Most alpine plants are found at high altitudes, generally between the tree line and the permanent snow line

In domestic terms, alpines are any small hardy plants suitable for growing in Alpine houses, rock gardens, stone troughs or crevices in paths and walls.

Cultural notes:

Week 3:

Sow alpine varieties

Many alpine seeds germinate quicker if subjected to a moist, cold period before being warmed up in spring.

If snow is available, pile some on top of the compost and allow it to melt.

Acantholimon is a very difficult garden plant to germinate from seed it is recommended that seedlings should be purchased from garden centres, and planted 8 to 12 cm apart either after the last spring frost or in the Autumn.


Week 10:

Give maximum ventilation on fine days and regularly check that the compost does not dry out.

Week 14:

Re-pot plants as necessary, by gently knocking the root balls from their containers, and carefully teasing away any weeds that may have gathered.

Re-pot single plants and groups of plants into slightly larger containers i.e. one that leaves a finger-width gap between the pot and the rootball.

If practical use terra cotta pots.

To ensure good drainage, crock drainage holes with gravel or broken pot and fill pot with potting compost that has had sharp sand or grit added.

An old ceramic Belfast Sink will make an ideal container, plus if you cover it with hyper-tufa you can turn it into a lovely 'stone effect' trough.

Natural Stone trough
Alpine bed
Various types of Containers
Concrete troughs

Week 18:

Place a gravel mulch around permanently planted alpines.

Week 23:

Trim spring-flowering alpines and take cuttings.

Week 36:

Overhaul potted alpine plants in frames and greenhouses.

Remove containers from plunge materials and carefully cut away all traces of dead and / or damaged growth as well as weeds.

Check that drainage holes are free from obstruction before returning to plunge bed or staging.

Note; Faulty drainage can be fatal.

Week 40:

Some outdoor alpine plants are susceptible to the wet, which may rot the crowns.

Protect plants such as Lewisia and Androsace by suspending panes of glass or perspex 50-75mm (2”-3”) above them.

Alternatively; use purpose made cloches.

Top up gravel mulches to prevent moisture sitting around the neck of the plant.

Week 51:

Keep alpines well ventilated to minimize grey mould (botrytis) and collar rot infections under glass.

Remove all traces of dead growth along with moisture holding moss and algae.

Check container grown alpines for signs of aphids and slug damage.

Use pesticides to control aphids, and proprietary baits for the slugs.

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