Rock Gardens

Do you have a small nook off your patio or yard where you would like to have flowers but think that the space is too small? Perhaps you have a natural stone wall with gaps just large enough for a small plant? Maybe you have a tough, rocky slope that is difficult to maintain? Try planting rock garden perennials. These plants prefer excellent drainage and tend to be under 12 inches tall. Rock garden perennials are good in small clumps along a path or stairway and in between stones in a wall. When viewed from a distance, they are best planted in larger groupings.


Some suitable rock garden perennials are:


Alyssum (Basket of Gold)


Aquilegia (Columbine)


Arabis (Rock Cress)


Armeria (Sea Thrift)


Artemesia (Silver Mound)


Bellis pomponette mix (English Daisy)


Campanula (Bellflower)


Delosperma (Ice Plant)


Dianthus (Pinks)


Epimedium (Berrenwort)


Euphorbia Pollychroma (Spurge)


Geum (Avens)


Gypsophila repens (Creeping Baby’s Breath)


Iberis (Candytuft)


Lamium (Dead Nettle)


Lewisia (Bitterroot)


Lithodora Lysmachia (Creeping Jenny)


Mazus Myosotis (Forget-Me-Nots)


Phlox subulata (Mountain Pinks)


Primula (Primrose)


Pulsatilla (Pasque Flower)


Sagina (Moss)


Saponaria (Soapwort)


Saxifraga Sedum dragon’s blood (Stonecrop)


Sedum spurium variegatum (Stonecrop)


Thyme Veronica (Speedwell)


Think of your rock garden as a collection of potted plants, and tend to them accordingly. Loosen the soil in each area occasionally with a small garden fork. Most rock plants do well in poor soil, but the occasional addition of manure or compost will give them a boost.


Routine care will include cutting back any leggy plants after flowering, clipping off dead stems and foliage, and dividing any plants that become root-bound or too large for its space. Check for insects and diseases regularly. Slugs may be especially pesky because they enjoy the shelter found among the rocks. Never let weeds grow in the nooks and crannies. They will easily crowd out plants in small areas.