Small Perennials

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Lower flowers, those no more than 18 inches tall, include the small perennials, and are most often used toward the front of a garden. Some serve well as area color, others as a swath of color or texture. If you've chosen a perennial garden, it will stay somewhat the same from year to year. You'll therefore want to take your time in planning and planting to make the most of it. It might, after all, be as long as three years--if you're planting from seed--that perennials reach their full size.

Considerations in Choosing Small Perennials

Most annuals do fairly well in being placed 12 inches apart. You'll need to take more care with large and small perennials, however, because they tend over time to spread, sometimes aggressively. The thick-leaved hosta, for example, can take over a small garden in almost no time as long as there's ample shade.

Some ferns, the Virginia chain fern, will often do the same. The spring-blooming columbine, however, tend to spread only 18 to 24 inches. Cerastium Snow in Summer grows only to about four inches in height, blooms from late spring to early summer, and tends to spread.

Quite a number of small perennials are good both in beds and as ground covers. They include creeping baby's breath, coralbells, and dwarf bearded iris. The Argentus thyme is a good choice for a trailer that takes full sun and some shade. It does well along pathways and likes moisture. You're well advised to conceive a design only broadly, then look through gardening books and online nurseries to finalize your choices.

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