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Planning Out Your Big Plants

Happy September from Desert Rose! In this month's blog we will be reviewing the importance of proper plant placement with regards to how big the plants will grow over the next 5 years. Gardeners can run the risk of overcrowding your plants and not letting the plant reach their full potential if their mature growth size is not taken into account when planting. With a little knowledge, you can prevent your yard from turning into a jungle.

When shopping for greenery, most plants are sold in either a #1, #3, or #5 containers. The size of the plant's container does not always correlate to the size the plant will grow. If you buy a #1 container Butterfly Bush and plant it in front of a #1 container Sangria Yarrow, in 3 years the Yarrow will disappear behind the larger butterfly bush. Nurseries sell large growing plants in smaller containers to make plants more affordable for those who have the patience to wait for the plant to grow. The difference between a #1 and #5 container Butterfly Bush can be a year or two worth of growth.

The goals for planting placement is to put the smallest growing plants in the front, with medium growing plants in the middle, and larger growing plants in the back. For a planting example, let's imagine we have a flowerbed that is 8 feet wide and 8 feet long. The ideal way to plant it for maximum visibility of all plants and to prevent the plants from growing into each other is as follows:

- For the front of the flowerbed, choose a mix of low growing #1 container plants (Yarrow, Lavender, Catmint, Columbine, Coral Bells etc.)

- In the middle row, we can either plant a taller #1 container plant (Alaskan Shasta Daisy) or a medium growing #5 container ( Low-Grow Sumac, Blue Mist Spirea, Goldfinger Potentilla, Lena Scotch Broom, etc.)

- The back should be reserved for tall growing #5 container plants (Butterfly Bushes, Lilacs, Mt. Mohogany, Forsythia) or trees.

It is critical to also take into consideration how wide each plant will grow and make sure they will not overwhelm each other. For example, a Blue Mist Spirea can reach 4' wide, so don’t space less than 4 feet apart unless you are trying to create a hedge.

Although this may seem overwhelming, it is fairly simple once each plant's growth pattern is understood. You can learn this information by, simply reading the tag that comes with the plant or doing an online search to find out how tall and wide the plant will be. If you want a beautiful, properly placed garden in your yard without all this work give Desert Rose a call and we will gladly work with you to help create a landscape that will be lush without becoming a jungle in 5 years!

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