Perfect plants for rockery beds

Sometimes you may have a sloping area or mound in your garden which you think will be difficult to do anything with. However, with some forward planning and a bit of creativity, you can transform it into a stunning rockery or rock garden. 

A rockery can be an amazing focal point of your garden, and even if the ground isn't already prepared for a rock garden, you can easily recreate the necessary terrain yourself. The main thing is to choose the correct plants to go in your rockery that will suit and thrive in that type of location. Here we discuss which plants are best suited for your rockery and some easy steps on how to get started. 

Which plants should I choose for my rockery?

Because the terrain is uneven, there are a lot of plants which would not suit this area of your garden. However, there are still plenty to choose from. As a general rule, smaller ground huggers that require low amounts of maintenance are your best option. The plants need to be able to cope with potentially poor soil but require a lot of drainage. They need to be hardy. 

Alpine and evergreen plants are extremely common because they can cope in these difficult growing conditions, however there are still a range of flower bulbs that you can also choose from that will add some bright colour to your rockery display. Dwarf Bulbs are a great option. There are so many types and colours for you to choose from and it means bursts of colour can be created in a small space. Because they are shorter, they cope well in these environments and they can be planted in tight spaces and crevices. Flower bulbs are also a great choice as you can enjoy their beauty year after year. If you have a favourite colour, you can choose to have this as your main focus or mix it up with a spectrum of colours for truly spectacular results. Here are some of our favourites: 

Narcissi Bulbs
These golden beauties are extremely versatile. They grow well in pots and borders as well as in rockeries. They look exceptional when they are grown in clusters and will truly brighten up your rock garden. Because they can grow well on uneven ground such as grass banks, they are a great choice for rockery displays. 

Try: Hawera, Canaliculatus or Pueblo 

These daisy-like blooms come in a myriad of colours, from white to pastels to vivid blues, pinks and reds. Because they are hardy plants, they can cope with being planted in containers or near your rockery. They are also great when you plant them in large quantities. They naturalise well, meaning you can enjoy increasing amounts of them as the years pass.

Try: Anemone de Caen or Anemone Ranunculoides

There are few flowers as elegant as tulips. These come in a range of colours and styles, meaning you will always find one to suit your garden. Dwarf tulips have particularly strong, short stems which create a hardy plant that can cope in many soils, including areas surrounding rockeries. 

Try: Pinocchio, Fashion or Aladdin. 

Iris Reticulata
This flower is stunning. The deep blue petals marked with an intricate yellow and white pattern will make your rockery eye-catching. These are an early flowering plant which is fragrant and a perfect way to add early colour to your rockery display. The flowers will bloom before the leaves even appear and look amazing next to snowdrops.  

Crocus is another flower family that comes in a range of colours. Choose pastel lilacs to vivid violets and stunning yellows. They are not only beautiful, with their bright saffron orange centres, they are hardy and drought tolerant, making them a good choice for a lot of soil conditions. They are also great attractors of bees, butterflies and birds, so they are excellent if you want to encourage more wildlife into your garden. 

Try: Snowbunting or Large flowering striped crocus bulbs

As snowdrops can bloom as early as January, they are a great way to add flowers into your winter rockery garden. The beautiful bell-shaped flowers require semi-shaded conditions, so they fit well planted within the shade of rockery beds. Once planted they can thrive into large drifts as they can naturalise easily in a range of conditions. 

These small, delicate, star-shaped flowers are beautiful additions to your rockery display. They are versatile and easy to grow in a sunny, well-drained rock garden and they naturalise well to create spectacular drifts. They also come in different colours from pale blue to pure white. 

Tips for creating your rockery

- Although you can build rockeries all year round, Autumn and Winter are the best times. This allows you to plant Spring flowering bulbs in time and also means that any new rocks will be settled before Spring arrives

- When choosing the rocks for your rockery, try and go for ones that are local to your area. This will make it look a lot more natural. 

- Plant your bulbs in small groups but remember to leave enough space for when they naturalise and increase in number 

- Plant your bulbs in an area of the rockery which is well-drained but catches the sun for some of the day 

- Choose your rockery site away from trees to avoid creating too much of a shady spot.

- If you are building your rockery from scratch, start with the largest rocks and fill the smaller rocks and plants around them.

If you need more help with plants suitable for rockery beds, then please contact us. Boston Bulbs Wholesale is a privately-owned business with over 35 years' experience of importing only the finest quality horticultural products throughout Europe and from farmers and growers all over the UK. Whether you're a landscaper, nursery, local authority, wholesaler, retailer, private business or individual gardener, just give us a call on 01775 769 333 or visit / for help with flower bulbs, grass seed and more

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