Alpines are small and highly collectable plants, producing exquisite little flowers in a range of vibrant hues. As they come from mountainous regions, many are very hardy. They're easy to grow too, as long as you give them sharply draining compost. They thrive in containers, where a small collection can create a cheery display all year round.


Alpines are compact plants that usually produce lots of tiny jewel-like flowers in vibrant colours. Alpines encompass a range of plants from bulbs, shrubs and herbaceous perennials. Most form cushion-like mounds, or slowly spreading carpets. A popular way to grow them is to combine several different plants together as a collection, among gravel or rocks to mimic their natural habitats on mountain slopes.


Most alpines like dry, sunny conditions, so are happy in containers, rock gardens, gravel gardens and raised beds. They prefer a mulch of grit or gravel on the soil surface, so their foliage doesn’t rest on damp ground. Established plants fare well in cold, exposed sites, or during short spells of drought.


Alpines won’t survive in consistently damp conditions, so give them free-draining soil or compost. If growing in a container, make sure there are plenty of drainage holes, and in wet winters move the container into the lee of a wall to avoid excessive winter rainfall.

Did you know?

Alpines are ideal plants if you’re short on space. Choose small, slow-growing types and you can put together a diverse and colourful collection in a container on a tiny patio, doorstep or even a breezy balcony.

Growing guide

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