What Are Alpines

Description. An Alpine is strictly a plant from a mountainous region but used loosely to cover all plants of dwarf habit suitable for planting in rock gardens. Most Alpines are hardy herbaceous perennials, some are biennials, others annuals, and a few are shrubs. There are evergreen and deciduous kinds.

Soil and Situation. Most alpines delight in a sunny situation and a rather gritty, well-drained soil. A few like shade and moisture. Detailed requirements, however, are very varied and some of the choicest varieties are difficult to grow. The moraine and scree are designed to meet the needs of these. These are beds, usually on a slope, filled with extremely gritty or stony compost. The moraine has an underground water supply; the scree has not. Specimen composts are for ordinary alpines — loam 6 parts, leaf-mould or peat 3 parts, stone chippings 1 part, sharp sand I part. For peat lovers — lime-free loam 4 parts, leaf-mould and peat 3 parts, lime-free sand or grit 2 parts. For moraine or scree — loam 2 parts, leaf-mould or peat 2 parts, sand or grit 1 part, stone chippings 4 parts.Alpine House

Contrary to popular belief, few alpines will grow on rocks with little soil. They are mostly deep-rooting plants and should have at least 18 in. of good soil. Sempervivums and a few sedums are practically the only kinds that will grow on roofs and similar bare places. Dry walls must have a core of soil in contact with the soil below so that plants can root through.

Good bottom drainage is most important. Is is usually advisable to spread a thick layer of brick ends or clinkers under the whole of the selected site. On top of this place the soil, which may be worked into irregular mounds to give a natural effect if so desired, though good results can be obtained from flat beds. The stone chosen should be fairly porous yet reasonably durable. Limestone and sandstone are most suitable, and the former can be obtained from hillside workings with natural weather and water marks on them. It is desirable to bed the stone well down into the soil, usually on its broadest face rather than to rear it up on the surface. Several rocks can be built together to form large spurs or outcrops. Crevices between such rocks can be suitably planted provided the crevice has an outlet to an ample body of soil behind or below. A good effect can often be obtained by arranging the stones to simulate a natural outcrop of rock such as may be seen on many hillsides.

Planting. Most nurserymen grow alpines in small containers. They can be transplanted from these with little or no root disturbance at any time of the year except when ground is frozen. Plants that are to be lifted from the open ground should be transplanted in March or April or, if they are in flower at that time, as soon as the flowers fade. Water freely until established. In general, small plants are to be preferred. When planting in the moraine or scree, shake all soil from the roots, spread these out and work the gritty compost around them. All alpines should be planted firmly.

Cultural Routine, Most varieties will benefit from the removal of faded flowers. With aubrietas, helianthemums, and iberis, this can be extended to a thorough trimming up with scissors or shears after flowering. A few plants may be left to carry seed if this is required for propagation. Apart from this the only cultural attentions required are to remove weeds, to cut back rampant plants which tend to smother others in their path, to remove fallen leaves, particularly tree leaves in the autumn, and to top dress with gritty soil in winter or early spring. This may consist of equal parts of coarse sand, stone chippings and loam, and should be worked between and among the shoots. In spite of the fact that most alpines grow in rocky places, they appreciate liberal watering in hot weather.

Propagation. Most alpines can be increased by division in similar manner to herbaceous perennials. This is best done in March—April or, if they are in flower at that time, immediately after flowering. Many varieties, particularly those of shrubby habit, can be increased by cuttings taken in July and August and treated in the same manner as summer shrub cuttings. The cuttings are naturally smaller, from to 2 in. in length. Seed provides a cheap method of increasing most kinds and should be sown in March in a frame or outdoors in May. In other respects, treatment is the same as for seed of hardy perennials.

Alpines for Shady Situations

  • Anemone appenina
  • A. blanda
  • Arenaria balearica
  • Calceolaria polyrrhiza
  • hardy cyclamen in variety
  • Daphne blagayana
  • Gaultheria procumbens
  • Gentiana asclepiadea
  • Haberlea rhodopensis
  • Hepatica angulosa
  • Hut chinsia alpina
  • lberis sempervirens
  • Linnaea borealis
  • Omphalodes verna
  • Oxalis enneaphylla
  • Primula denticulata and varieties
  • P. japonica
  • P. juliae
  • P. juliana varieties
  • Ramonda pyrenaica
  • Sanguinaria canadensis
  • saxifraga (mossy varieties)
  • S. primuloides
  • Synthyris reniformis
  • Tiarella cordifolia
  • Viola cornuta and varieties
  • V. gracilis.

Autumn- and Winter-flowering Alpines

  • Colchicums
  • Crocus imperati
  • C. sieberi
  • C. speciosus
  • C. zonatus
  • Erica carnea and varieties
  • E. vulgaris and varieties
  • Galanthus byzantinus
  • G. cilicicus
  • Gentiana farreri
  • G. sinotornata
  • G. macaulayi
  • Iris histrio
  • I. reticulata
  • Primula winteri
  • Sternbergia lutea.

Alpines for Planting between Paving Stones:

  • Acaenas
  • Ajuga reptans in variety
  • antennarias
  • Arenaria balearica
  • Armeria maritima
  • Asperula gussonii
  • Calamintha alpina
  • cotulas
  • Frankenia laevis
  • Geranium pylzowianum
  • Herniaria glabra
  • Hypsela longiflora
  • Linaria aequitriloba
  • Mazus
  • pumilio
  • M. reptans
  • Mentha requienii
  • Mimulus radicans
  • Nierembergia rivularis
  • Raoulia australis
  • Saxifraga muscoides
  • sedums
  • Silene alpestris
  • Thymus serpyllum in variety
  • Veronica rupestris.

Scree Plants

  • Androsace arachnoidea superba
  • A. sempervivoides
  • Armeria caespitosa
  • Asperula suberosa
  • Calandrinia umbellata
  • Campanula allionii
  • C. arvatica
  • C. aucheri
  • C. cenisea,
  • C. excisa
  • C. raineri
  • C. rupestris
  • C. stansfieldii
  • C. tommasiniana
  • C.wockii,Chrysanthemumalpinum
  • Dianthusalpinus
  • D.neglectus
  • Douglasia vitaliana
  • Draba imbricata
  • D. polytricha
  • D. pyrenaica
  • Erigeron leiomerus
  • E. trifidus
  • Erinus alpinus (all varieties)
  • Erodium corsicum rubrum
  • Gentiana farreri
  • G. verna
  • Globularia incanescens
  • Gypsophila cerastioides
  • Helichrysum frigidum
  • Linaria alpina
  • Lychnis pyrenaica
  • Myosotis rupicola
  • Omphalodes lucilliae
  • Papa ver alpinum
  • Penstemon rupicola
  • Phyteuma comosum
  • Polygala calcarea
  • Potentilla nitida
  • Ranunculus alpestris
  • R. glacialis
  • Raoulia australis
  • saxifraga (all varieties of cushion and porphyrion types)
  • S. cochlearis minor
  • S. valdensis
  • Silene acaulis
  • Teucrium montanum
  • Wahlenbergia pumilo
  • W. serpyllifolia major.

All can also be grown in the moraine.

Easily Grown Alpine Plants

  • Achillea tomentosa
  • Aethionema Warley Rose
  • Alyssum saxatile
  • Androsace lanuginosa
  • A. sarmentosa
  • Aquilegia caerulea
  • Arabis albida fibre pleno
  • Arenaria montana
  • Armeria laucheana
  • aubrietas
  • Campanula carpatica
  • C. portenschlagiana
  • C. pusilla
  • Cotyledon simplicitfolia
  • Dianthus caesius
  • D. deltoides
  • Erinus alpinus
  • Erodium hybridum roseum
  • Gentiana acaulis
  • G. lagodechiana
  • G. septemfida
  • Geranium sanguineum lancastriense
  • Gypsophila repens subcaulescens
  • helianthemums
  • Hypericum olympicum
  • lberis sempervirens
  • I. saxatilis. Linum perenne
  • Oenothera missouriensis
  • Penstemon scouleri
  • Phlox divaricata
  • P. subulata
  • Po tentilla tonguei.
  • Primula denticulata
  • P. frondosa
  • P. juliana
  • P. marginata
  • P. rosea
  • Rosa roulettii,
  • Saponaria ocymoides
  • Sax ifraga aizoor
  • S. apiculata
  • S. cotyledon
  • S. elizabethae
  • S. granulata fl. pl.
  • S. haagii
  • S. linguluta albertii
  • S. oppositifolia
  • S. .primuloides Elliott’s variety
  • all mossy saxifrages
  • sedums
  • sempervivums
  • Silene alpestris
  • S. schafta
  • Sisyrinchium angustifolium
  • Thymus nitidus
  • T. serpyllum
  • Tunica saxifraga
  • Veronica prostrata
  • Viola cornuta
  • V. gracilis.

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