Make Your Rock Garden Rock!

Jul 15th, 2009
A quick look at what plants are the best plants for a rock garden.

A rock garden is as well-known as Alpine gardening or rockery and is a great way to use a natural slope or terrace. There are a myriads of plants that can be used for creating rock gardens.

The best way to choose the plants.

To ensure you have blooming plants that flower all year long, consult your local gardening center for the plants that bloom at different intervals and choose several varieties.

Take a look at the garden during the day to see how sunny or shady the garden is and choose plants that fit into that location and consider what type of soil you are going to be working with.

Take a look at the soil to see if it is dry/rocky/well drained/moist

The following plants are in my Alpine garden which is located in a well-drained area.

Plants that start flowering in March:

Pasque Flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris) is a flower that can be blue, purple, red or white in color. It is an early bloomer and is just flowering in March and April. After it has flowered it makes long-lasting feathery seed heads. The plant is 15-30 cm (6-12 in) tall when in flower but the seed heads can grow up to be 40 cm (16 in) tall. This plant should be planted in semi-shade or sunny place.

Plants that start flowering in April:

Moss Pink (Phlox subulata) is an evergreen plant that has trumpet shaped flower that can be all from red-purple, violet-purple, pink or white. It should be planted in a sunny spot. The plant grows to be 10 - 15 cm (4-6 in) tall and can spread for around 61 cm (2 feet).

Snowcap (Arabis caucasica) is a small white flower that forms spreading cushions and is evergreen but flowers during April and May. It needs to be in a sunny spot. The plant can be 15-23 cm (6-9 in) tall.

Plants that start flowering in May:

Carpetweed (Ajuga reptans) is as well known as Blue bugle, Bugleherb, Bugleweed, and Common bugle. It is evergreen but has blue and purple flowers in May to June. It is good to use Carpetweed as ground cover. This plant doesn’t like a lot of sun and needs to be in a shade or partially shady spot. The flower on the plant is around 10 – 20 cm (4-10 in) tall. But the leaves are just around 5 - 8 cm (2-3 in).

Yellow ice plant (Delosperma nubigenum) is a small yellow flower. The plant is around 5-8 cm (2-3 in) tall that spreads for 40 - 46 cm (15-18 in). It flowers from May to June. In the winter the evergreen plants turn bright red and that can bright up a dull looking rock garden.

Maiden Pink (Dianthus deltoides) is a gorgeous strong, bright, deep red flower that has a purple tone in it (the color is called crimson). It is 15-20 cm (6-8 in) tall but the diameter of the flower is just 15–20 mm (0.6- 0.8 in). The leaves are small as well. It should be planted in a sunny place. It blooms from May to July.

Firewitch (Dianthus gratianopolitanus) is a magenta-pink flower that has the speciality that the edges on the flower pedals are fringed. It is 15-20 cm (6-8 in) tall and it needs to grow in a sunny spot. This evergreen plant has a silvery-blue color.

Plants that start flowering in June:

Creeping baby’s breath (Gypsophila repens) can be white, lilac or light purple. It is 10- 20 cm (4-8 in) tall. It needs to be planted in a sunny place. It flowers from June to July.

Pink primrose (Oenothera speciosa) is a pink or white flower. It is fairly tall since it grows from 20 cm to 61 cm (8-24 in). It is fairly easy to grow this plant from seeds. You can just sow the seeds outside where you want the plant to grow. I have to warn you that the plant can become like weed when it is in a rich, moist ground. Pink Primrose has a long blooming period that lasts from June to September. This plant needs to be in a sunny place.

Plants that start flowering in July:

Wall germander (Teucrium chamaedrys) is a leafy plant all year but is in flower from July to September. It needs to be planted in a sunny place. The plant is know for it medical uses but is mostly used in making alcoholic drinks with a bitter base that have a digestive or appetite-promoting qualities. The plant is 15-30 cm (6-12 in) tall and the flowers are purple and pink.

These are only a small fraction of plants that can be used in rock gardens. So go all creative and have fun doing it because it is your garden and you can do whatever you want with it!

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