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 ñ in shades of green, plus gray, gold and silver.


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 ñ Blue Fescue varieties, Tuberous  Oat Grass, Blue Oat Grass, June Grass (Koeleria), plus grass-like plants such as Sedges (Carex) and Wood Rush (Luzula).


Common Name Botanical Name
Wooly Yarrow Achillea
Lebanon or Persian Cress Aethionema
Bugle Flower   Ajuga
Lady’s Mantle Alchemilla
Ornamental Onion Allium moly and others
Basket of Gold   Alyssum
Pearly Everlasting   Anaphalis
Rock Jasmine Androsace
Pasque Flower   Anemone or Pulsatilla
Pussy Toes Antennaria
Dwarf Columbine   Aquilegia
Rock Cress Arabis
Thrift   Armeria
Silver Mound Artemisia
Silver Brocade       Artemisia
Alpine Aster Aster
Dwarf Astilbe Astilbe
Purple Rock Cress Aubretia
English Daisy Bellis
Heartleaf Bergenia
Slipperwort     Calceolaria
Carpathian Harebell Campanula
Dalmation Bellflower Campanula
Silver Thistle   Carlina
Dwarf Coreopsis Coreopsis
Dianthus/Pinks Dianthus
Dwarf Columbine Dicentra eximia
Draba   Draba  
Cushion Spurge Euphorbia
Indian Strawberry Fragaria
Yellow Bedstraw Galium
Creeping Baby’s Breath Gypsophila
Rock Rose/Sun Rose Helianthemum
Coral Bells Heuchera
St. John’s Wort (Dwarf) Hypericum
Houstonia Houstonia
Hardy Gloxinia Incarvillea
Dead Nettle   Lamium
Golden Flax Linum flavum
Catmint Nepeta
Prickly Pear Opuntia
Dwarf Beardstongue   Penstemon
Perennial Potentilla Potentilla
Rock Soapwort Saponaria
Dwarf Blanket Flower Gaillardia
True Geranium Geranium
Geum Geum
Strawflower Helichrysum
Hosta (sun tolerant varieties) Hosta
Hutchinsia Hutchinsia
Candy Tuft Iberis
Dwarf Iris Iris pupils
Edelweiss Leontopodium
Dwarf Feverfew Matricaria
Evening Primrose Oenothera
Iceland Poppy Papaver
Creeping Phlox Phlox
Gold Moss Sagina
Domenic Crupi