4 perfect perennials for small spaces

June 25, 2015

You can convert even the smallest space into a beautiful, lush garden — if you use the right plants. Here are some surefire picks to bring bold colours and amazing texture to even the tiniest landscape.

4 perfect perennials for small spaces

1. Bergenia

Bergenia cordifolia: Its large, deep-green leaves often change to bronze or red in the winter garden. They require full sun to partial shade and tend to bloom in late winter to early spring. They grow to roughly 30 to 60 centimetres (12 to 24 inches) both in height and width and their pale rose-red to dark pink colour can bring life to any space.

Growing advice: Requires moist, well-draining soil; divide in spring every three to five years.

Recommendations: Purpurea has reddish-purple flowers; for a smaller plant, try Rotblum, which produces red flowers and red leaves in winter.

2. Hellebore

Helleborus spp.: Lovely, little cup-shaped blooms and evergreen foliage will be a garden delight from winter to spring. They require full or partial shade to partial sun and bloom from mid-winter to spring. They can grow 30 to 60 centimetres (12 to 24 inches) high and wide. They can be white, pink, purple and green, giving life to your small garden space.

Growing advice: Top with organic matter in spring, then mulch around the plant to retain moisture.

Recommendations: Royal Heritage blooms a long time in an array of colours.

3. Coreopsis

Coreopsis verticillata: These perennials have attractive foliage and provide a long, brilliant display of sunshine-coloured blooms. With full sun to partial shade, these flowers bloom from summer to mid-fall. They can grow up to 82 centimetres (32 inches) high and 60 centimetres (24 inches) wide. Plus, their bright yellow colour is sure to liven up your small space in the gloomy autumn weather.

Growing advice: Propagate with cuttings or seeds in well-draining soil; deadhead as needed, but discard flowerheads to avoid self-sowing.

Recommendations: Among the more compact choices are Zagreb, at 30 to 40 centimetres (12 to 15 inches), and the closely related Nana (Coreopsis rosea), which grows 20 to 25 centimetres (8 to 10 inches) tall with pink flowers.

4. Brunnera

Brunnera macrophylla: Requiring only partial shade, these flowers blossom from mid-spring to late spring. They can grow to 45 centimetres (18 inches) high and 58 centimetres (24 inches) wide and are a beautiful blue shade.

Growing advice: Requires moist, well-draining soil; divide in spring every 6 to 10 years.

Recommendations: For variegated foliage that brightens a shady location, try Jack Frost and Looking Glass.

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