It’s a common misconception that alpine plants are tricky to grow. That couldn’t be further from the truth!
Due to their resilient nature, alpines make the ideal plants for amateur gardeners. There are many alpines which are easy to grow in the garden with minimal maintenance, whether in borders, raised beds or troughs and containers.
Find out more in our introduction to growing alpine plants below.
Adaptability: Climate change is an increasing concern for gardeners. It’s tricky to find plants that will continue to thrive during dry summers and hosepipe bans. There are a lot of drought-resistant alpines which flower freely once established.
Versatility: Modern housing has led to smaller gardens. It can be hard to know what to plant in a small space. Alpine plants come into their own here; a wide range can be grown in a limited space. They look great in rock gardens, raised beds and crevices.
Low maintenance: Alpines are hardy plants that can withstand harsh conditions. They don’t need much upkeep at all.
Aesthetic: There are so many attractive, colourful alpines that will brighten up your garden.
The best time to buy alpine plants is whenever you see one you like!
You can buy easy-to-grow alpines in most nurseries and garden centres. A wider range of more interesting alpines can be obtained at our plant fairs and shows and at nurseries specializing in alpine plants.
March and April is the best time to plant out pot-grown alpines. This is when the soil is moist and starting to warm up. This allows the roots to grow and settle-in before the drier summer arrives.
September and October can also be a good time, providing the soil is moist and the weather not too hot.
If you choose to plant your alpines during the rest of the year, you may have to water them more often while they establish.
Having evolved in a variety of environments on mountains all over the world, alpines are highly versatile. They can be grown outdoors in rock gardens, raised beds and a range of different containers. If you have the space and confidence you can build a collection of the more demanding alpines in a dedicated alpine house.
When it comes to rockeries, crevice gardens are all the rage these days. Many alpines will thrive in the cool, confined space between sheets of rock. From a large garden to a small container, you can create a crevice garden at any scale.
If planting a bed, spread a 5cm layer of grit on top and dig it into the top 10cm of soil.
Once you’ve planted your alpine, water it thoroughly.
If you’ve planted in cool spring weather, you might not have to water it again.
If your soil is heavy, a layer of coarse gravel on the surface can increase the life expectancy of some alpines. This is because alpines often don’t like to be wet at the ‘neck’ (where the roots join the stem).
Here are some of our top easy-to-maintain alpine plants, perfect for beginners.
For a shady, woodland corner why not try a number of small and miniature Hostas?
Also check out our Top 9 Alpines for Beginners page for more suggestions.