5 Plants That Are Perfect for Rock Gardens

Rock gardens are a great way to add visual interest to your landscaping. They work well in areas with dry or sandy soil, using plants that thrive in those conditions.

These five perennials will get your rock gardens started!

1. Heucherella Buttered Rum

Heucherella, also known as foamy bells, come from a cross between Heuchera and Tiarella. The Buttered Rum variety has coppery brown, maple-like leaves and grows in compact clusters 5-8 inches tall. It does best with full sun and well-drained soil in more northern zones, but should get some shade in southern areas.

Because of its small size, it works well in mass plantings as a ground cover in rock gardens. The flowers that bloom starting in late spring will also attract butterflies and even hummingbirds, bringing wildlife to your rock garden as well.

2. Hypericum calycinum | St. John's Wort

Hypericum Calycinum is commonly known as St. John's Wort, creeping St. John's Wort, or Aaron's Beard. This ground cover is very adaptable to different soil conditions, and can thrive in the sandy soil of a rock garden in full sun to part shade. Its root system also helps to stabilize the soil, so it can be planted on hills or slopes as well.

St. John's Wort blooms in spring and summer with yellow flowers, and is evergreen in areas with warm winters.

3. Black Mondo Grass

Black Mondo Grass is another groundcover perfect for rock gardens. This grass-like plant (rather than a true grass) is evergreen and reaches a height of 3-4 inches. It gets its name from its long, thin leaves that start out green but darken to a purplish black.

In summer, Black Mondo Grass blooms with pale purple flowers, contrasting with its dark foliage. The foliage also contrasts well year-round with lighter-colored rocks in a rock garden.

4. Oenothera Siskiyou | Pink Evening Primrose

Pink Evening Primrose is a native perennial with dark green leaves and round, light pink flowers. It blooms most of the summer and into fall, and grows 6-8 inches in height with a spread of twice that.

In addition to its pretty pink flowers, the best feature of Evening Primrose is that as long as it gets plenty of sun, it can grow most anywhere and in any conditions – making it perfect for rock gardens.

5. Russian Sage 'Little Spire'

Unlike the other, low-growing perennials on this list, Russian Sage 'Little Spire' grows 1-2 feet high with tall, flower-filled spires in late summer and fall. Its flowers are purplish blue, giving the plant a lavender-like appearance, and are excellent for cut flower arrangements.

This Russian Sage requires little to no maintenance and is drought-tolerant, making it a great choice for rock gardens. It is deer resistant but attracts butterflies and other pollinators.