Can you plant Bulbs in a Rock Garden

Many different vibrant flower breeds start their lives as bulbs, such as tulips, lilies, and cyclamen. Bulb flowers are hearty and resilient and are sure to adorn your garden with gorgeous flowers year after year.

Can you plant bulbs in rock gardens? Many types of flowering bulbs will sprout and grow into healthy plants in rock gardens. Perennial bulbs, such as wild tulips, daffodils, lilies, crocus, and cyclamen will do well in rocky flower beds, or rock covered gardens.

It might seem like rocky soil or rock-covered gardens would hinder the germination and growth of blubbing flowers, but many bulb flower breeds do surprisingly well in rock gardens.


Benefits of Rock Gardens

You might be asking yourself, “Why would I plant my bulbs in rocks or a rock-covered garden when I could plant them in soil? Isn’t soil better?” Rock gardens come with several benefits that you might not have considered.

Low Maintenance

Rock gardens are especially low maintenance. Weeds don’t sprout as well in rock gardens, and rock-covered ground reduces the area of grass to mow. If you plant bulbs in rocks, you will still need to water your garden, but rock gardens can reduce the labor it takes to keep them up.

Tough and Resilient

Even in the harshest of environments, rock gardens can flourish and add a beautiful touch to any home garden. Extreme sunlight, drought, or winds won’t harm your rock garden, but they may stop your bulbs from growing into healthy plants.

Unique and Beautiful

Even if you aren’t in a harsh environment, a rock garden can be a great way to break up a large lawn’s monotony or make a small lawn seem larger than it actually is. Using different types of rocks or designing a yard with alternating plots of grass, soil, and rocks can produce a unique aesthetic and allow you to grow a more diverse range of plant-life.

Additionally, because rock gardens grow fewer weeds and require less maintenance, you can be sure that your rock garden will stay beautiful throughout the year, unlike traditional soil gardens. Even when your bulbs aren’t flowering, rock coverings look lovely and clean.


Making Your Rock Garden

Don’t have a rock garden yet? It’s simple to build one! Most hardware and home improvement stores will sell bags of different types, sizes, and colors of rocks for gardens.

First, you will want to clear the ground of grass, weeds, and other plants and choose the types of rocks you will lay out. Remember to consider which size and style of rocks will work for the look you want.

You might want to find rocks of lots of different sizes so that you can diversify the look of your rock garden. Once you have the ground cleared, mark out the space that you will fill with rocks. Some gardeners use larger rocks, bricks, or wood to create walls to hold smaller rocks and prevent them from washing away with the rain.

If you plan to plant bulbs in the soil below the rocks, you might plant them before covering the soil in rocks. If the soil is already dry and rocky, that’s okay. Just be sure to choose bulbs that are hearty and will grow well in the rocky environment. Read on for information about some types of flowers that do well in rocks.

Cover your garden with an even layer of rocks and water regularly if you’ve planted bulbs below. You might be tempted plant succulents or other plants that grow well in rocks to mix up the look. Make sure that whatever you plant is compatible with the other flora around it.


Should you Plant your Bulbs in Rocks?

You might want to do some research about which types of bulbs grow well in rocky areas, and you can find a list of those below. If you don’t see the bulbs you want to plant on the list, do a quick search to make sure that they will grow in your rock garden.

If you have bulbs that grow well in rocks and have a rock garden or are ready to reap the benefits of a garden, you should definitely consider planting your bulbs in rocks. Most people won’t think to plant this way, making your garden unique and special.


Types of Bulbs that Grow through Rocks

Now that you’ve decided that planting bulbs in a rock garden is right for your yard or outdoor space, deciding which bulbs to plant is the next step. Use this list to pick out some bulb flowers that you might like to plant.


With dozens of tulips that will all bring a different color palette or aesthetic to your garden, tulips are the perfect bulb flowers to plant in your rock garden. Tulips like full sun, so they might be best placed in a south-facing rock garden to maximize their exposure to sunlight.

Tulips are also especially hardy plants and most bloom throughout the spring, delivering that ideal springtime aesthetic to your rock garden. Some tulips can grow quite tall and reach heights of 10 inches, while others bloom close to the ground.

“Bright Gem” tulips (Tulipa batalinii) are the classic, rounded, apricot-colored flowers, but there are many varieties that will grow well in rock gardens. “Peppermint Stick” tulips (Tulipa clusiana) are on the opposite end of the spectrum; they are short, hybrid plants that grow small red-and-white flowers, as their moniker suggests.


Miniature Daffodils

The cyclamineus narcissus group, commonly referred to as “miniature daffodils,” grow small yellow flowers that are among the first to bloom each spring. They are just about as hearty as most tulips and also prefer full sun, making them the perfect flowers to plant alongside tulips.

Miniature daffodils also come in many varieties, and they are more tolerant of partial sun than are tulips, making them adaptable and versatile plants.



This group of fall-blooming bulb flowers is a favorite of poets and artists. Poet D.H. Lawrence once wrote, “They saw tiny rose cyclamens between their toes, growing/Where the slow toads sat brooding on the past.”

Cyclamen grow to a maximum height of six inches and bloom flowers that range from rich magenta to white. Sicilian cyclamen, the title of Lawrence’s poem, grows honey-scented blooms that grow facing the ground, while Ivy-leaved Cyclamen opens up to the sky. Both will bloom for a long time, about six weeks, and even when not in bloom the plants are attractive.



Autumn crocus (crocus speciosus), also called “conqueror,” are another blub flower that blooms in fall. Autumn crocus produces vibrant, violet blooms that are the largest in the crocus family.

Like cyclamen, crocus foliage remains after they bloom and can last through the winter. They grow to 3-5 inches and require full sunlight.


Properly Planting Your Bulbs

Most bulbs will grow best will full sun, so make your rock garden and plant your bulbs in a sunny plot. Luckily, the rocks in your garden will provide the drainage that bulb flowers require.

Dig holes in the soil that are about three times as deep as your bulbs are tall using a trowel or a bulb planter. Plant them in small groups but leave room for them to expand, being careful to avoid overcrowding.

Place bulbs in the holes you’ve dug with points up and roots facing down and fill the hole with the soil you removed. Bulb flowers will easily grow around your rock covering, so don’t be afraid to cover the plot with rocks. Just make sure to mark where your flowers are planted for watering and identification.

Planting bulb flowers in your rock gardens will bring an unconventional and gorgeous aesthetic to your landscaping.