Growing and caring for alpine rockery plants successfully

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Growing and caring for alpine rockery plants successfully

Growing and caring for alpine rockery plants successfully

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Alpine Rockery plants originate from high altitude climates, above the treeline where they have access to ample sun, but also a lot of exposure to cold, winter weather. That is why they do so well in UK rockery gardens and tolerate the winter conditions but they do need well-drained soil with plenty of grit mixed in. 

If you plan to grow and care for alpine rockery plants though, you still need to enforce some measures to make their growing habitat suitable.

Learn how to make a rockery

Planting Alpine Rockery gardens

First is how you plant them. 

Drainage is very important for them. Again, being plants that live above the tree line in high altitude places, they get ample drainage down the mountains and hills where they grow. You need to ensure that drainage is recreated at home. They will tolerate cold weather just fine, but not wet feet. 

planting a rockery garden

Types of rockery stones

Limestone is the traditional rockery stone, but it is hard to find today. That said, sandstone is more widely available. 

Choosing the right compost for rockery plants

Fill in any gaps between your rocks with a loam/grit compost mixture, we recommend using a mixture of John Innes potting Compost mixed with about 30% horticultural grit. This will ensure the soil they are planted in is well-draining but will still retain moisture. 

Plant in full sun and consider planting in containers in the ground

Find areas in the rockery where access to the sun is possible, and good drainage is offered as already mentioned. One way to help with drainage is to plant your alpines in different containers and then bury the containers in your rockery. This will prove useful for those who want to grow a multitude of alpines that prefer slightly different soil conditions like alkaline or acidic in that each can have its preferred environment in the container. Add extra drainage holes to the bottom, and maybe even a layer of grit or gravel if you go this route. 

Add a layer of stone or grit on the surface of the soil as pictured below.

Put a layer of decorative grit around the plant to stop soil from splashing up on it when it rains, this also helps keep the soil cool and retain moisture. Moreover, the decorative grit will help keep away the snails and slugs at bay. 

See our top 10 recommended rockery plants for beginners

Caring for alpine rockery plants

Regular Care


Once they are planted, you have to maintain them. Start by watering them right after planting. They won’t likely need a lot of watering unless the weather is particularly warm which is kind of a rarity in the UK but we do sometimes get some warm months if we’re lucky. 

Feed with a high in potash feed in spring

At the start of spring, give them a high potash fertiliser to encourage more flowers. Once the alpines start to flower, deadhead them to keep the flower production going. 

Trimming alpines

Many of the alpines can be trimmed once they are done flowering, to keep them in control. 

Problems to keep an eye on

As you care for the new plants, be on the lookout for problems. Some alpines might outgrow their space if they are fed too often or their soil is too rich. Others might succumb to root rot if they remain too wet or have poor drainage. 

You should spray an insecticide at the preliminary signs of pests. Slugs and snails will be your biggest issues, and they can be deterred with the aforementioned horticultural grit around the plants and by using slug traps. 

Thyme herb plant - perfect for rockeries

Pay Attention to Variety

There are many varieties to have in an alpine rockery and they influence the aftercare requirements. Succulents, for example, are low maintenance and once planted need almost nothing from you except for protection against serve frost in more open sites. 

In general, most varieties will grow just fine with little help which is what makes them so popular.

Thymes make for wonderful space fillers, between the rocks and around the other alpine plants. They give off a delicious aroma too.

Best selling rockery plants

Bestseller No. 1
Sempervivum Mix - 5 Plants | Houseleek 5-15cm Potted Succulent Plants for Sale
  • DISTINCT, FLESH-LIKE LEAVES - Sempervivums have an extraordinary set of leaves. They are thick, flesh-like rosettes which are joined by some brightly coloured shades once the plant becomes established over time.
  • AN ADAPTABLE SUCCULENT - The plants more commonly known as Houseleeks or Hen & Chicks are great for their versatility and hardy nature. This will allow them to thrive in a variety of conditions, whether that be as an indoor or outdoor plant.
  • A PLANT WITH MINIMAL CARE REQUIREMENTS - The great thing about the Sempervivum is that its care requirements suit both beginner and experienced plant lovers. It will only require a dose of water once a month, as long as it is exposed to a direct light source on a regular basis.
  • Please Note: You will receive a maximum of 5 varieties in this mix of Sempervivum plants. Collections or 'mixed' listings for plants will be selected dependant on availability and carefully hand-picked to ensure their quality. The plants you receive may therefore differ from the images shown, which are for illustration purposes only.
SaleBestseller No. 2
20 Different Alpine Rockery Plants in 9cm POTS ~ Quality Alpines Direct from Specialist Grower in Lincolnshire
  • You will receive 20 DIFFERENT Alpine Plants in 9cm Pots - Carefully selected by us to provide a good mix of foliage and flowers from early Spring to Autumn.
  • Photos show examples of previously despatched Alpine Collections. All sent with The Alpine and Grass Nursery's Plant Passport.
  • Our family have been growing alpines for over 35 years, first in North Yorkshire and now in Lincolnshire. Beautiful rockery plants sent fresh to your door from us, the grower. Add a Greeting to the box for Free, Eg Happy Birthday Dad!
  • We are now delivering on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout the UK by next day delivery (where possible) ~ essential for live plants. For advice or to include/exclude certain colours or varieties call Stephen or Hayley Willerton and we'll do our best to help πŸ™‚
Bestseller No. 3
Pack of 12 Mixed Rockery Plants in 9cm Pots - Alpine Perennial Collection
  • 12-Piece Set With Mixed Rock Garden Plants
  • Perfect For Rock Gardens, Gravel Gardens, Etc.
  • Very Easy To Clean
  • Winter-Hardy Plants
  • There Are Selected 12 Different Plants At Random
Bestseller No. 4
Mixed Rockery Alpine Collection – Vibrant Colourful Outdoor Garden Potted Large Flowering Bed & Border Perennial Plant Alpines Mix in 9cm Pot (6 Plants)
  • VIBRANT YOUNG PLANT MIX - Fill up your garden borders and beds with this premium quality mixed alpine collection. The perennials will bloom year after year and many of the plants can be cut and brought indoors to create stunning flower arrangements. The supberb collection includes various early developed plants, so look out for bursting colours during the Summer period,
  • Pot Size: 9cm at a height (Inc. pot) of 20-30cm
  • Characteristics: The selection of perennials have evergreen foliage and are extremely hardy plants.
  • Flourishing Season: Colourful flowering through the Summer months, mid-May to mid-September.
  • Water & Maintenance: The collection of plants require little water. Make sure to plant in retentive, well-drained soil in full sun. Drought tolerant over extended periods.
Bestseller No. 5
5 x Scottish Heathers (Mixed) POT GROWN in 8cm pot (a249)
  • A beautiful selection of hardy SCOTTISH grown heathers.
  • Giving your garden all year round colour.
  • Attractive groundcover helping to suppress weeds.
  • Supplied pot grown for planting all year round.

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Last update on 2020-08-04 at 20:42 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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