Will plants thrive in a gravel garden here in Maine?


Will plants in a gravel garden thrive in my hardiness zone – 6a? I love the idea of a gravel garden but want to make sure its suitable for Maine natives plants. If yes, can you suggest some Maine native plants that would thrive in a gravel garden?


Jonathan Foster, Home Horticulture Outreach Professional

Welcome to the world of gardening and seed starting.

I don’t have personal experience with gravel gardens, nor do we have UMaine resources for the practice to my knowledge. However, I was able to find a couple of resources that you might find interesting and a good place to get started:

Univ of FL Extension blog post “Building a Dry Garden Bed”

NC State Extension page “Gardening on the Rocks”

Fine Gardening Magazine article “How to Create a Gravel Garden”

From what I’ve read, the key is to keep the soil beneath the gravel layer constantly moist during establishment so that the plants (with their root balls and attached soil) that you sink into place are encouraged to root downward deeply. Until that happens, they will only have access to the water in their root ball zone, so consistent watering is necessary (obviously the gravel won’t hold water). Because of this situation, I would recommend taking a look at our UMaine Cooperative Extension resources “Plants for Very Dry Soil and Full Sun” and/or (depending on conditions) “Plants for Very Dry Soil and Shade.”

Good luck and happy gardening.