Top 10 wildflower rock garden plants

A rock garden is a great habitat for a variety of wildlife. Larger rocks are a great place for butterflies to rest on warm sunny days and cracks and crevices provide homes for a wide range of wildlife. Wildflowers planted in a rock garden will attract bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects into your garden. You can buy all 10 of these plants from the Wildflower Nursery too. Shop now.

Here are our top 10 perennial British wildflower plants which are drought tolerant and well suited for planting in rock gardens, nooks and crannies, wall crevices and in gaps between pavers.

1. Wild Basil Clinopodium vulgare

An excellent nectar plant for bumblebees, other bees, butterflies and many other insects.

Flowers: July-Sept Height: 10-40cm Growth Type: Perennial Position: Full sun to semi-shade Soil Preference: Calcareous, well drained

2. Cheddar Pink Dianthus gratianopolitanus

A rare British wildflower, native to the Cheddar Gorge in Somerset, where it grows on the steep limestone cliffs. This is a beautifully scented cottage garden plant and a good nectar plant. Food plant of the Varied Coronet moth and the Lychinis moth.

Flowers: July-Sept Height: 30-60cm Growth Type: Perennial Position: Full sun to semi-shade Soil Preference: Wide range, preferring calcareous

3. Harebell Campanula rotundifolia

It is attractive to Buff-Tailed bumblebee, Common Carder bumblebee, Honeybee, Red Mason bee, Red-tailed bumblebee, White-Tailed bumblebee and Wool-Carder bee and is also the food plant of the Northern Rustic both. Also known as the Bluebell of Scotland.

Flowers: June-Sept Height: 15-40cm Growth Type: Perennial Position: Full sun Soil Preference: Wide range

4. Maiden Pink Dianthus deltoides

Similar to Cheddar Pink, although smaller and unscented. A good butterfly and moth plant and is the food plant of the Marbled Coronet moth.

Flowers: June-Sept Height: 0.1-0.5meters Growth Type: Evergreen perennial for full sun Position: Full sun Soil Preference: Wide range, preferring relatively poor soils with good drainage

5. Wild Marjoram Origanum vulgare

A very attractive nectar and pollen-rich plant for bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Food plant of the Sub-Angled moth, Black Veined moth and Lace Bordered moth. The Small Copper butterfly finds Wild Marjoram very attractive, so by planting it next to Sorrel (it’s food plant), it will encourage them to stay.

Although a great herb for cooking, this is not the more commonly used Pot Marjoram O.majorana, with paler flowers that is much less hardy.

Flowers: July-Sept Height: 30-60cm Growth Type: Perennial Position: Full sun to semi-shade Soil Preference: Wide range, preferring calcareous

6. Rock Rose Helianthemun nummularium

A very good source of pollen and nectar for honeybees, solitary bees, short-tongued bumblebees, and to a lesser extent, long tongued bees. There are several species of small beetle that feed on the foliage. It is the food plant of the Brown Argus, Green Hairstreak and Silver Studded Blue.

Flowers: May-Sept Height: 5-30cm Growth Type: Evergreen dwarf shrub Position: Full sun Soil Preference: Calcareous

7. Common Toadflax Linaria vulgaris

Also known as Wild Snapdragon, this is a very good pollen and nectar plant for honeybees, short and long-tongued bumblebee and solitary bees. It is the food plant of the Toadflax Pug moth and the Marbled Clover moth.

Flowers: July to Oct/Nov Height: 30-80cm Growth Type: Perennial Position: Full sun Soil Preference: Wide range, prefers a well-drained site

8. Thrift Armeria maritima

Rich in nectar for bees and butterflies, it is the food plant of the Thrift Clearwing moth and Black-Banded Wave moth. In Welsh it is known as Clustog Fair, meaning Mary’s Pillow in reference to its cushion-like clumps of leaves. It is the county flower of Pembrokeshire, Wales.

Flowers: April-October Height: 10-30cm Growth Type: Perennial Position: Full sun to semi shade Soil Preference: Acid to neutral

9. Wild Thyme Thymus polytrichus

This fragrant perennial is an excellent bee attractor. Food plant of the Large Blue butterfly, Tawny Wave, Thyme Pug moth, Annulet, Ashworth’s Rustic and Transparent Burnet moths.

Flowers: May-August Height: Up to 10cm Growth Type: Perennial/Very small shrub Position: Full sun Soil Preference: Neutral to calcareous

10. Wild Clary Salvia verbenaca

Rich in nectar, this plant is highly attractive to a wide range of bee species and other pollinating insects. Food plant of the Twin-Spot Carpet moth.

Flowers: June-Aug Height: 30-45cm Growth Type: Perennial Position: Full sun Soil Preference: Wide range, preferring dry calcareous sites

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This is a wildflower garden blog by Lindsey Jones of the Wildflower Nursery, based in Pembrokeshire, Wales. The nursery grows British Wildflower plants and is proud to be peat and pesticide free. Check out their website www.thewildflowernursery.co.uk

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