Plants That Grow on Rocks That Are Used As Herbs

Herbs are hardy plants, capable of growing and thriving in many places where other plants fail to achieve a toe hold. Herbs that grow well in rocky areas often have similar needs and attributes. The Virginia Cooperative Extension reminds us that many herbs originate from the Mediterranean, so they they often do best in a sunny location, away from standing water. Many are able to withstand a lack of care and poor soil, but will perform better with even minor improvements in the soil. When possible--either before adding stone or working around set stones--prepare and amend the soil to a depth of 8 inches before planting to give the herbs the best possible start.


Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is one of the best options if you need a plant that can grow around or over rocks. This low-growing herb freely roots in both small amounts of soil and poor soil. The plants need little encouragement to form a mound of spreading growth that will become a mat of vegetation alongside or covering rock faces. An area with good drainage and plenty of sun is ideal for the plant. According to the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, thyme comes in many varieties--from wooly to common, and from gold to silver. Lemon thyme is also available.


Several types of chamomile are available to home gardeners. German chamomile is most popular for tea, while Roman chamomile is a good ground cover, surviving even in areas of moderate foot traffic. The Ag Department describes scentless chamomile as a naturalized form from Europe. Scentless chamomile (Anthemis arvensis) can be invasive, but it is an option for soils with drainage problems. The herb releases a pleasant aroma when crushed and can be used in sachets indoors. Chamomile often acts like an annual in places where winter is harsh, but in some cold areas, the plant can survive to return over several years.


Oregano is a savory herb that is often used to flavor Italian and Mexican dishes. Oregano grows well in rocky areas because the stones provide a cool, shady spot for the plant's roots. This perennial spreads and grows close to the ground. With good drainage and full sun, the plants should perform well. In some locations, oregano may survive the winter to reappear the following year. Oregano comes in several varieties. Origanum vulgare is poor-soil tolerant. While it is a good option for a rocky area, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Cooperative Extension Service warns that this oregano is a less popular choice for most, due to its relative lack of flavor compared to other types. Greek oregano is the better-known culinary version.

Keywords: choosing herbs, hardy herbs, low growing herbs

About this Author

Alice Moon is a freelance writer with more than 10 years' experience. She was chosen as a Smithsonian Institute intern, working for the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and has traveled throughout Asia. Moon holds a Bachelor of Science in political science from Ball State University.