Post category: Match plant size to the space


If plants are too cramped for space, it will mean more work pruning, or even the task of removing them. Although it seems obvious that plants should have enough space available to them, it is very common to see gardens where plants never had the prospect of having enough space for their proper development, as shown.


Match plant size to the space


The amount of space available to any plant has a major influence on its success. Each plant species has a normal height and spread. Plants are competitive for space and they tend to grow into each other in the attempt to reach the light. The fast growers will usually squeeze out the smaller plants, but plants of even vigour just end up spoiling each other – becoming one-sided, or very lanky, for example.

It is very important to find out the likely eventual size of any plant before planting. When a plant gets too big for the space available to it, it must be pruned drastically, or removed. The original planting and the subsequent pruning, or removal, all involve wasted time and effort as well as the destruction or complete waste of a good plant.

The problem of adequate space is most acute with the largest plants, namely trees, but it can occur with shrubs as well and even with non-woody flowers when over-rampant kinds are put in the wrong place.

However, it is important to point out that achieving the correct spacing for plants is not as easy as all that. Waiting for the plants to reach mature size, and fill their allotted space, takes too long and there will be ugly gaps in the meantime.

On the other hand, although close planting fills up the space more quickly, the plants soon become too crowded. Short-lived shrubs, perennial flowers and annual flowers – can be used to fill some of the space in the early years.