Below you’ll find a total of 42 plants that are very much suitable to be planted in a rock garden.

1) Acaena microphylla (New Zealand burr)

Rapid and invasic carpeter with small bronzy leaves. In summer, mats dotted with arresting short-stemmed crimson spined burrs. Good ground-cover for bulbs. Prostrate.

2) Achillea chrysocoma

Rosettes of ferny grey green leaves, 10cm/4in high, spreading to 25cm/10in, form attractive woolly carpet. Mustard yellow flowers, 5-8cm/2-3in wide, appear in June and July.

3) Adonis vernalis

adonis vernalis
Adonis Vernalis

Bright green ferny leaved plant, 23-30cm/9-12in high. In March, butter yellow, cup shaped flowers form on 23cm/9in stems. Plant where no opposition from neighboring plants.

4) Ajuga reptans variegate (bugle)

Light blue spikes of flower in spring. Green and silver variegated leaves, good for carpeting in light shade.

5) Aethionema coridifolium’Warley Rose’

Thrives in hot dry positions. 10cm/4in high, spreading. From May to July plants covered with rose-pink daphne-like flowers. Good for limy soil.

6) Alyssum saxatile

Superb cascader massed with lemon or mustard yellow flowers in spring. Vigorous, so plant where it won’t smother slower growers.

7) Anchusa caespitosa

Valued for its hummocks of narrow dark green leaves and tufts of gentian blue flowers in May to July. 5-8cm/2-3in high, 15cm/6in across. Full sun.

8) Aquilegia ecalcarata (columbine)

Reddish purple ‘granny’s bonnet’ flowers on lightly branching stems, 23-30cm/9-12in high. Full sun. Leaves finely cut and attractive.

9) Arabis albida ‘Flore Pleno’

Massed with white flowers from February to June. Non-invasive clumps, full sun. Good for walls, paving or screes. Soft green leaves.

10) Armeria maritima (thrift)

Cushions of tight narrow leaves give rise to vivid rose pink flowers, like pom-poms, on 15cm/6in stems, from May to July. Full sun. Good seaside plant.

11) Artemisia stelleriana

Superb bright silvery ferny leaves. Excellent for edging or planting in pockets close to deep green leaved plants. Protect in winter from rain by covering with pane of glass.

12) Arum italicum ‘Pictum’

Arrow-shaped glossy green leaves marbled with white. In autumn, spikes of close set scarlet berries. Needs cool soil, 23cm/9in high, 38cm/15in across.

13) Aster alpinus ‘Beechwood’

Mauve-blue daisy flowers, 3cm/l^in across, on 23cm/9in stems. Spread, 38~45cm/15-18in, July. Best in full sun.

14) Astilbe chinensis ‘Pumila’

Spikes of rose-purple, foam-like flowers, 23-30cm/9-12in high, in August. Spread, 30cm/12in. Ferny leaves. Prefers cool, moist soil.

15) Aubrieta


Cascading or mat forming spring flowerer with bright rose-red, purple, blue or mauve blooms that literally smother the plant. Any soil, full sun.

16) Beilis perennis ‘Dresden China’

The double pink-flowered ornamental daisy, 8cm/3in high, 15cm/6in across. Divide regularly to maintain vigor. Summer flowering.

17) Berberis thunbergii ‘Atropurpurea Nana’

Superb purple-leaved form rarely growing more than 45cm/18in high and 60cm/24in across. Excellent feature shrub.

18) Campanula carpatica

Large starry cup-shaped flowers in blue, purple or white, in June to August. Clump-forming, 23cm/9in high, 38cm/15in across. Full sun.

19) Cyclamen neapolitanum

15cm/6in stems topped with pale pink to rich rose blooms; autumn. Rounded marbled leaves. Good for naturalizing in light shade. Peaty, gritty soil.

20) Daphne cneorum

Dwarf evergreen shrub 60-90cm/24-30in high and across, clusters of richly scented, deep pink flowers from May to June. Excellent as a feature.

21) Dianthus deltoides (maiden pink)

Innumerable crimson flowers 15-23cm/6-9in high on clumps 30cm/12in across, from June to September. Grow where plants can arch over rocky outcrop.

22) Dicentra formosa

Arching stems wreathed with deep pink locketshaped flowers. Leaves thick and ferny, good for ground cover. Blooms appear in May and June. Plants 38cm/15in high and 45cm/18in across.

23) Erodium chamaedryoides (stork’s bill)

Rosettes of ferny leaves give rise to 8-10cm/3-4in high stems topped with bright rose-red flowers all summer long. Spread, about 23cm/9in.

24) Euryops acraeus

Handsome silver leaved bush 30cm/12in high and across, massed with bright yellow flowers in summer. Clip hard when leggy to retain its shapeliness.

25) Fuchsia ‘Tom Thumb’

Summer and late summer flowering variety with large rose-scarlet and violet ballet-skirted blooms massed on stems 30cm/12in high and across.

26) Genista lydia

Arching stems set with close packed small leaves, decked with golden pea flowers from May to June. 60cm/24in high, 90cm/36in across. One of the finest shrubs for a rock garden. Set where can be admired by all. Full sun.

27) Gentiana sino-ornata

Vivid blue trumpets from September to October. 15cm/6in high, 30cm/12in across. Forms sheets of foliage. Needs a lime-free soil, easy.

28) Geranium dalmaticum

Large rounded clear pink flowers 2.5cm/lin across on stems 10cm/4in high; spread 23cm/9in. Glossy rounded leaves assume bright coppery red tints in autumn. Flowers appear from June to August.

29) Gypsophila fratensis

Creeping plant smothered with soft pink flowers in June. Prostrate; spread, 38cm/15in. Best in full sun on sharply draining soil.

30) Helianthemum nummularium (rock rose)

Cushions of small evergreen leaves massed with yellow, red, pink hued flowers from June to July. 15cm/6in high, 60cm/24in across. Full sun.

31) Leontopodium alpinum (edelweiss)

Silver grey felted spidery flowers on 15-23cm/6-9in stems. Leaves silvery grey, also felted. Blooms from June to July. Spread, 23cm/9in.

32) Oenothera missouriensis (evening primrose)

Impressive glossy yellow cup-shaped flowers 5cm/2in across, borne on trailing stems from June to August. 10-15cm/4-6in high, 45cm/18in across.

33) Oxalis adenophylla

Valued for its clusters of pink trumpet flowers from May to July. Handsome foliage, like shamrock. Height, 8cm/3in, spread, 15cm/6in.

34) Phlox subulata

Phlox subulata
Phlox subulata

Prostrate spreading mats covered with fiery crimson, apple-blossom pink, moonlight-blue or white flowers from April to May. 5cm/2in high, 45cm/18in across.

35) Primula auricula

Impressive heads of bloom in yellow and purple shades, often with a distinctive white eye. Evergreen leaves milky green. Flowers from March to May. Height 23cm/9in, spread 38cm/15in.

36) Saxifraga longifolia ‘Tumbling Waters’

A real treasure. Rosettes of narrow leaves give rise to immense, often 60cm/24in long, arching sprays of pure white flowers. Flowers June to August.

37) Sedum floriferum ‘Weihenstephaner Gold’

Spreading, prostrate plant decked with 8cm/3in high stems of golden yellow starry flowers in August. Leaves thick and fleshy.

38) Sempervivum (houseleek)

Large family. One of the best is S. ‘Commander Hay’, whose fleshy, spine tipped leaf rosettes turn a pretty reddish hue in autumn and winter. Best for scree gardens.

39) Solidago brachystachys (goldenrod)

Solidago brachystachys
Solidago brachystachys

Splendid miniature form with dense spikes of golden flowers coming in usefully in autumn when few other plants are in bloom. Height 15cm/6in, spread 38cm/15in. Thin narrow leaves of little garden value.

40) Thymus serpyllum (thyme)

Aromatic flowering carpeter with pink and red shades of bloom. Flowers mass the soft woolly cushions from June to August. Beloved by bees.

41) Viola cornuta (horned pansey)

Delicate spurred viola-like blooms in blue or white appear in June and July. Height 15cm/6in, spread 38cm/15in. Excellent ground cover.

42) Zauscheria California ‘Mexicana’

Loose stems of bright red foxglove-like flowers bloom in September and October to give the rock garden a final splash of color. 30-38cm/12-15in high and 60cm/24in across.