Alpines are all too often overlooked and only considered for rockeries. Most are compact, low growing, winter hardy and will thrive in various situations where other plants would struggle.

Alpines are remarkably versatile, easy to grow and low maintenance. They are and ideal choice for growing in small pots or large planters, even window boxes. If you have a small garden alpines can provide lovely, year round colour and interest. By example, in an area that one medium sized shrub would occupy you could have ten alpines giving a year round display.

The one rule with alpines is good drainage they do not grow well in waterlogged soil or potting compost. There are varieties that will tolerate extreme dry and very lean soils so they will grow in wall tops, crevices and cracks. There are varieties that are extremely tough and will tolerate being walked on such as Leptinella.

Good partners for alpines are dwarf Conifers, Heathers, dwarf Azalea and Rhododendron. With some careful planning you can have the effect of a huge garden but in miniature.

We grow and produce a wide range of alpine varieties on our nurseries in West Yorkshire and the alpine benches in our garden centre are restocked weekly with unusual and seasonal varieties.

Here are a few of our favourites:

Alpine, Muscari armeniacum
Alpines at Hartshead Nurseries
Alpine, Primula clusiana
Draba rigida var. imbricata

Draba rigida var. Imbricata

A very dense and tight alpine with a cushion habit. Sprays of bright yellow flowers bloom in the spring and summer.

A good choice for pots, troughs and alpine beds with gritting, well drained soil

Hutchinsia alpina

Hutchinsia alpina

This pretty plant forms a dense mound of mossy foliage, studded with delicate white blossom from early spring to summer.

Hutchinsia alpina is suitable for path sides, gravel gardens and crevices.

Aubrieta Blue Cascade

Aubretia ‘Blue Cascade’

A very attractive carpeting perennial that has masses of violet-blue blossoms from early spring, right into autumn. With a mild winter it can be still flowering on Christmas day.

It is particularly suitable for wall tops, front of borders or path sides and, of course rockeries.

Saxifraga arendsii Findling

Saxifraga arendsii ‘Findling’

This Saxifrage carries masses of starry white flowers on short stems from early spring. It forms a very dense and compact cushion of mossy foliage.

It thrives it pots and troughs, path sides or gravel gardens.

Primula Strong Beer

Primula ‘Strong Beer’

An unusual variety with deep purple double blooms, clustered on short stems from early spring onward.

It’s as much at home in a rockery as it is in an herbaceous border.

Saxifraga Saxony Red

Saxifraga Saxony Red

This is a tight, fresh green cushion grower. From early spring it is covered in dainty sprays of red flushed pink flowers.

Ideal for gravel and rock gardens, pots, troughs and path sides.