Gardening in containers makes it possible to grow Rock Stars® in places where there isn’t even any soil, such as on a balcony, patio or deck. In fact, using containers of alpines in leisure areas is a terrific idea, since the little plants are easily viewed from a comfortable height, and they have so many interesting features when seen close up.
When it comes to gardening, caring for an alpine container is about the easiest thing possible. It’s just a matter of keeping it regularly watered, but since the plants are tough and relatively forgiving, if you happen to forget for a day or two it should be no problem. These containers won’t dry out nearly as fast as a hanging basket or a window box, and if they do get too dry the plants are better able to cope compared to the usual range of annual container plants. Other required tasks are only occasional, and we list these in detail below.
You can also make your own trough, using a special cement mixture known as hyper tufa. There are many recipes for hyper tufa and instructions on how to mould containers, easiest to find by doing a web search on the words: hyper tufa trough recipe.
Other Kinds of Containers
If whimsical gardens are up your alley, consider taking some unusual objects and pressing these into service as containers – anything from a dog bowl to an old pair of boots or a hat, for instance. Keep an eye out for antique parts from farm equipment or industrial machines. Discarded objects like old barbeques or antique sinks can be great finds when it comes to using Rock Stars® to make your garden interesting and personal. See our Wild and Whacky page listed under Rock Garden Styles for even more offbeat ideas.
Once you have a container, drill drainage holes if there are none. Fill with a mix of:
· 50% bagged commercial potting soil
· 25% perlite or granite chicken/turkey grit (available at feed stores)
· 25% bagged compost or loamy garden soil
No additional fertilizer should be required for the first season. Place and plant your Rock Stars®, add a decorative rock or two and mulch the soil surface with decorative gravel and water well.
Selecting Plants for an Alpine Trough
Various kinds of dwarf conifers are readily available at nurseries, and many of these slow-growing evergreens are ideal for combining with Rock Stars® to create a miniature landscape, whether in containers or in the rock garden. They provide some height and structure that is the perfect compliment to lower-growing alpines, as well as interest during the winter months.