Everything you need to know about alpine plants.

Alpine plants and rockeries are slowly managing to make the move away from fuddy-duddy suburbia, to gardening trend of the decade. Many folk are put off these tough little plants thanks to the nasty rumour going around that they are hard to grow and hard to take care of.

Though they do have some basic requirements, remember that alpine plants grow naturally in the wild with nobody to look after them – they seem to manage in pretty harsh conditions just fine thank you very much.

Why alpine plants?
These plants grow naturally in all sorts of weird and wonderful places. You can find them in their natural habitats high above the rest of the world. Their reputation as being difficult may come from the fact that these plants are used to excellent drainage, and lots of light.

Alpines are actually a pretty brilliant way to liven up your garden if you live in a drought prone area. There are loads of varieties from southern Europe that can be grown very successfully here in the United Kingdom.

What time of year should I plant them?
Around about now between April and May is the best time for new alpine plant varieties to make themselves known in your borders.

Where should I plant them?
News flash! You don’t need a rockery to grown alpine plants! You can grow them in planters, troughs, old wellies – wherever you like. They do like full sun in the morning and shade of an evening because they prefer not to get all hot and bothered, aside from this, anywhere you fancy will be just fine.

Why not help yourself by placing your alpine container on one of our super-useful pot trollies? This way, you can move your plants wherever and whenever you like without breaking your back or worrying about any accidents.

How to plant
Alpines are a little different from your bog-standard border plants. These guys are tough little things and so they grow extensive, and very long roots in order to find the nutrients and water they need, and to anchor themselves to the rock face. Make sure you position all your plants before you pop them in. Dig a hole for each plant a little wider than the root system. Gently tease out the roots from the root ball and prepare to be amazed at how long they are already. Pop each plant in then water generously and feed. Because alpines can be particularly drought-happy, remember not to include them in your watering schedule and make sure they don’t become water-logged. A further little addition to make them feel right at home, is to add a layer of course gravel or small stones – an especially good idea if you have heavy, clay-like soil.
If you’re going to plant them in a container or trough, you will need to make sure the container has excellent drainage. Really make sure you pack a generous layer of broken crockery, or small stones in the bottom. Alpines do not like soggy roots.

If you’re looking for a great, and high quality trough to plant up your own mini alpine scene, check out our fab Basique Choko planter? It’s a brilliant trough-style planter that is just the right size for a mini alpine garden.