Experts and BHG readers answer.
What should I plant?
Rock mulch isn't ideal for plants because the rock intensifies the heat stress put on plants. If the patio is already hot and in full sun, the rock is compounding the problem and making for a very unfriendly environment for plants.
I'd recommend removing the river rock and mulching your new planting with an organic mulch like shredded cypress or cedar. For a list of plants that will thrive in full sun, work with the Plant Encyclopedia on our BHG.com website. You can choose based on criteria such as size, color and bloom season. Then you can view plant profiles that include photos and descriptions.