta Deltoidea
Aubrieta, Aubrieta deltoidea, makes a colorful splash in early spring. It is a mat-forming, evergreen perennial, and its flowers, in shades of purple and blue, cover the plant. It grows well in rockeries, on top of retaining wall or edging.
Rock Garden Plants with Bressingham Pink
Thyme, Bressingham Pink or Thymus Doerfler, has attractive foliage, with flowers that are long lasting. It is drought tolerant, and one of the most useful herbs for the kitchen. Suitable for planting in rock or herb garden or border.
Rock Garden Plants with Saxifraga Sancta
Saxifraga sancta, saxifrage, is a fully hardy perennial evergreen alpine with yellow flowers in early summer and late spring. It grows well in direct sun and prefers medium levels of water.
Rock Garden Plants with Gentiana Septemfida
Gentiana septemfida is highly valued for its true blue flowers. Low growing, they work wonderfully when tucked into crevices in stone walls or nestled among other plants in the garden. The smaller ones are ideal for rock and alpine gardens.
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Rock Garden Plants with Tete-a-Tete
Tete a Tete is one of the most popular dwarf daffodils. It’s ideal for planting in patio containers or at the front of the border. The deep golden yellow flowers appear in early spring, with each stem bearing up to 3 blooms.
Rock Garden Plants with Dorothy Teacher
Dorothy Teacher is a low-growing form of the ever popular Baby’s Breath with airy sprays of pale pink flowers that get darker with age. Excellent ground cover and perfect in borders and containers. Prefers well-drained soil in sun.
Rock Garden Plants with Geranium Cinereum
Geranium cinereum, Ballerina geranium, is a mounded dwarf perennial that has gray-green leaves and large purplish-pink flowers with purple veins and eyes. This geranium prefers full sun and good drainage.
Rock Garden Plants with Anemone Blanda
Anemone blanda, Violet Star, bears large amethyst violet daisy-type flowers with fern-like foliage that are great for rock gardens. It is a low-growing perennial.
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Rock Garden Plants with Juniperus communis
Juniperus communis, Compressa, is a wonderful upright, cone-shaped plant. It grows slowly and keeps a very narrow form, providing a lovely year round shade of green.
Rock Garden Plants with Ajuga reptans
Ajuga reptans, multicolor common bugleweed, is an excellent, fast spreading ground cover with dark bronze-green leaves with cream and pink markings. Quickly forms a dense, lustrous mat of rosettes, bearing blueish purple flowers spikes.
Rock Garden Plants with Euphorbia
If you live in a frost-free region, be sure to include Euphorbia in your rock garden. This amazing family of succulents comes in a seemingly endless selection of shapes, sizes, and colors. They are extremely heat- and drought-resistant and they have shallow root systems that allow you to easily tuck them into the tight spots between rocks and boulders. Most Euphorbia grow 4-8 inches tall, but there are a few that can grow 6 feet tall, so read the label before you purchase one for your rock garden. In the north, you can still enjoy Euphorbia by planting them in a large, flat dish and setting it in the center of the garden. When frost threatens, just bring it indoors.
Rock Garden Plants with Rock Cress
Rockcress, also called arabis, gets its name from the fact that it will thrive in the thin ribbon of soil wedged between boulders. This pretty creeper grows 4-6 inches tall and produces masses of cheerful pink or white flowers in the spring. It can tolerate heat and drought and is deer-resistant. Rockcress makes a great container plant, too. Shear back plants after flowering to encourage denser growth.
Rock Garden Plants with Sedum
If you want a “plant it and forget it” perennial for your rock garden, you can’t go wrong with sedums. These tough-as-nails plants come in a wide variety of colors and shapes and will quickly take root in any sunny, rocky location. Plus, most varieties produce nectar-rich, white, pink, or mauve flower heads in the summer and fall that lure colorful butterflies to your garden. Ground-hugging sedums are often sold in mixed “tiles” that, like sod, you can cut up and tuck into any space you have. Look for sedum tiles at your local garden center.
Rock Garden Plants with Candytuft
A reliable spring bloomer, candytuft produces a stunning carpet of snow-white flowers atop bright evergreen foliage. As a bonus, when the flowers mature, they fade to light pink which gives the plant the second show of color. Candytuft is an easy-care perennial that grows 6 inches tall and can spread 16 inches wide. It’s also deer- and drought-resistant. After blooming, remove the spent flowers and enjoy the plants’ rich green leaves right through the winter.
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Rock Garden Plants with Alyssum
Commonly called Basket of Gold, perennial alyssum makes a wonderful wall or rock garden plant. Every spring it develops masses of cheerful yellow flowers that look terrific tucked between rocks and boulders. Alyssum grows 6-12 inches tall and thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. In warmer regions, this plant can be short lived, so replant every year or two. You can grow perennial alyssum from seeds or nursery transplants.
Rock Garden Plants with Hens-and-Chicks
Hens-and-chicks are a lot like potato chips – you can’t stop with just one. These adorable, ground-hugging plants come in a wide assortment of shapes, sizes, and colors so they are super collectible. Each plant (the hen) sends out babies (the chicks) on short runners eventually forming a tight mat of pretty foliage. Hens-and-chicks are drought tolerant and are small enough to be tucked into even the tiniest sunny nook or cranny. The chicks can be separated from the hen and be replanted in other locations.
Rock Garden Plants with Blue Star Creeper
Growing just 2-4 inches tall, blue star creeper should be on your must-have list for rock or wall gardens. This handsome perennial develops tiny green leaves that form a solid mat that can even take light foot traffic. In the spring, blue star creeper is covered with pretty, pale blue star-shaped flowers. Blue star creeper prefers slightly moist soil, so it makes a great partner for Irish moss in moister climates.
Rock Garden Plants with Irish Moss
Because most rock garden plants thrive in dry soil, it can be challenging to grow them in wetter climates such as the Pacific Northwest. However, some perennials such as Irish moss love moisture and are a great option for those regions. Irish moss gets it name from its soft, bright green, mosslike foliage that forms a mat so thick you can actually walk on it. In the spring, the plants, which grow 1 inch tall, are accented with tiny starlike white flowers. Tuck Irish moss between stones and water once a week if rainfall is scarce.
Rock Garden Plants with Ice Plant
Resistant to heat, drought, poor soil, and salt, ice plant is about as indestructible as you can get. This mat-forming perennial grows 3-6 inches tall and can spread two feet or wider. Ice plant has fleshy gray-green foliage that’s almost hidden by a barrage of jewel-tone, daisylike blooms in purplish-pink, yellow, white, orange, or red. Tuck ice plant between boulders and watch it slowly frame the stones with brilliant color. Ice plant is more cold hardy in drier, western landscapes.
Rock Garden Plants with Blue Fescue
Just as you would in a traditional perennial garden, it’s important to include ornamental grasses in your rock or wall garden. Grasses add texture and interest throughout the year and keep the color show going while other plants come in and out of bloom. One of our favorites for a rock garden is blue fescue. This dense, clumping grass grows just 12 inches tall and has rich blue foliage highlighted with buff-color flower stalks in the late summer. Blue fescue thrives in dry conditions and mixes well with other rock garden plants.
Rock Garden Plants with Woolly Thyme
The fuzzy, gray-green leaves of woolly thyme have a soft, carpetlike appearance that contrasts perfectly with hard-edged rocks and boulders. But don’t let its cushionlike appearance fool you; this little plant is tough enough to walk on and will do just fine grown between stepping stones or pavers. Woolly thyme grows 3 inches tall and in midsummer develops masses of tiny pink, nectar-rich flowers that butterflies will flock to.
Rock Garden Plants with Creeping Phlox
Just when you thought winter was never going to end, the jewel-like flowers of creeping phlox burst into bloom in early spring. An ideal rock garden plant, creeping phlox thrives in poor, dry soil that drains quickly after a rain. Creeping phlox grows 4-6 inches tall and produces carpets of blue, purple, rose, pink, or bicolor blooms. The plants also have dark, needlelike, evergreen foliage that remains attractive all year long.
Rock Garden Plants with Lamium
Prized for both its colorful foliage and flowers, Lamium makes a superb rock garden plant especially in shady locations. This handsome creeper comes in a variety of foliage colors including silver, chartreuse, green, and bicolor. The pink or white flowers appear from May to July. Lamium, also called dead nettle, grows 6-12 inches tall and prefers cool, dry, shady locations and is deer-resistant. When happy, Lamium can spread quickly, but don’t worry because the plants are easy to control with an occasional haircut.
Rock Garden Plants with Soapwort
Make your rock garden sparkle with a generous helping of soapwort. During Colonial times the sap of this pretty plant was once boiled to form a lathering soap that was used to launder clothes. Today, however, soapwort is prized for its fragrant pink flowers that will lure butterflies to your garden. Soapwort grows 1-2 feet tall and thrives in the shallow rocky soil so it’s perfect for rock and wall gardens. The flowers appear from July to September. Remove the flowers as they fade to encourage new blooms.
Rock Garden Plants with Red Creeping Thyme
Unlike its culinary cousins, red creeping thyme won’t play a starring role in your kitchen, but it will add tons of color and interest to your rock garden. This gorgeous ground hugger will quickly fill in between paving stones or rock walls. Tough enough to take light foot traffic, this rugged perennial will release its rich fragrance every time its leaves are crushed. Red creeping thyme grows 3-6 inches tall and is smothered with tiny lavender-red blooms in the summer. It works great in containers, too.
Rock Garden Plants with Lesser Periwinkle
Commonly used as a groundcover, lesser periwinkle also works well in a rock or wall garden. This handsome, evergreen trailer produces quantities of lavender-blue flowers in late spring and early summer. Lesser periwinkle prefers partial shade and slightly moist soil so it’s one of the best options for rock or wall gardens located under tall trees. The plants grow 4-6 inches tall and can spread quickly. Lesser periwinkle is considered invasive parts of the southeast.