Popular plants for use in rock gardens are perennials, which come back every season for many years without having to be replanted. Most rock garden plants originate from mountainous or alpine regions of the world. As such, they are highly adaptable to poor quality, rocky soils containing little nutrient value and thriving where other plants would wither and die. Rock garden plants usually are between 4 and 12 inches tall and are available in many colors and varieties to complement any landscaping design.
Windflower (Anemone pulsatilla), is hardy in zones 4 through 9 and thrives in full sun or partial shade. Windflowers prefer sandy soil with little need for water. Blue flowers appear in May, followed by green, fern-like foliage. The windflower grows to a height of 8 to 12 inches. Some, or all, parts of the windflower may be toxic. Windflowers usually are found growing in clusters, thriving in cool conditions while being protected by fine hair growing on their leaves and stems. Yielding to the slightest breeze, the Windflower is constantly changing its position, hence its name.
Sea pink (Armeria maritima), grows between 4 and 8 inches tall and is hardy in zones 4 through 9, in light, sandy, well-drained soil. Sea Pinks love full sun and plenty of water to keep their pink-white flowers growing densely, forming a thick cover of color with dark-green leafy mounds. Sea Pink's showy, carpet of blooms thrive from spring through summer and are popular choices for cut flower arrangements.
Phlox (Phlox subulata), thrives in zones 3 through 10, and although the plant will tolerate full sun for most of the day, it prefers some shade during the hottest part of the day. Phlox thrives in all types of soil and is available in a variety of colors, including blue, white, red or pink. Phlox displays a carpet of fragrant, star-shaped flowers in the springtime, which grow to 1-inch in diameter, accompanied by delicate green foliage. Weekly, deep waterings are in order for this perennial rock garden plant.