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Rock gardens are very popular in local gardens because they can be planted in a variety of ways. Many beautiful plants are hardy and want a sunny spot in the rock garden. The plants, which thrive well in the local climate, come from the high mountain regions of all countries. Because here the climatic conditions are similar to the local climate and therefore these plants are also hardy and can remain outdoors even in the cold season. The following article provides a list of suitable stone plants.

stone plants

Rock plants, which are also popular in local rock gardens because of their winter hardiness, are mountain plants that are used to the climate here. There, in the low mountain ranges of various countries, they often survive the winter under a meter-high blanket of snow, which can also protect them from other weather influences such as too much moisture. Therefore, the plants are very frost hardy, but often have to be protected from too much rain in the local, wet winter. Brushwood, plant fleece or panes of glass serve as good protection. The stone plants usually feel very comfortable in sunny places, but there are also plants for shady places. The list below shows the rock plants that are hardy and sun-loving.

Plants from A - B

alpine bells

Alpine bells belong to the genus of the primula family and are native to the European mountains. All species are protected, although there are also some commercially available species that are wonderfully suited to the rock garden at home. They like it sunny at their location.

  • bot. Soldanella
  • also called ice cream bells
  • very early flowering from April to June
  • Flower color violet/white to blue
  • herbaceous and flat growing
  • Growth height between 5 cm and 15 cm
  • Flowers stand out as single bells

Alpine daphne

The alpine daphne belongs to the laurel family, but is deciduous in winter and doesn't grow that large either, at a maximum of one meter. Native to the mountains and Alps, it makes a good addition to the edge or corner of a rockery to separate it from the rest of the garden.

  • bot. Daphne alpina
  • growing as a shrub
  • Flowering time between May and June
  • white, purple, pink or red
  • Flower is a simple umbel
  • produces red fruits
  • hairy bark on the branches
  • Leaves grow herbaceous

mountain chamomile

One of the most beautiful types of chamomile is mountain chamomile, which comes from the mountains of southern and south-eastern Europe. The hardy plant feels particularly comfortable in sunny and stony places and is therefore one of the stone plants.

  • bot. Anthemis marschalliana
  • Growth height between 15 cm and 30 cm
  • yellow flowers between May and June
  • grows cushion-like
  • Blossom forming flat
  • countless flower heads

blue pillow

The blue cushion is originally native to Mediterranean countries and the Balkans. The plant is particularly well suited to cultivation in rock gardens or in dry stone walls enclosing a garden. Here the plant grows as a groundcover and reminds of a pillow with its many small violet flowers.

  • bot. Aubrieta
  • cushioning
  • Growth height between 20 cm and 25 cm
  • very popular with bees
  • Flower color also pink or white
  • Flowering time in April
  • evergreen plants
  • requires full sun exposure
  • hardy

Plants from E - F


The gentian family includes between 300 and 400 varieties. These are typical stone plants that can be found in the mountains from an altitude of 800 meters. So the gentian is particularly well suited for a barren stone landscape. The plant has the other typical features:

  • bot. Gentiana
  • bright blue flowers
  • Growth height between 10 cm and 30 cm
  • Flowering time between May and September
  • Flower is closed in rain and cold
  • protect against overgrowth by other plants
Spring gentian, Gentiana acaulis

Rock Cranesbill

Originally from the Balkans and the southern Alps, the rock cranesbill is one of the suitable stone plants that can also thrive in full sun in the local latitudes for several years. Since the plant forms rhizomes, it forms a wide carpet between the stones with its green leaves. So the rock cranesbill has the other characteristics:

  • up to 30 cm high
  • well suited for bald spots
  • hairy leaf stems
  • evergreen in mild winter
  • otherwise deciduous
  • orange to copper-red autumn colour
  • Flowering from May to June
  • Colors between white and purple-pink
  • aromatic fragrance
  • Fruit reminiscent of cranesbill

fat chicken

The fat hen or fat hen is an ideal plant for the rock garden. She likes it sunny and is hardy. Since its thick foliage is also very decorative and the plant remains winter green, it is an eye-catcher in the rock garden at any time of the year. The fat hen is characterized by the following:

  • bot. sedum
  • up to 60 cm tall and upright growing
  • Leaves green-blue, fleshy and flat
  • Flowering time from September to October
  • brown-red to rust-red flowers
  • Inflorescence with many small flowers
  • upright flower due to solid flower stalk
  • easy-care

Plants by H - M


The houseleek is one of the succulents that, as stone plants, should not be missing in any rock garden. The fleshy and very colorful leaves give the plant a fresh look, even in winter. The plant is characterized by the following properties:

  • bot. sempervivum
  • Leaves arranged in a rosette
  • Water is stored in the leaves
  • Colors of the leaves vary throughout the year
  • between green, yellow, grey, violet, brown and red
  • wedge or ovoid
  • Height between one and five centimeters
  • Inflorescences up to 20 cm high
  • Flower color yellow, purple or pink
  • Flowering period from June to August
Large-flowered houseleek, Sempervivum grandiflorum


Lavender originally grows on rocky slopes in Mediterranean countries such as Greece and Spain. Since there are also cold winters in the mountains here in the actually warm countries, lavender is also hardy in local latitudes. In summer, the plant also likes it sunny. The other properties also distinguish the lavender:

  • bot. Lavandula angustifolia
  • narrow leaves
  • color teal
  • evergreen
  • intensely scented
  • bushy growing
  • growing upright up to 30 cm
  • Flowers grow up to 60 cm high
  • Flowering between July and August
  • Color between blue and violet

mini conifers

To frame a rock garden, mini conifers are suitable. Because if the trees are restricted spatially around the roots, they won't get too big. Even in winter, with their evergreen needles, they offer a decorative picture in a dreary landscape. The mini conifers also have the following characteristics:

  • Growth narrow and upright
  • between 80 cm and one meter high
  • can get very old
  • some species poisonous
  • form cones
false cypress

Planting from N - T


There are over 300 species of carnations, most of which are hardy, but some are not. Carnation plants also come in many different heights, ranging from ground pads to a height of up to 60 cm, and in many different colors. They are originally native to the northern hemisphere and are very persistent, so they can also be cultivated well in a stony garden bed. Some of the following particularly decorative species should be mentioned here:

  • bot. dianthus
  • Different types of flowers in solid colors or spotted
  • violet, red-pink or also yellow and white
  • Petals mostly toothed
  • Spring carnations have bizarre flower heads
  • Cloves have a particularly intense aroma
  • Flowering period from May to August


The phlox can also often be found in the garden trade under the name flame flower. Although the plant is often found in cottage gardens, it also fits well in a sunny rock garden. Here, however, she must be offered enough earth between the individual stones. The plant also requires certain care and is therefore not easy to care for. The Phlox has the following characteristics:

  • Flowering time between July and September
  • different sorts
  • Flower colors from white, pink, purple, red to violet
  • large panicles of flowers
  • Leaves green only in summer
  • ornamental capsules as fruit
Carpet phlox, Phlox subulata


Thyme is not only a tasty herb for the kitchen, but also a well-suited ornamental plant for the sunny spot between stones because of its winter hardiness. Because the plant grows on almost any surface, since it is originally native to Central Europe, it also gets along well with the local climate. The following features are typical of thyme:

  • bot. thymus
  • dark green, small evergreen leaves
  • Flowering between May and September
  • white to pink
  • Plant between 10 cm and 50 cm high
  • light brown, round fruits form
  • aromatic fragrance over the summer months

Planting from W - Z


The spurge plants originally come from Central Asia, the Near East and also southern Europe, where they grow on stony and barren subsoil and are therefore well suited as stone plants in the local latitudes. The plant is characterized as follows:

  • bot. euphorbia
  • Flowering period from May to July
  • yellow, umbel-like flowers
  • yellow bracts
  • ground cover
  • up to 30 cm high
  • upright flowers
  • evergreen
Cypress Spurge, Euphorbia cyparissias

dwarf broom

When the first warm rays of sun reach the garden in April and May, the dwarf broom shines in a bright yellow. Since the perennial originally comes from the mountains of the Mediterranean countries, it is a stone plant. The undemanding shrub only needs a sunny spot to thrive. It also has the following properties:

  • bot. chamaecytisus
  • fast growing
  • yellow, but also pink or red flower color
  • Flowering time from April to July
  • Height between 30 cm and one meter
  • toxic in all parts
  • green branches
  • deciduous in winter

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