(Image credit: onepony)

A crevice garden is a growing trend in North America. These rocky gardens mimic natural settings and provide an interesting focal point. Before you create one, it’s important to know what kind of plants do best in this setting and how to create the right soil for them.

What is a Crevice Garden? 

A crevice garden is a garden that takes inspiration from natural areas where plants grow in spaces between rocks. You can build an alpine crevice garden, with plants from mountain ecosystems or create a desert rock garden. 

Crevice gardens also do well with native plants designed for xeriscaping. With well-drained soil, a native crevice garden does not use much water and should thrive. 

How to Make a Crevice Garden

Building a crevice garden requires rocks and an appropriate soil mix. You can use any types of rocks in any arrangement you like, but the current trend uses flat slabs arranged upright and parallel to each other. This is known as a Czech crevice garden, a design that originated in the Czech Republic. 

Crevice garden construction involves digging fairly deep trenches. Once you find your location, dig trenches deep enough to set the stones upright and keep them stable. Pack clay around the base of each stone for extra stability. 

Fill in the spaces between the rocks with soil mix. This should include equal parts topsoil, compost, and a material that adds drainage: sand, perlite, or gravel. Take your time setting the stones. Once filled in, the top edges will provide the visual interest, so you want it to look right. 

With the soil filled in between the rocks, add your plants. Although most plants for crevice gardens come from dry environments, they do need regular watering. 

Best Plants for Crevice Gardens

Choose small plants that like full sun and well-drained soil and that naturally grow in rocky soils. 

  • Hens and chicks. These little succulents produce low clusters shaped like rosettes. They do very well in rock gardens. 
  • Stonecrop (sedum). You can find all kinds of sedum varieties with various flower types and colors. Try dragon’s blood for a plant that will creep around the stones. 
  • Ice plant. This spreading groundcover produces pretty purple flowers all summer and thrives in heat and sun. 
  • Creeping thyme. This is another groundcover that smells delicious and contributes to the kitchen. 
  • Candytuft. For spring flowers, try this drought-tolerant plant that produces white blooms. 
  • Small cactuses. If you live in a desert environment, all kinds of dwarf cactuses will do well in a crevice garden. 

Check out your local garden center for native plants that stay fairly small. These will do well in a crevice garden in your yard.

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.