Rock Garden Plant Ideas

Rock gardens are a good way to garden on a slope and take advantage of native rocks and plants. Rock garden plant choices are those needing well-drained soils and those that are low with a clumping habit. Rock gardens must be maintained with weeding and watering. Plants for a rock garden include many ground covers and those smaller plants that spread well.

Carpet Bugleweed

The carpet bugleweed plant is a fast growing perennial. Also known as Ajuga reptans from the mint (Lamiaceae/Labiatae) family, it only gets 6 to 10 inches high. Whorled leaves are dark green, basal and 3 to 5 inches long. Flowers are under an inch long and in whorls, blue or purple in color. Divide every 2 to 3 years for proper growth. Plant a carpet bugleweed in partial to full sun in moist, well-drained soil. Propagate by seed, summer cuttings and by separating the smaller plants. Care should be taken as it can be a lawn weed or invasive.

False Plumbago

The false plumbago is a perennial. Also known as Ceratostigma plumbaginoides from the leadwort (Plumbagnaceae) family, it gets 12 to 18 inches high. Deciduous leaves, 3.5 inches long, turn reddish orange in autumn. Flowers are blue and bloom summer to fall, less than an inch wide. Plant a false plumbago in full sun to partial shade in moist, well-drained soil. Propagate by dividing root suckers or by spring softwood cuttings.

Pink Evening Primrose

The pink evening primrose is a fragrant perennial that is drought resistant and a hummingbird attractor. Also known as oenothera speciosa from the evening primrose (Onagraceae) family, it gets 8 to 24 inches high. Leaves are larger at the base. Springtime flowers, 2 inches wide, are bowl shaped and are white turning to pink with age. Seeds form in summer in half-inch capsules. Plant a pink evening primrose in full sun in well-drained soil. Propagate via seed or spring clump division.

Lamb's Ear

The lamb's ear is an easy-to-grow perennial. Also known as Stachys byzantina, it gets 12 to 18 inches tall from the flower spikes. Leaves are white and woolly, 2 to 4 inches long. Flowers are purplish pink and small. Plant a lamb's ear in full sun or partial shade in hot climates. Well-drained soil is needed. Propagate via root mass division or by seed.

Keywords: rock garden, low growing, clumping plants

About this Author

Tina Samuels has been a full-time freelance writer for more than 10 years, concentrating on health and gardening topics, and a writer for 20 years. She has written for "Arthritis Today," "Alabama Living," and "Mature Years," as well as online content. She has one book, “A Georgia Native Plant Guide,” offered through Mercer University; others are in development.