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11 Small Plants for Tight Spaces

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As a landscape designer, there is a list of "go to's" for every situation a yard can throw at you. Sometimes it is a lowland that holds water and sometimes it is a shady area under a group of oak trees. Either way, there is a plant or tree for every need.

Lets discuss some possible plants that will fit in those tight spaces. Here are some of the plants that are on my tight space list. Many of these plants do not exceed 2 to 3 feet in width and many don't get much taller either.


1. Purple Pixie Loropetalum


Great low growing, weeping plant. Purple Pixie makes a great border plant and cascading plant. Its brilliant purple evergreen foliage makes for a great focal point. It is a slow to moderate growing, low maintenance plant. Purple Diamond makes a great semi-dwarf option of this plant. Look at Ever Red Loropetalum for a taller option to purple Diamond.


2. Kleim's Hardy Gardenia


Makes a good plant under low sitting windows and its shorter size and fragrance makes it good for sitting areas and porches. It’s a great specimen plant that gets loaded with blooms. August Beauty is a great option as well for a larger Gardenia. If these are still too tall then perhaps Dwarf Gardenia 'Radicans' would be a better option. Other similar semi-dwarf varieties include 'Heaven Scent', Daisy and 'Scentsation'.


3. Dwarf English Boxwood



Partial shade is preferred, as full sun can scorch leaves. Flowers are insignificant when blooming in April and May. Suffruticosa resembles some lower growing hollies but with a lighter colored leaf. ‘Suffruticosa’ is resistant to Holly Blight, therefore some varieties would be a good alternative to replace shorter varieties of hollies. ‘Suffruticosa’ is the most resistant to Leafminers. Use ‘Suffruticosa’ in containers as an accent or a topiary. It also makes a good hedge or border.


4. St. Johns Wort



This plant does not get the credit it deserves. Hypericum is a great drought resistant plant that will thrive in the worst growing conditions and in the best as well. This shrub grows2 to 4 feet tall, not overwhelming the landscape and gets loaded with beautiful yellow flowers. This plant can die back to the ground in colder climates, to come back as a perennial and in warmer climates, become a deciduous shrub.Hypericum blooms on new growth and should be lightly pruned in late winter.

This plant has herbal properties and is said to possibly help mild depression. It was also used in ancient times to ward off evil spirits, and burned on the eve of St.John’s Day. This is how it got its name. There are other cultivars of Hypericum that grow lower and act as more of a groundcover.


5. Soft Touch Holly


 This plant has dark green shiny leaves with a unique silvery midvein. Soft Touch is smaller than a Helleri holly and gets black berries on it that last all winter. Soft touch also holds a lush, compact shape, making it great in mass plantings or as a short hedge.


6. Sky Pencil Holly


Sky Pencil is a slim upright growing evergreen that is used in container plants, as a specimen or corner plant and is a great option for that small area. Can be planted as a narrow hedge as well. Sky Pencil produces a purple berry around September.


7. Green Fountain Grass



Dwarf Fountain grass is much hardier than its relative, Purple Fountain Grass that is considered to be an annual in most of the states. Dwarf Fountain grass is a perennial grass throughout most of the United States. It gets loaded with tan plumes and only growing 2 to 3 foot tall, it won’t overwhelm the area in which you put it. Like so many ornamental grasses, this grass looks great in rock gardens and dry creek beds. This grass has great drought tolerance but can also tolerate moist areas too.Take a look at our 12 Ornamental Grasses for Landscaping.


8. Spreading Plum Yew

 Southern Living Plant Collection2 gal. Plum Yew Yewtopia


Great low growing evergreen that can handle heavy amounts of shade and shows great drought tolerance once established. This is a tough, unique looking plant that makes a great ground cover and works well in tight places. This plant however is considered a slow grower.

If you like the look but need something taller, take a look at Japanese plum yew.


9. Dwarf Alberta Spruce


This makes for a great topiary or container plant, just be sure that the pot has plenty of drainage holes and a good quality potting soil that drains properly. Because it grows so slowly, it would not create a good screen but makes for a great specimen tree in rock gardens or Japanese gardens. Also makes for a good miniature Christmas tree.


10. Firepower Nandina



Fire Power is a great dwarf evergreen that displays brilliant red color in the fall with beautiful lighter green summer color. This plant makes a great specimen, plant for mass plantings and a good focal point plant. It also does not create the problems that Nandina Domestica creates with its underground rhizomes. Fire Power has good drought tolerance once established and tolerates heavier amounts of shade as well. Also found under the name 'Blush Pink'.

Do not mistake the Firepower for the Nandina Domestica 'Heavenly Bamboo' as it has landed itself on a list of undesirable plants.


11. Goldmound Spirea

Goldmound's brilliant color stands out in front of foundation plants and short growth makes it a lower maintenance plant. It has brilliant fall colors of reds and oranges also. Great focal point plant also. If you are looking for something a little different, look at the Anthony Waterer Spirea.



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10 Water Loving Plants

Ingar's Top 10 Trees For a Landscape In The South

 Flowers for shade

12 Ornamental Grasses for landscaping

17 Groundcovers for Sun and Shade

Ingar's Top 10 Trees For a Landscape In The South

7 Best Climbing Outdoor Vines

10 Brilliant Winter Flowering plants

Top 30 Perennials for Your Garden

Deer Resistant Shrubs and Perennials

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Posted 2015-09-10T20:25:35+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL Ingar_HD_ATL