It’s easy to do – planting small plants too close together. It’s hard to believe that 12” plant will be 4-5’ tall and wide within a few years. You might try pruning to maintain them for a while, but that gets really tiring and the plant doesn’t look right when it isn’t allowed to grow to its preferred size.
INCORRECTLY SPACED PLANTS
We all want instant gratification so here’s some tips on how to create a fuller looking landscape while waiting on your shrubs to reach maturity:
- Plant small annual flowers in groupings of 3s to fill gaps between your shrubs and edge of the bed. This will also add a pop of color to your landscape.
- Plant small annual flowers in front of your shrubs to form a colorful border.
- Use liriope as accent plants – either as a border or in groupings.
- Plant larger annuals (coleus, penta, dusty miller) which can grow to 1’ tall and wide in the bed to take up empty space.
- Mulch your bed, besides helping retain moisture and block out weeds it gives the bed a finished look.
CORRECTLY SPACED PLANTS
When setting out your plants in your flowerbed read the plant tag and plan on the plant reaching the largest size. We have a long growing season and most plants will reach their full maturity size in our area.
Choose plants that will not require frequent pruning to “fit” into your space. There are so many different species of plants in all textures and sizes to choose from. Make sure and ask questions when choosing your plants.
A word of caution – the plant tag gives general information about the plant. The same tag is used nationally and the plant can perform differently depending upon the climate of the area. Not all plants like our Texas summer heat but this will not be listed on the plant tag. Again, ask questions if you are unsure if a plant is right for a specific area.
To summarize – make sure to measure when planting your shrubs and plan for their growth. Use the tips to make the bed look fuller until the shrubs mature. Ask questions and ask for help when making your plant choices. Follow these steps and you will have a beautiful landscape you can enjoy for years to come.
Perennials plants are such a versatile group of plants. Hardier than annuals they return year after year to give color to your landscape and containers. They are a good investment – buy them once and enjoy them for years.
If you aren’t familiar with perennials here’s some info:
- Some are large and shrub-like and will bloom throughout the summer and come back next year and do it all over again.
- Others are evergreen and stay green year-round – never dying back.
- There are those that are smaller, sturdy plants that attract butterflies and hummingbirds with their vibrant flowers.
- Some varieties are lower growing and make good ground covers.
- Many perennials are drought hardy and love the sun and heat (even in Texas!)
- There are shade perennials that brighten up those shady areas too.
By adding perennials to your landscape you can create different looks as the seasons change. You can do so with color transitions as the weather turns from the coolness of spring to the heat of summer. Plant pastel color perennials that finish their bloom cycle as the brighter yellow, oranges and reds of summer begin to bloom.
As your perennials age they can be divided into smaller plants – thus giving you FREE plants to use in your landscape and containers or to share with friends. Who doesn’t love FREE plants! Most divisions need to be done in the fall after the plant has completed its growing cycle for the year.
Perennials can be planted in groupings in your landscape or used as lower growing plants in front of your taller shrubbery to create depth in your flower beds.
Use perennials in containers along with annual flowers to create more interesting plant combinations. These showy plants can also be planted alone in containers – group these containers together and move them around to create different looks for your deck, patio and even in your landscape beds.
Many perennials are deer resistant which in our area is an added bonus! They also attract butterflies and hummingbirds and are definitely pollinator friendly.
Perennials, with all of their uses, should be high on your “must have” list. If you have questions about where and how to use them in your landscape we’d be happy to make suggestions.
One question I hear most often is “how do I choose what to plant in the landscape beds around my house?” Tall ones, short ones, fat ones, skinny ones? Where do I start? Here’s some easy to follow tips that all landscape designers use.
Plant shrubs that stay short in front of windows, porches, decks, and entryways so you don’t block the view.
Plant larger (taller) shrubs in front of areas without windows
These small and larger shrubs become your “foundation” plants that will be in your landscape for many years to come. As these plants mature you will see differences in the height of the plants which gives variety to your landscape.
You then can plant small perennials and annuals in front of the foundation plants. This will add depth to the bed along with colorful flowers.
- Perennials bloom at different times of the year and most die back in the winter but reappear in spring and bring you blooms for years to come.
- Annuals also bloom at different times of the year but usually do not last more than 1 growing season.
I suggest using a combination of perennials and annuals in your bed. The perennials since they come back year after year and the annuals for the “wow” factor their blooms bring to the bed.
You can follow these tips whether your flower bed is shady or sunny. Other things to consider are choosing plants that are not all green – mix it up with plants that have purple, yellow or variegated leaves. Use of different shaped plants (fat, thin, wispy) will also add to the beauty and interest of the landscape.
Follow these basic guidelines and your landscape will look like a professional designed it.