27 Gorgeous Rock Garden Plants You Will Love

If you live in an area with poor soil, consider growing rock garden plants. These amazing, easy-care ground huggers only require a not-too-fertile but well-drained dirt. Furthermore, they can expand very easily.

Turning an unappealing pile in the backyard into a lively rock garden is not difficult when you chose the right outdoor plants. Moreover, small perennials provide a lot of creative options.

You could create a traditional rock garden. Another excellent choice is simply filling the little gaps with small yet vibrant perennials. They look mesmerizing around patios or in container gardens.

1. Gentiana Septemfida

Gentiana Septemfida

Also known as crested gentian, many people prize it for its royal blue flowers. Since Gentiana septemfida is low-growing, the plant definitely looks amazing on your stone wall.

Moreover, Gentiana septemfida usually nestles among other garden plants. Crested gentians also do well in average growing conditions. The smaller varieties are perfect for both alpine and rock gardens.

2. Rock Garden Plants with Arabis

Rock Garden Plants with Arabis

Arabis or rockcress plants will grow vigorously in the thin layer of soil. You could tuck them between large rocks. Furthermore, these stunning creepers can grow between 4 to 6 inches high.

Every spring, rockcress develops white or pink flowers. We recommend cutting back this plant after blooming to encourage healthier, denser growth.

Speaking of deer-resistant rock garden plants, you can’t go wrong with rockcress. The plant is drought- and heat-tolerant. It makes a lovely container specimen too.

3. Ice Plant (Delosperma Cooperi)

Ice Plant (Delosperma Cooperi)

Do you want indestructible rock garden plants? If so, give ice plant a go. This perennial can resist salt, drought, heat, and poor soil. It grows up to 6 inches tall and expands two feet or more.

Moreover, the ice plant produces flesh green-gray leaves. The daisy-like flowers in shades of red, yellow, orange, purplish-pink, or white almost cover them.

You can wedge your ice plant between boulders. It will frame the large rocks slowly with its vivid color. This succulent is more winter hardy in drier, western climates.

4. Juniperus Communis ‘Compressa’

Juniperus Communis ‘Compressa’

Common juniper is an excellent cone-shaped coniferous tree. This shrub has an upright growth habit. Additionally, the plant doesn’t grow quickly. It keeps a slender form and offers an outstanding green shade all year round.

Furthermore, Juniperus communis ‘Compressa’ grows in various shapes. This evergreen conifer also bears dark-colored fleshy fruits.

5. Spicing Up Rock Garden with Poached Egg Plant

Spicing Up Rock Garden with Poached Egg Plant

Latin speakers call this beauty Limnanthes douglasii. It is easy to cultivate in almost any environment, but these flowering plants require ample sunlight.

The poached egg plant will provide free plants as well as naturalize itself. Furthermore, it develops vibrant yellow and bright white flowers. They also create a visually pleasing ground cover patch.

6. Euphorbia


If your area is frost-free, you should incorporate Euphorbia into your landscape. It’s certainly one of the best rock garden plants. Moreover, this fabulous succulent family comes in various shades, sizes, and shapes.

Euphorbia plants can resist both drought and heat. Their shallow root systems enable you to incorporate them into small spots between boulders easily.

Furthermore, most Euphorbia plants are 4 to 8 inches tall. However, a few cultivars can reach an optimum height of 6 feet. That’s why you must read the seed packet label before buying one for the garden.

You can grow Euphorbias in northern landscapes by planting the plants in a big, flat container. Then, place them in the garden’s center. When winter arrives, bring it indoors.

7. Shady Rock Garden Plants

Shady Rock Garden Plants

People highly value Lamium or dead nettle for their colorful flowers and leaves. Dead nettle is one of the most incredible rock garden plants. It grows particularly well in a shady spot.

This gorgeous creeper bears foliage in different colors including green, chartreuse, bicolor, and silver.

The white or pink blooms emerge from May through July. Moreover, Lamium can resist deer and grow 6 to 12 inches high.

Lamium or dead nettle can expand quickly when happy. No worries. To keep the plants under control, just do an occasional pruning.

8. Alyssum for A Rock Garden

rock-garden-with-alyssum Alyssum for A Rock Garden

Basket of Gold is another name of alyssum. This perennial works as a superb rock garden or wall plant. It sends out cheerful yellow blooms in the spring.

The flowers look pretty when they nestle between boulders and rocks. Moreover, alyssum normally can grow 6 to 12 inches high. It prefers full sun and thrives in well-drained dirt.

The plant lasts a short time in warmer climates. Replant it each year or every two years. You can also grow this perennial from either nursery transplants or seeds.

9. Lesser Periwinkle

Lesser Periwinkle

Looking for evergreen rock garden plants? If yes, give lesser periwinkle a chance. Generally, people treat this gorgeous trailer as a groundcover. It works wonderfully in-wall gardens too.

The lavender-blue blooms appear from spring to summer. Furthermore, lesser periwinkle grows best in a slightly moist environment and partial shade. Make sure you have a rock garden under tall and large trees.

10. Rock Garden with Catchfly

Rock Garden with Catchfly

Catchfly or campion is one of the most attractive rock garden plants. This colorful perennial is also ideal for a mixed flower border.

Many gardeners love catchfly because of its vibrantly colored flowers that bloom from late spring to early summer. They look impressive against beautiful silver leaves. The colors come in pink, white, and red.

11. Blue Fescue (Festuca)

Blue Fescue (Festuca)

If you want to build a conventional perennial garden, consider adding decorative grasses into the mix.

They lend your landscape visual interest and texture. The plants also will liven up space all year long while others don’t bloom.

Blue fescue is a clumping grass that grows 12 inches high. It thrives in dry environments and pairs nicely with other beautiful rock garden plants.

Every summer, its yellowish-beige flower stalks tastefully highlight rich blue leaves.

12. Alpine Rock Garden Plants

Alpine Rock Garden Plants

Saxifrage (Saxifraga sancta) is so eye-catching. This completely hardy perennial alpine plant prefers fairly moist soil and direct sun.

Moreover, saxifrage develops vivid yellow blooms. They emerge from early spring to late spring.

13. Hens and Chicks

Hens and Chicks

Hens and chicks are basically like your favorite chips. We guarantee you cannot stop with only one.

Furthermore, these cute, drought-resistant ground huggers come in various sizes, colors, and shapes. This makes them very collectible.

Moreover, each hen produces chicks or babies quickly. They eventually create a tight carpet of stunning foliage.

You can tuck hens and chicks into the tiny sunny cranny or nook because they are pretty small. Don’t hesitate to separate the babies from the hens and replant them in other spots.

14. Bressingham Pink

Bressingham Pink

People typically know this plant as thyme or Thymus doerfleri. It bears appealing leaves with long-lasting flowers.

Moreover, Bressingham pink can tolerate drought. This creeping thyme is one of the most crucial culinary herbs. It makes a remarkable rock plant as well.

15. Dwarf Daffodils As Rock Garden Plants

Dwarf Daffodils As Rock Garden Plants

Talking about popular miniature daffodils, you definitely can’t forget tete a tete. This beauty is perfect for planting at the border’s front, in pots, or patio containers.

Tete a Tete send out dark golden yellow blooms. You can enjoy them in the early spring. Moreover, each stem carries up to three flowers.

16. Creeping Phlox

Creeping Phlox

Creeping phlox is one of the most excellent rock garden plants. It also grows well in a poor, dry potting condition that has great drainage. Additionally, the plant produces jewel-like blooms every spring.

Furthermore, the height of the creeping phlox is normally 4-6 inches. The plant forms mats of bicolor, purple, blue, pink, or rose flowers.

It features deep, needle-like evergreen leaves that remain charming throughout the year.

17. Irish Moss

Irish Moss

Rock garden plants generally grow best in a dry environment. Growing them in moister climates like the Pacific Northwest can be tricky.

However, Irish moss prefers slightly wet soil. It is undoubtedly a nice option for those areas.

As the name implies, this plant boasts soft, vibrant green moss-like leaves. They generate a thick carpet. You even can walk on it.

In the spring, there are petite, star-like bright white flowers. We suggest wedging the plants between rocks. If your area has low rainfall, water them once a week.

18. Aubrieta Deltoidea

Aubrieta Deltoidea

Aubrieta deltoidea lends any rock garden pops of color every early spring. This evergreen perennial offers a mat-like appearance. It also thrives atop retaining walls or in rockeries.

The flowers of Aubrieta deltoidea are available in blue and purple. Moreover, they beautifully hide the plant.

19. Woolly Thyme

Woolly Thyme

Woolly thyme bears fuzzy, green-gray foliage. It has a cushion-like look that contrasts delightfully with the hard edges of the boulders and rocks.

Moreover, woolly thyme’s soft, the mat-like appearance may fool you. However, this small plant can withstand light foot traffic. It grows well between pavers or stepping stones too.

When mature, woolly thyme can reach a maximum height of 3 inches. Every midsummer, it sends out masses of small pink flowers. Since the blooms are rich in nectar, they will surely attract butterflies to any garden.

20. Anemone Blanda As Rock Garden Plants

Anemone Blanda As Rock Garden Plants

Violet Star or Anemone blanda is one of the most charming rock garden plants. It produces violet daisy-like flowers. Moreover, its foliage resembles a fern’s.

Anemone blanda is certainly ideal for any rock gardens. In addition, this perennial grows low to the ground.

21. Rock Soapwort

Rock Soapwort

Soapwort will gussy up your garden. During the Colonial eras, people used the leaves of this plant to make soapy bubbles for washing their clothes. Today, gardeners love it because of its fragrant pink blooms.

Without a doubt, butterflies will flock to the garden with soapwort. The plant itself can grow 1-2 feet high. It prefers shallow rocky dirt too.

Moreover, flowers of soapwort emerge from July through September. You should remove the spent ones to stimulate new blooms.

22. Rock Garden with Sedum

Rock Garden with Sedum

Sedums are undoubtedly low-maintenance plants. They come in various shapes and colors. These beauties will start to grow quickly in a sunny rocky spot.

Most sedum cultivars develop mauve, white, or pink flowers from summer to fall. Since the blooms have high nectar, they can attract butterflies.

The creeping sedums are typically available in mixed tiles. You can divide and tuck the plants into any location. Look for them at your local nurseries.

23. Blue Star Creeper

Blue Star Creeper

Searching for splendid rock garden plants? If yes, include blue star creeper in your landscape.

This perennial grows only 2 to 4 inches high. It also bears small green leaves. They create a solid carpet that can withstand low foot traffic.

Blue star creeper sends out stunning, blue star-like flowers every spring.

Furthermore, this plant thrives in a slightly moist environment. In wetter climates, it partners well with Irish moss.

24. Sea Thrift (Armeria Maritima)

Sea Thrift (Armeria Maritima)

This evergreen perennial plant develops mounds of grass. Moreover, the long stems carry globose flowerheads. The blooms come in red, pink, or white.

People usually use Armeria maritima as the edging plant or groundcover. It also looks incredible in rocks.

25. Rock Garden with Candytuft

Rock Garden with Candytuft

Candytuft develops a captivating mat of bright white flowers that sit atop evergreen leaves. When mature, they turn pale pink which lends the second color show to the plant.

Moreover, candytuft is a low-maintenance perennial. It can grow 6 inches high and expand 16 inches across. The plant is both droughts- and deer-resistant too.

After flowering, remove the faded blooms of candytuft. Then, enjoy its dark green foliage through to winter.

26. Bellflower or Campanula

Bellflower or Campanula

Bellflowers are one of the most striking rock garden plants. They come in various colors, plant forms, shapes, and sizes.

Campanula plants flower from late spring to early spring. Furthermore, they produce solitary blue blooms. These beauties look great tumbling over rock cliffs and make a terrific edging.

27. Red Creeping Thyme

Red Creeping Thyme

People don’t use red creeping thyme in cooking. However, the plant will give any rock garden interest and pops of color.

When you crush the leaves of red creeping thyme, the plant will exude its strong fragrance. It also produces small lavender red flowers every summer and looks wonderful in containers.

Do not let an incline in the yard remain unattractive. You can use rock garden plants to transform it into an outdoor oasis. Choose the ones that suit your environment and personality.

Barry Lane
Barry Lane

Subtly charming gamer. Friendly travel junkie. Hipster-friendly analyst. Food guru.

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