En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
1 rating

Sunday - March 26, 2006

From: Cortlandt Manor, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Native plants suitable for rock garden in New York
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I'd like to start a rock garden. The area is very rocky, the soil is shallow and it's partially shaded. I'd like mostly perennials that flower from spring to fall. I hope to make some purchases from the Native Plant Center Sale at Westchester Community College on 4/29. What are your suggestions? Thanks.


Here is a list of perennial plants native to New York that are suitable for a rock garden:

Smooth rock cress (Arabis laevigata)
Lyre-leaved rock cress (Arabis lyrata), can be biennial or perennial
Tower mustard (Arabis glabra) can be annual, biennial, or perennial
Red bearberry or kinnikinnik (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia)
American alumroot (Heuchera americana)
Bluets (Houstonia caerulea)
Bay forget-me-not (Myosotis laxa) or Spring forget-me-not (Myosotis verna)
Moss phlox (Phlox subulata)
Dwarf cinquefoil (Potentilla canadensis) or Common cinquefoil (Potentilla simplex)
Three-toothed cinquefoil or Shrubby-fivefingers (Sibbaldiopsis tridentata Synonym = Potentilla tridentata)
Early saxifrage (Saxifraga virginiensis)
Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis)
Common speedwell (Veronica officinalis)
Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris)
Woodland stonecrop (Sedum ternatum)

It appears that Westchester Community College Native Plant Center will offer some of these in their April sale. You can visit our National Suppliers Directory to find other resources for native plants in your area.

The The North American Rock Garden Society has instructions on constructing a rock garden and links to related subjects.


More Shrubs Questions

What hydrangeas can be grown in Austin?
June 02, 2011 - I was told that oak leaf hydrangea was the only hydrangea variety that could be successfully grown in Austin TX. My oakleaf hydrangea is doing great and I would like to plant other varieties. Can you...
view the full question and answer

Roses or other flowering plants for Coleman, Texas
March 10, 2009 - I want to plant native roses at a country home in Coleman Co., southern exposure, with well water, drip system,but ,hot, dry & windy! I know the Mutabilis does well in Austin, but, is it suitable for...
view the full question and answer

Esperanza turning brown in McGregor TX
May 05, 2010 - Why are my Esperanza turning brown?
view the full question and answer

Cenizos browning in Houston
October 01, 2011 - After this horrible drought, I am committed to xeriscaping with native Texas plants. The few hibiscus that survived have been transplanted into pots and are thriving. I bid the tiny boxwoods a fond fa...
view the full question and answer

Scarifying seeds of evergreen sumacs from Lockhart TX
May 19, 2013 - Dear Smarty Plants, We would like to grow our own evergreen sumacs. Consulting Nokes book, How to Grow Native Plants on page 310, it says to scarify fresh uncleaned seeds for 30-45 minutes. On page...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center