Planting distances in the perennial border

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Not only gardeners find it hard to keep the right planting distances when planning a new perennial bed. Reason: If you buy the plants in the ten-pot in the garden center, they are all more or less the same size, and their vigor in the bed can be guessed at best. Already at the planning stage, however, you must know the final sizes of the plants that should decorate your future perennial plant bed. The catalogs of well-stocked perennial nurseries are very helpful - even if you do not find the desired perennial variety in it, so you can draw on the basis of the specified stature height of a similar variety conclusions.

Although the stature height indicates the space requirement in the perennial border, it does not say anything about the growth habit of the perennial. For example, there are a number of plants in the rock garden that can barely reach a height of ten centimeters, but which can be quite wide in size due to the presence of shoots or creeping ground shoots. On the other hand, the inflorescences of some delphiniums tower almost two meters in height, to the sides of the perennials spread but hardly. In the gardening language, therefore, a distinction between so-called horstig growing and stagnant plants. But even this division is relatively blurred, because all ornamental grasses and perennials, which can be multiplied by division, form foothills. The only question is how long they can become.

Perennial border with coneflower phlox

Perennial flowerbed with yellow coneflower and viollett blue phlox

Garden designers divide the perennials for bed planning in three groups: The first group are the so-called Leit- or scaffold plants. These are tall species of perennials with large flowers or eye-catching appearance, such as water-wast or silver candles, which immediately attract attention. They are used singly or in groups of two and should have at least 60 centimeters planting distance to all neighboring perennials. The second group are the companion or group plants, such as coneflower or high fat hen. They are slightly smaller and less noticeable than the Leitstauden and are distributed in groups of three to ten plants on the bed. Perennial gardeners recommend a planting distance of at least 40 centimeters for plants of this group. The third group, the filling or spreading plants such as vegetable root or forest poppy, is placed as needed in small or larger groups along the edges of the bed, thus closing the remaining gaps between the larger perennials. They are set at about 25 centimeters planting distance.
If the above mentioned figures are too inaccurate, they can also be applied to the individual growth height in the case of lead plants and group plants. If one plans about one third of the final size as a planting distance, one will meet the space requirements of the vast majority of perennials. In the case of the inflorescences, the planting distance depends most strongly on the growth behavior. Here it should be determined whether the plant spreads through ground shoots, such as many cranesbill species, or whether it has a horstigen growth like the carnation root. Clumpy plants should be planted at a distance of no more than 20 centimeters, and in the case of stoloniferous species, you can plan for 30 centimeters or more - depending on how quickly the plant cover should close.

Plant shrubs young plants

The growth strengths of the various perennials can hardly be estimated on the basis of the young plants

For perennial species such as elm or golden strawberry, which are also used as ground cover, the planting density in the plant catalogs is often given in units per square meter. Such non-lay information can be easily converted: simply divide the number 100 by the number of plants per square meter and multiply the result by 2 - you already have the appropriate planting distance per plant.
If you want to put your finished plant plan into action in the garden, it is recommended to divide the prepared bed after tillage into a grid with 100 x 100 or 50 x 50 centimeter compartments. For marking, simply sprinkle fine lines on the ground with light-colored sand. Even if the planting plan has an appropriate grid, you can now lay out the shrubs easily with the appropriate planting distances, without having to resort again and again to the yardstick.

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