Troughs are perfect for growing alpines. The small spaces in the troughs do justice to these small and often very dense plants. For a long time, we used troughs made of hypertufa (cement, sand and sphagnum) but after approx. 10 years, they nearly fell apart. A few years ago, we succeeded in getting sandstone and granite troughs from Poland so we no longer risk having them fall apart. We use pure sand as a soil conditioner in the troughs which ensures the necessary drainage. Alpines come from oligotrophic surroundings so they thrive in the sand. We fertilize the troughs with a very thin fertilizer dissolution rarely.
We do not cover the troughs or plants during winter. Our experience tells us that the plants are better off with no cover but with heavy drainage. Especially the spring can be hard on some plants because of the frequent changes between frost and thaw but we lose very few plants in troughs during winter.
Troughs May 2014