Plants For Shallow Soil Over Concrete [17 Ideas For Your Landscaping]

Growing flowers in a city with primarily shallow soil over concrete can be challenging. Having a piece of nature in our modern spaces is essential for our wellbeing, but sometimes we can only have access to shallow soil.

So, what plants can grow over them, and how do you make them thrive? We have researched answers for you to make this a bit easier!

Here are 17 plants you can try growing on shallow soil over concrete:

  1. Periwinkle
  2. Centrathus Rubber
  3. Buddleia
  4. Black-eyed Susan
  5. California Fescue
  6. Bunchleaf Penstemon
  7. Tangle Fogfruit
  8. Woolly Thyme
  9. Brass Buttons
  10. Blue Star Creeper
  11. Chamomile
  12. Blue Haze Acaena
  13. Keweinsis Wintercreeper
  14. Lewisia Tweedyi
  15. Heart-leaved Globe Daisy
  16. Limestone Saxifrage
  17. Garden Thyme

Although plants that grow in shallow soil are generally high maintenance, providing them with ideal conditions is still an excellent idea to thrive better. If you want to know more about these plants, their benefits, possible growing challenges, and how to take care of them: keep reading!

A collage of plants for shallow soil over concrete, Plants For Shallow Soil Over Concrete [17 Ideas For Your Landscaping]

Plants For Shallow Soil Over Concrete

Growing low-maintenance plants is ideal for people who want a piece of nature without the hassle of having them take too much of your time and attention.

Plants that grow on shallow soil don't take up too much space, so they are suitable for homes in residential buildings and small areas.

They don't require much maintenance, and their appearance can instantly uplift your mood and spruce up your tiny outdoor space.

Here are plants you can try growing in a small area in your home.


Common periwinkle or Vinca

Periwinkles are a favorite among many gardeners because they are tough, low-maintenance, and can thrive in any season, although the blooms usually flower during the spring.

They also tolerate different soil conditions, so they will likely grow on soil over concrete.

Centrathus Rubber

Centranthus ruber

Cereanthus rubbers are another low-maintenance flowering plant that produces lovely pink blooms. They grow easily as long as they are planted in a moderately-fertile soil.

Although they grow under partial shade, it's best to plant them in a location where they can get full access to sunlight so they can bloom faster.

They are drought-resistant, so you may only need to water them when you notice the soil getting too dry. On regular days, they can survive by relying on rainwater.


Buddleia plants thrive under full sun, which is ideal if you live in a warm and sunny area.

They are hardy in USDA Zones 5-10, and they like dry and well-drained soil, so you will need to dig drainage holes on the concrete so the water will go somewhere.

Furthermore, Buddleias don't need much maintenance; you should avoid amending the soil as much as possible.

How Do I Add Soil Over Concrete?

If you want to plant on shallow soil over concrete, you need to do the following:

  • Make drainage holes in concrete
  • Layer the surface with 4-5 inches of topsoil

This would provide a good base for low-maintenance plants to thrive.

Black-eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susans get their name from having a dark center, similar to a black iris. They thrive on well-drained soil, so you must ensure the concrete under the ground has drainage holes.

Make sure not to overwater; concrete doesn't drain well, so it is best to water them sparingly: ideally only once a week.

They thrive under full sun, and they can handle intense heat as well as a deep freeze. They are hardy in USDA zones 4-9.

California Fescue

California Fescues are popular for their extreme tolerance for unpredictable weather patterns.

They can survive the winter temperatures and droughts even with little maintenance, making them ideal for grassing to be planted on shallow soil over concrete.

However, note that they can have brown patches during a highly humid season. If the concrete doesn't have drainage holes, the grass may be fed with too much moisture and turn brown.

Make sure they still receive adequate water and that their soil remains well-drained during the summer. Fescue grass generally requires less maintenance during the winter since its blades can deter weeds.

The summer months are only the time when they may need more attention, although it won't be too time-consuming.

Bunchleaf Penstemon

Bunchleaf penstemon flower

Bunchleaf Penstemons are perennial flowers that flower from June to September. They don't require too much water, only requiring it during a long dry spell. They typically do well relying on rain showers.

They tolerate winter temperatures, and they thrive under full to partial shade.

Ensure the soil is well-drained so their roots don't drown and they can have a long lifespan.

Tangle Fogfruit

Frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora) Aka Turkey tangle fogfruit

Tangle fogfruits thrive with little assistance. They thrive on any soil type, from sandy to open soil, making them ideal for shallow soil over concrete: provided it is well-draining.

During the winter, they die back but grow again--unless the freezing temperature is prolonged.

Woolly Thyme

Low angle macro of pink woolly thyme flowers

Woolly thymes thrive in rocky gardens, so it's no surprise they can thrive on shallow soil over concrete. They thrive on dry ground and don't need fertilizer for them to thrive.

They have a low ground cover, so make sure to put them in an area with little foot traffic.

Their flowers can bloom from late spring through mid-summer, so make sure these plants get enough sun so you can enjoy their lovely blooms.

Brass Buttons

Close up of the Brass Buttons plant with green leaves and bright yellow round flower tops

Brass buttons grow in rocky gardens so that you may put them on soil over concrete. They are generally low maintenance, thriving with small yellow and green flowers.

If you live in a warm area, plant them in a location with partial shade to protect them from harsh afternoon sunlight.

If you live in a cool climate, plant them in an area with access to full sunlight.

Blue Star Creeper

Flagstone patio with creeping blue star ground cover in bloom between stones

Blue star creepers are an excellent alternative to gound-covering turfs, so they can grow on shallow soil. They can grow on soil over concrete as long as it has well-draining holes.

They are generally low-maintenance, not requiring fertilizer or any vitamins. Their flowers bloom during the spring and summer and are hardy in USDA Zones 6-9.

An inch of water every week would suffice for these plants. Ensure not to overwater them since they don't like too much moisture.


German tea chamomila (Chamomilla recutita) flowers on meadow

Chamomile plants have feathery leaves that let out a fruity scent when crushed. Place them in areas that don't have a lot of foot traffic to avoid them being stepped on.

They grow tiny white flowers that can make your small garden space look lovely.

Blue Haze Acaena

This plant is ideal for beginners since they are relatively easy to grow. They thrive under full sun and fast-draining soil, so make sure the concrete has draining holes before you put this plant in.

Keweinsis Wintercreeper

These plants tolerate any soil type as long as it drains well and can be planted in an area with a lot of foot traffic.

They can be planted in pavers or walls, so they will most likely thrive on shallow soil over concrete. Additionally, these plants are low-maintenance, and their stems will root easily when it gets into contact with the ground.

Lewisia Tweedyi

Lewisia Tweedyi

Lewisia Tweedyis thrive on sandy soil, although you must ensure it is well-drained.

They are typically used in rock gardens and containers, so they will likely thrive on shallow soil. They are also low-maintenance, so you can quickly grow them as long as they have access to full sunlight.

Heart-leaved Globe Daisy

Globularia Cordifolia a spring summer flowering plant with a blue purple summertime flower

These plants have leathery, evergreen leaves with deep green foliage, and they are ideal for rocky gardens, so they will thrive on shallow soil and well-draining concrete.

They are relatively easy to care for and are beginner-friendly.  They grow small flowers that bloom from early summer to late spring.

Limestone Saxifrage

Saxifraga paniculata on rock

These flowers can propagate by seed and thrive in well-drained soil with access to full sun. However, they may die during the winter, so it may not be ideal if you live in an area experiencing winter. 

These plants can be planted in rock gardens and shallow soil over concrete.

Garden Thyme

Thyme plant in a pot

Thymes are a delicious spice, so growing them in your small garden is ideal. They thrive in slightly dry soil, although you may want to layer them with compost so they can grow better.

Final Thoughts

Plants that thrive in any soil and weather condition are essential if you live a busy life and don't have time to pay too much attention to your plants.

With these plants, you can enjoy their benefits fully with little work. Although, of course, you still need to look at them from time to time so they can have a longer and better lifespan.

Want to check out more garden articles? Look no further!

14 Plants For Shallow Soil And Shade That You Should Try

Lawn Sinks When Walking On It: What To Do?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *