A stone wall can be an accent or an eyesore in the garden. With the right plants and landscaping, though, you can soften a stone wall and add interest and colour. You need to base your plant choices on your landscaping goals and situation. If you have a retaining wall you may want plants to grow on top of it and spill down the side. If it's a wall at the back of a border you will want plants that will climb up the sides. Above all, though, have a realistic idea of the time and energy you have to dedicate to your landscaping.
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Aubrieta (rock cress) is a popular cascading plant. It is a semievergreen, so offers winter interest. It blooms profusely for several weeks from mid-spring to early summer. Rock cress comes in shades of purple from purple-blue to reddish purple. It gets 4 to 6 inches tall and spreads 12 to 23 inches.
Alyssum is a common cascading annual. It is easy to cultivate from seed and reseeds itself after blooming. It sometimes begins growing in crevices in rock walls when it reseeds. It grows 6 to 9 inches tall and 3 to 9 inches wide. Alyssum is available in white, pink, lavender and purple.
Trailing rosemary is a low-maintenance option for a cascading plant. It is heat and cold tolerant. It is less than 6 inches tall and spreads 6 to 12 inches. Light blue or lavender flowers last from midsummer to fall.
Clematis plants come in many colours and forms, single, double, bell-shaped and clustered. They are hardy to zone 3 and can live for 25 or more years. They can bloom from April to fall, depending on the variety. They can climb on a wall, but may need some support in the form of wires or string. They can grow up to 12 feet tall.
Morning glory offers annual colour in a vine. Morning glories come in nearly all colours and forms. They grow up to 6 feet tall and may need some support for climbing. They can also be planted at the top of a wall and allowed to cascade over the side.
Hollyhocks lend a lot of vertical interest to any landscape. They are common in the backs of borders, especially along fences. They grow up to 8 feet tall, with large leaves and showy flowers. They are available in many colours, from white and pastel to nearly black.
Ferns can soften a stone wall, especially if the wall creates a shady area. The ferns' soft, often lacy foliage can provide a contrast to the hard edges of a stone wall. They can be challenging to grow, though, so make sure you have a good understanding of what is required before attempting to grow ferns.
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