Rock Herb Garden Ideas – Herbs That Grow In Rocks Or Rocky Soil

Large Herb Plant Growing Over A Rock Wall
(Image credit: ClaraNila)

Rock gardens are delightful when planted with alpine plants, but they also translate well to xeriscape, heat loving varieties. Most of our classic culinary herbs are indigenous to regions with poor soil and dry periods, which actually enhances their oils and flavors. Herbal rock gardens are low maintenance once established and the plants will fill in and tumble about the heat enhancing stones. 

Looking for rock herb garden ideas? Here you will find the herbs that grow in rocks, how to set up the site, and what care it requires. Using herbs for a rock garden is an easy way to beautify a difficult site and provide you with the kitchen staples necessary for culinary success. 

Why Use Herbs For a Rock Garden

Many of the herbs you find in the supermarket and stock in your pantry are native to regions with poor soil and plenty of rocks. Mediterranean herbs like fennel thrive in nutrient deprived soil that is often sandy and gritty. They enjoy these conditions and usually perform meagerly in rich loam. Rocky beds or hills afford these herbs superior drainage, a warm nest, and the reduced fertility of their native land. The best growth and least management can be achieved by using such herbs that grow in rocks. As an added bonus, providing such growing conditions will actually develop more robust and aromatic specimens. 

Herbal Rock Garden Ideas

If you want to try such a planting scheme, you have several choices. You can tuck herbs into an existing rockery, build one, dot them along a gravel lined path, or use them in beds with pebble mulch. Just remember the area should have at least 6 hours of sun, soil must be well draining, and you proved at least a little water, especially during establishment. In such conditions you can grow tender herbs like basil and cilantro, or winter hardy varieties like thymes, marjoram, and oregano. Herbs that cascade are perfect for nooks and crannies, while taller species provide depth and dimension. 

Plants for Herbal Rock Gardens

Once you have your site prepared it's time to choose plants. Herbs are easy to find at nurseries and even big box centers, or you can grow them yourself from seed. Prior to tucking them into crevasses and gaps, make a mixture of topsoil, compost and fine gravel. The mixture should be porous and gritty. Scoop out an area and place some of your prepared soil in the depression, then press the soil around the roots. Water in each plant. Some great options for an herbal rockery are:

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.