Great Rock Garden Plants

Rock gardens can look like a collection of rocks and plants that came together naturally, or they can have the look of a formal garden. The plants in a rock garden can potentially be very diverse, ranging from mosses and Alpine wildflowers, to short bushes and shrubs. Rock gardens can be in bright sunshine or in the shade of a wooded area, and come in virtually any shape or size--whatever your imagination allows.

Irish Moss

Irish moss (Sagina subulata) is an evergreen ground cover that grows no more than 1 inch tall and spreads out 6-12 inches. The plant produces tiny white flowers in late spring. It is used between cracks of rocks, between the cracks in a flagstone walk, or as a substitute for grass. It grows in clumps, which can be broken into small pieces in the spring or fall to make the perfect size plant for any size hole. It can wilt in hot summer weather, but it will rejuvenate itself in the fall. The plant can grow in full sun (six or more hours of sunshine a day) or partial shade (three to six hours of sunshine a day). It will not do well in full shade. Irish moss can grow in normal, sandy or clay soil that is kept moist, but not wet.

Slender Deutzia

Slender deutzia (Deutzia gracilis 'Nikko') is a low-growing shrub that will take about 10 years to reach a height of 2 feet and a spread of 5 feet. The plant produces light green leaves, similar to that of a willow tree, which turn to a deep burgundy color in the fall. The small, white flowers appear from late April to early May and last from one to two weeks. It will tolerate a wide range of soil types and light. To get the most flowers, plant in full sun and make sure it gets a lot of moisture. It does well in morning sunshine and light shade in the afternoon. It works very well in a small garden, rock garden or as a perennial border plant.

Western Rock Jasmine

Western rock jasmine (Androsace occidentalis) is an annual plant that grows 1-4 inches in height. The plant produces slender, erect, leafless stalks covered with rough star-shaped hairs, green leaves that measure 3/4 inch in length and 1/4 inch in width, and white or pink flowers that grow on short stalks and bloom in March, April and May. Its natural habitat is the dry, open prairie and rocky sections in woodlands.

Keywords: rock gardens, alpine flowers, wildflowers

About this Author

Regina Sass is based in the Adirondack Region of New York State. She has been a writer for 10 years writing for publications in the real estate and retail industries. Online experience includes writing,advertising and editing for an educational web site. Sass is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.