Episode 153: Compact Plants for Tight Spaces

Every gardener wishes they had 25 acres to garden on, right? Well maybe not, but most of us do dream of a healthy amount of ground to build beds and borders to our hearts’ desire. The reality of homeowners today, however, is that land is expensive and typical suburban lots have decreased in size steadily since the 1970s. And smaller lots mean smaller gardens. That isn’t an issue though, if you select plants that are polite and “stay in their lane” as the kids say. On this episode Danielle and Carol talk about compact plants that are prefect for tighter spaces. We’ve got several perennials, one annual, and even a few well-behaved shrubs that made the list. Filling your tiny plot with these beauties will enable you to have a wide variety of colors and textures without sacrificing an enormous amount of precious square footage.

Guest: Julie Lane Gay lives and gardens in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she previously owned a nursery specializing in climbers and perennials.

Danielle’s Plants

Creeping variegated gardenia

Creeping variegated gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides ‘Radicans Variegata’, Zones 8-11)


Prairie Moon rattlesnake master

‘Prairie Moon’ rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium ‘Prairie Moon’, Zones 3-8)


Spicy Devil ninebark

Spicy Devil® ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘ZLENATALIE’, Zones 3-7)


Jack of Diamonds brunnera

‘Jack of Diamonds’ brunnera (Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack of Diamonds’, Zones 3-8)


Carol’s Plants

Ivory Halo dogwood
Ivory Halo® dogwood, Photo: courtesy of Bailey Nurseries

Neon Burst dogwood
Neon Burst™ dogwood, Photo: courtesy of Bailey Nurseries

Ivory Halo® dogwood (Cornus alba ‘Bailhalo’, Zones 3-7)


Rainbow Bouquet dwarf strawflower

‘Rainbow Bouquet’ dwarf strawflower (Helichrysum bracteatus ‘Rainbow Bouquet’, annual)


Lets Dance Sky View hydrangea

Let’s Dance Sky View® hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla × serrata ‘SMNHSME’, Zones 4-9)


Summer Beauty allium

‘Summer Beauty’ allium (Allium tanguticum ‘Summer Beauty’, Zones 4-9)

Find even more fabulous alliums: The Best Summer Alliums to Grow: Plant Trial Results


Expert’s Plants

Brunette baneberry

‘Brunette’ baneberry (Actaea simplex ‘Brunette’, Zones 3-8)


Firepower heavenly bamboo
‘Firepower’ heavenly bamboo, Photo: courtesy of Dinkum via Wikimedia Commons

‘Firepower’ heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica ‘Firepower’, Zones 6-9)


Adirondack crabapple
‘Adirondack’ crabapple, Photo: courtesy of Josh Coceano, Scott Arboretum

‘Adirondack’ crabapple (Malus ‘Adirondack’, Zones 4-8)


Solitary clematis

Solitary clematis (Clematis integrifolia, Zones 4-7)

Julie Lane Gay
Photo: courtesy of Julie Lane Gay

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