20 Evergreen Plants for Rock Gardens



Rock gardens with a combination of rocks, plants and flowers is an economical technique to enrich the beauty of your backyard landscape design. Garden flowers and plants supplement and enhance the tranquility of the environment created by rocks in gardens. Nevertheless, it is not needed to have a conventional rock garden to enjoy a variety of rock garden plants. Actually, these vibrant, small plants are picture-perfect for numerous pots, containers, window boxes, and raised beds that are the mainstays of modern-day gardens. In rock garden designs, a touch of evergreen foliage, the texture of which is peculiar to evergreen plants, is essential to lend the desired interest to the garden. Choosing from a list of evergreens that are extremely dwarf in character and not vigorous in their habit of growth is the first step in creating a rock garden feature.

Creeping Mahonia

Creeping Mahonia is a low shrub with yellow flowers, seldom more than a foot tall.


Rock Garden Plants

  • Dwarf Japanese Cypress [Chamaecyparis obtusa nana] the smallest of the Japanese Cypress, rarely exceeding a foot or so in height. Very dense bright green sprays of foliage.
  • Dwarf Box [Buxus suffruticosa] A dwarf compact shrub with evergreen foliage.
  • Dwarf Golden Japanese Cypress [Chamaecyparis obtuse nana aurea] A smaller and more slender tree than the cyprus. Foliage bright golden yellow and more intense during the growing period.
  • Bunchberry [Cornus Canadensis] A small tree with heart shaped leaves, deep rich green.
  • Garland Flower [Daphne cineorum] A dwarf shrub of trailing habit, with numerous heads of small pink fragrant flowers.



Bunchberry is a small dwarf tree with heart shaped leaves that are a deep rich green.



  • Cornish Heath [Erica vagans] A free flowering shrub with leaves in whorls of fours and fives. Flowers of purplish red.
  • Common Juniper [Juniperus communis] A shrub with spreading branches which curve upwards near the ends. Grayish green foliage.
  • Savin Juniper [Juniperus sabina] A spreading shrub of dense foliage, very dark green, exhaling a strong odor when bruised. Excellent for rock gardens.
  • Creeping Mahonia [Mahonia repens] Resembling the Oregon grape, but of smaller size. A low shrub with yellow flowers, seldom more than a foot tall.


    Juniperus Communis

    Juniperus Communis is a dwarf shrub with spreading branches with grayish green foliage which curve upwards near the ends.


  • Canby’s Mountain Lover [Pachistima canbyi] Small shrub native to the Appalachians and surrounding areas.
  • Japanese Spurge [Pachysandra terminalis] A low dense evergreen plant with glossy foliage and white flowers, well adapted for covering the ground.
  • Mountain Fetterbush [Pieris floribunda] A dense evergreen shrub attaining a height of two to four feet. Dark green leaves and flowers.
  • Dwarf Mountain Pine [Pinus montana mughus] Low dwarf shrub with numerous ascending branches and leaves in bright greens and cones one to two inches long.
  • Flowering Moss [Pyxidanthera barbulata] A small creeping evergreen, leafy throughout, loosely branching; with white flowers abundant in early spring.
  • Shortia [Shortia galacifolia] A shade loving plant with evergreen foliage. Bright green leaves and white flowers.


    Dwarf Rhododendron

    Dwarf Rhododendron, a beautiful dwarf shrub with long dark green leaves and pink flowers.


  • Spreading English Yew [Taxus baccata repandens] Attractive ornamental evergreen yew with dark green foliage and bright scarlet berries.
  • Ground Yew [Taxus canadensis] A yew with ascending branches, slender branches of bright or yellowish green foliage.
  • Dwarf Rhododendron [Rhododendron carolinianum] A beautiful dwarf shrub with long dark green leaves and pink flowers.
  • Rusty-leaved Rhododendron [Rhododendron ferrugineum] Evergreen shrub that grows just above the tree line in the Alps, Pyrenees, Jura and northern Apennines, on acid soils. This plant has lovely deep crimson-pink flowers in June.
  • Japanese Yew [Taxus cuspidata nana] A needled non-flowering evergreen tree or multi-stemmed shrub.


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