Rock Garden Plants for Your Rockery Garden

rock garden plants

20 Good Rock Garden Plants

The following rock garden plants are all fairly easy to grow, and can be considered for a new rock garden, or for making up gaps in an existing rockery. As rock garden plants are sold in pots, or ex-pots, they can be planted at any time of the year, even when in flower. The most convenient time for replanting, however, is autumn or early spring.

Aethionema, Warley Rose

This grows 6 ins. high and is a very dwarf shrubby plant, which bears pink flowers in May and June. It does best in a sunny position and must have good drainage. It makes a bold display and is one of the most popular plants for the rock garden.

Alyssum Saxatile

This golden yellow plant, a favourite spring-flowering subject, often shares pride of place with Aubretia. Propagation is done in the same way, and a few plants of this outstanding subject should be planned for on every rockery. It is 9 ins. high and flowers in May and June, giving a mass of colour in striking fashion.


Some of the species are very valuable in a rockery and A. Appenina, an appealing blue, 6 ins. high, flowering in March and April, is very suitable. It is also useful as a plant for shady places. Bulbs should be planted in September, 3 ins. deep and in a group of three or four for maximum effect.


The well-known “Thrift”, which grows so happily on cliffs and near the sea, is one of the Armerias, but for a rock garden choose the variety Vindictive. This has rose crimson flowers and grows about 6 ins. high. It needs full sun and a dry position to flower at its best, in May and June. It is an ideal rock garden plant, one that should always be included if choice is restricted.

Aster Alpinus

This is a very striking dwarf aster, being 9 ins. high and bearing violet blue flowers in May and June. This plant does well under most conditions, being easy to grow and very free flowering.


These subjects can be raised from seed or bought as plants in pots. Seed should be sown in May or June and the seedlings pricked out into 3in. pots. They are grown on for the autumn and winter, and can be set out when in bud or when just coming into flower, in early spring. After flowering, cut off all the spent flower heads and trim back any straggly growths, especially on plants that have been in position for some time. If some named varieties are being purchased, Crimson Queen; Carmine Crimson; Dr. Mules, deep violet blue; Royal Lavender, and Dawn, rose pink, are amongst the best. Cuttings can be taken from selected plants, using the new shoots, in summer, and rooting them in a cold frame in a sandy compost.

Bellis Dresden China

This miniature daisy with a shell pink, double flower, is of very neat habit. It is 3 ins. high, flowers from April to June and always attracts attention.


There are many species and varieties and to select just one is difficult. If the choice is the variety G. F. Wilson, which has violet blue flowers in July and August, pleasure is assured. This plant is 6 ins. high and very free-flowering.

Cotyledon Simplicifolia

A useful subject for July and August flowering, with striking sprays of golden yellow and a neat rosette of foliage. It is 4 ins. high and does well in most situations.


These rock pinks need a well-drained position in full sun, and ample lime or old mortar rubble in the soil. A useful hybrid variety is The Dubarry, which has double rose flowers with crimson centres, and is of very neat habit. It is 4 ins. high and flowers in June and July. Mars is a very free-flowering dianthus, 6 ins. high, which bears double crimson flowers from May to August. If a special pocket is made up for dianthus, use one part each of soil, old mortar rubble and coarse grit. Cuttings can be taken in summer and, indeed, it is a good plan to propagate from these plants regularly, so that young plants are always available.

Erinus Alpinus

This is a very good plant for a dry position and its rose pink flowers are very attractive. It is 3 ins. high and flowers in May and June.


One of the most popular group of rock garden plants but one that does not always give good results. A good variety is G. Acaulis, which has vivid, blue, trumpet-like flowers in May and June. This plant needs rich, firm soil and a special pocket made of one third compost, one third good soil and one third coarse grit will give it the conditions it needs to thrive. Another good variety, this time for August and September flowering, is G. Septemfida Gigantea. This has large blue flowers, several on a spike, and is 9 ins. high. It should have the same soil conditions as G. Acaulis, and can be relied upon to give a bold splash of colour in early autumn.

Gypsophila Repens, Letchworth Rose

This is a small trailing plant, with neat rosy pink flowers which are 4 to 6 ins. high. It looks well over-hanging some stone or rock and gives a pleasing splash of colour in May, June and July.


The variety Grace Ward is well known and very popular. It has gentian blue flowers and does best in lime-free soil. It is a small, trailing plant which should have a place on every rockery. A special pocket of peat, leaf mould and grit, in equal parts, should be prepared for this valuable subject. It flowers in May and June.

Narcissi (Miniature)

Many of these are suitable for planting in a rockery. Some especially attractive species are N. Bulbocodium Citrinus; N. Juncifolius; N. Triandus Albus (Angels Tears) and some of the Cyclamineus Hybrids including March Sunshine, Little Witch, and Beryl. A Triandus hybrid, Shot Silk is a “must” for the rock garden but, in any case, try and find space for at least a few of these early-flowering subjects.

Phlox Subulata

A very colourful variety is Betty, which has salmon pink flowers, borne in profusion during May and June. It is 6 ins. high and does well in most conditions. There is a wide range of varieties available, which collectively make a valuable contribution to the rock garden in early summer.

Primula Juliae

For early flowers in March and April, this dwarf subject with its crimson blooms is most useful. It grows 3 ins. high and the flowers are borne in profusion. It thrives best of all in a pocket of half compost and half coarse sand.

Roses (Miniature)

Room should be found for one of the miniature varieties, of which the most suitable is R. Rouletti. This has small, pink flowers in June which, as they fade, should be cut off with small scissors. Choose a well-drained position for this little gem. The only pruning needed is to shorten the main shoots to keep the bush neat and compact.

Saponaria Rubra Compacta

This has a long flowering season, from May to August, and bears bright carmine flowers, giving a colourful display. It is of dwarf habit, being 2 ins. High.

Saxifraga (Kabschia Section)

These are neat cushion-habit plants, which bear brightly coloured flowers in spring. The variety Riverslea is crimson and of dwarf habit, neat in growth and makes a bold display. It needs a pocket of gritty soil and very sharp drainage for best results. A very early-flowering variety is Mother of Pearl. This has pink flowers, in February and March, and is a good plant to bear in mind for extending the flowering season of rock garden plants.

10. October 2010 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Gardening Ideas, Rockery Garden | Tags: , | Comments Off on Rock Garden Plants for Your Rockery Garden


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