I’ve always been ambivalent about plant labels. Rarely does the flower color on a label match the actual flower colors I get. Sun and shade can be vague terms, if the weather has gone to extremes.I take all this in stride because I know there are always variables, when working with nature.
When it come to perennial plants, there is one piece of advice on that label that I’ve learned to respect. Spacing.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has squeezed plants too tightly together. There were times when I wanted a full look immediately and even more often, times when I simply tucked a new plant in, knowing there wasn’t enough space for it to fill out. I’ve always been sorry, when I do. I took me way too many years to stop this silly habit. Now that I’ve started simplifying my garden, I’m really paying for all those moments of immediate gratification.
There aren’t that many incidences where the phrase Truth in Advertising applies, but we’ve got to learn to trust the plant companies when they tell us our little quart-size grass is going to mature 4 ft. in every direction. The penalty for not listening is either more work for you – dividing that plant every couple of years – or a stunted disappointing plant.
It may be hard to wait those three years it takes perennials to flourish, but you can always fill the space with annuals, ornaments, or a container that can be swapped out. If you are looking for less heavy maintenance in your garden, it pays to be patient.