Alpine gardens are designed with plants that grow in high mountain elevations around the world. Due to harsh growing conditions and a short growing season, these plants are slow growing, and have a low and compact growth habit. Alpine gardens at low elevations usually require special care to flourish. Alpine plants thrive in rocky, acidic soil, and require a consistently cool climate. The simplest alpine garden is a living collections of indigenous alpine plants in a mountainous setting. More complex gardens involve artistic arrangement of alpine plants, often incorporating rock sculptures and arrangements and plant identification. Many alpine gardens are predominantly rock gardens, with several varieties of vine-like, low-lying flora interspersed. Local governments and private foundations in alpine conditions often sponsor the creation and upkeep of publicly accessible alpine botanic gardens to showcase native landscapes.
Alpine plants for gardens are prized for their aesthetic value outside of mountainous climates, as well. Many lower-altitude gardeners will seek to incorporate alpine plants into their gardens, both as a means of introducing variety and as a way to capitalize on potentially low-water or drought conditions. Many alpine plants are accustomed to growing with little water, and planting them in dry soil is not usually a problem.