A Japanese rock garden is an attractive, easy-to-maintain feature for just about any yard. Although rock gardens often take careful planning to set up, selecting the plants that will thrive in this type of garden can provide a low-maintenance garden area. There is an array of plants to choose from when planting your Japanese rock garden.
Goldenstar (Chrysogonum Virginianum)
Goldenstar has rich green leaves and bright yellow flowers that bloom in the spring and summer and spread out over the planting area. This plant is native to North America, and is most commonly found in areas as far north as Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and as far south as Florida and Louisiana. Goldenstar is easy to grow and does best with some shade. It can, however, thrive in full sun as well. These plants grow in a clump 10 to 12 inches high, and are commonly used for ground cover, in addition to their use in rock gardens. Goldenstar grows best in humus-rich, well-drained soil.
Lamb's Ears (Stachys Byzantina)
Lamb's ears are easy to care for and work well in Japanese rock garden landscapes. This plant can reach 6 inches in height with 4 inch long leaves. As its name indicates, the leaves of this plant are covered by a white, wool-like substance that feels soft and woolly to the touch. When in bloom, lamb's ears produce tiny pink and purple flowers on spikes that reach up to 2 feet tall. Lamb's ears require full sun and should be placed in an area of the rock garden that provides plenty of light from the sun's rays. This plant also requires soil that is well-drained and is somewhat resistant to drought.
Rockcress (Aubrieta Deltoidea)
Rockcress can provide a vibrant splash of color to your Japanese rock garden and is easy to care for. When in bloom, this plant is covered in 4-petaled flowers that each grow to a little under 1 inch in width. These flowers range in color, often appearing in shades of purple, lilac and blue. This plant can reach a height of 4 to 6 inches and will spread out to carpet the planting area. To prevent overgrowth, the plant can be cut back each season after it has finished blooming. Rockcress can tolerate some shade, but grows best in areas with full sun. This plant also prefers to grow in soil that has excellent drainage.