10 Plants That Grow on Rocks

Rock gardens are one of the most unique types of gardens that you can have, but with proper care for the plants that grow in the garden, you can have a beautiful place where plants can flourish.

For this to occur, you are going to need to have plants growing there that can grow in areas with poor soil that may not get adequate water all of the time.

There are a lot of plants that fall into this category, but in this guide, we will be considering 10 of the best to fill in your rock garden.

1. Douglas Moss Phlox


Phlox leaves are dark green in color with a needle-like shape that is going to look great amongst the rocks of your garden. It tends to grow best in areas with a moderate temperature, but in is capable of growing in cooler environments as well. Typically, the blooms on this plant are shades of pink and purple. This is a plant that has a longer stem, which means that it will be able to cover rocks and add depth to your garden.

2. Yellow Alpine Alyssum


Adding yellow to your rock garden is a great way to brighten it up. This Alyssum variety is a soft yellow, which makes it perfect as a plant that blooms in the spring. It is easy to grow; the plant is resistant to drought conditions, and it can thrive in soil that holds very little nutrients.

Since this plant thrives in sunny conditions, it may have difficulty growing in shady areas or areas that get cold for part of the year.

3. Blue Fescue


Not many rock garden owners would consider an ornamental grass such as blue fescue for their garden, but it can be a great addition, especially considering the blue coloration that will make the rocks look more vivid. This plant will need to be in an area where it gets full sun so that the leaves can turn blue, and when it is maintained, the grass will create and maintain a sphere-like shape that is unique.

4. Prickly Pear Cactus


Many rock gardens are not tended to every day, which is why they need to be filled with hardy plants that will be able to take a lot of heat and sun as well as very little water.

Drought resistant plants are typically best, which is why the prickly pear cactus is a great option. Of course, this cactus is going to have spines on the leaves, so you will need to take care while planting it in your rock garden. In addition, the pears on this plant are edible, which means that if you live in growing zones 10 or 11, you can even have a bit of extra fruit to enjoy throughout the year.

5. Rock Cress


If you are looking for a plant that will cover the rocks in your garden, the rock cress is a great option that will give your garden a softer look. This is a plant that does best in full sun, but it also requires quite a bit of moisture to survive. In fact, it tends to grow like moss, which means that moist ground will be beneficial for its growth. The blooms that these plants produce can be any color from blue and deep violet to a soft pink or lavender.

6. Hens and Chicks


Hens and Chicks are great plants for any rock garden because these small plants multiply as they grow, and because of their size, they are able to creep into the smallest spaces in the garden to make it fuller. They do not need a lot of water to grow, which makes them ideal for rocky soil that will not retain water.

This is a flowering plant, but it is a great addition to the garden at any time because of the red, pink, and purple highlights that can be found on the leaves. Because these plants are so easy to grow, you will find them throughout the county.

7. Coral Bells


Many of the plants that we have considered thus far for a rock garden have had some type of green foliage to cover the ground and the rocks in the garden, but coral bells have much more colorful leaves that will brighten your garden throughout the year. Though the plant does bloom ,the pink and purple leaves are striking against the green foliage of other plants.

8. Thyme


Thyme is a very decorative plant that will look great in a rock garden. You can use the plant to decorate a specific area of the garden, or if you prefer more of a cover, a creeping variety is a great option to consider. Typically, the leaves are small and bright green, while the leaves are a light lavender or purple shade. Once the plant grows, you will be able to use the herbs to season your food as well.

9. Sedum


Also known as stonecrop, sedum is a great plant to consider for a rock garden. It is a succulent, which means that it will not require a lot of water to thrive, and it can take the heat of the sun without any issue. The blooms that this plant produces are star-shaped, which makes them stand out in most rock gardens. This plant is available in a variety of bloom colors, so you can use these plants to brighten up your rock garden quite a bit.

10. Aubrieta


If you want to brighten up your rock garden with purple flowers, then aubrieta is a great option to consider. It has small leaves and flowers that can easily grow between the rocks, and since it is a carpeting plant, it will spread to all of those hard to grow in places with ease. Typically, the blooms on this plant can vary in shade, so you can vary your garden a bit.

There are quite a few plant options for a rock garden; some add cover to the space, while others add color.

Regardless of the plants that you choose, you will want something that grows well in rocky soil and can handle sun all day. Which plants do you find grows best in a rock garden?