Design a rock garden in a container? Why would I want to do that? Well there are several reasons for creating this rock garden project.
Perhaps you love rock garden plants but don’t have a suitable location for creating a rock garden on your property. Maybe you live in a condo and would like some alpine plants for your balcony. Or maybe you would like a container for your deck or patio that will be an outstanding specimen container planting.
Choosing a Container for Your Rock Garden
One of the best containers for rock gardens is an antique stone watering trough or stone sink. Although they are hard to find, you can find them at rural auctions and yard sales. You may also run across them in antique shops. The disadvantage of this container is the fact they are extremely heavy and hard to move. This makes them unsuitable for use on balconies or rooftops.
Fortunately, you can find troughs made from modern materials such as reconstituted stone, that are lightweight, affordable, and easily available.
Another alternative for rock garden planters are old ceramic or slate sinks. These are more commonly available. If you’d like you can find paint at home improvement centers that create a coating that resembles stonework. By using this paint, you can choose a color that matches your home and garden decor.
Locating Your Rock Garden Container
Your planted container will be quite heavy after it is constructed. Before you start planting your rock garden, decide on the location for your container. Your container should be placed where it will get at least a half day of sun. Avoid placing your container under trees or roof overhangs. Raise the planter off the ground using bricks or pot feet in order to aid drainage and keeping the soil fresh.
How to Plant Your Rock Garden Container
Scrub and bleach these containers to kill and bacteria that may be residing in the container. Cover the bottom drainage hole with a piece of wire net. Rock plants need gritty soil. You can make this by using a mixture of 2/3 regular potting soil and 1/3 gravel or grit. Small stone chips can also be used.
Fill your container halfway to the top. Place some interesting rocks in the trough. Then add more soil so the rocks are half buried in the soil.
Audition your plants by leaving them in the pots and moving them around the container until you find an arrangement that pleases you. Check here for a listing of suitable alpine and rock garden plants. When you are satisfied with the look of your planting, remove the plant from it’s container, make a hole and plant the rock plant. Add more soil if necessary and firm it around the plant. Continue until all alpine plants are planted.
Water thoroughly and carefully so as not to disturb the surface of the container. Cover the soil with a layer of gravel or stone chips and your rock garden container is finished and ready to be enjoyed.
Expand Your Container Ideas
Rock garden plantings don’t have to be confined to troughs and sinks. If you just want to plant alpine (rock garden) plants, this can be done in any container. Terra cotta, ceramic, chimney pots, are all suitable for rock garden plants. Strawberry jars can also be used, as long as soil suitable for rock garden plants is used.
Once you become familiar with these adorable apline plants you may yourself looking for a spot to place just one more rock garden container.