Plants for Your Rock Garden

A properly constructed rock garden, with rocks and soil elevated in tiers provides good drainage for many small plants that might otherwise succumb to winter and spring wetness.

Rocks are best situated where the plants will receive maximum sunshine and not be shaded by trees.

In addition to perennials and small spring flowering bulbs such as Crocus, Snowdrop and Winter Aconite, using dwarf evergreen enhances and maintains year-round interest in any rock garden. Many varieties of Dwarf Spruce, Yew and Hemlock are very suitable and widely available.


Sedum is a very important rock garden family. Dozens of varieties are readily available and hundreds are possible. All sedum varieties flower in their season from early summer to late fall. Flower colours vary from pink, red, white or yellow. More important than their flowers, however, is their interesting and colourful foliage. Sedums are a MUST in any rock garden.


Another important rock garden plant, Sempervivum has fleshy rosettes of foliage with the
mother plant surrounded by many small plantlets. These can be detatched and planted in another spot.



There are many named varieties, all with interesting colourful leaves. They include:
Moss Campion – Silene Schafta
Blue-eyed Grass – Sisyrinchium
Lamb’s Ears – Satchys
Germander – Teuchrium


Many varieties of Thyme are available. All are flowering plants but are valued more for their foliage in shades of green, plus gray, gold and silver

Veronica & Viola

Many small Violet-Viola, Veronicas, or Speedwells are available, including creeping varieties


The smaller, clump-forming (non-invasive) grasses add great charm and quite a different touch in a rock garden. Recommended Blue Fescue varieties, Tuberous Oat Grass, Blue Oat Grass, June Grass (Koeleria), plus grass-like plants such as Sedges (Carex) and Wood Rush (Luzula).


August 03, 2023 — Gavin Riley