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Spacing on Perennials

I'm new to this.... Planning a garden for next Spring. Planting mainly perennials. I want lots of Cone Flowers and Coral Bells. My question is, how do I know how many I need for my flower bed? It's about 25 feet by 6 feet. Thanks in advance for your help.

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Spacing calculator

Here's something that might be helpful:


They also have echinaceas and heucheras with the plant widths listed for each.

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I think this is a fairly good article on perennial gardening:


Because perennials return every year, they need to be given room to spread. Some will reseed themselves each year, in addition to spreading by roots or tubers.

IMO, about 24" would be a good average space to leave between plants, although some species and varieties might need more or less. You also need to allow space so you can get in and care for the plants, and to provide sufficient air circulation around them to help prevent diseases.
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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Nice article, Kisal!

Welcome to the forum, PBand! Hope you find it friendly and helpful and hope you are having fun spending the winter days planning a spring garden. I'm dreaming over the seed catalogs myself.

Something to think about for the future is succession of bloom, keeping something blooming a lot of the season. It is too late now to plant spring blooming bulbs, but fall of 2010, you might want to throw some in. It's an easy way to extend your bloom season with some crocus, daffodils, hyacinth, tulips...

Think about a color scheme. Flower beds can be just a riot of color, but IMHO they have more impact when limited say to a main color and a couple accent colors. The accent colors can be complementary or contrasting, how ever you like. My front yard is mainly all purple and yellow flowers and is very eye-catching!

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So your bed is 25 x 6 or 150sq ft. If you use Kisal's good estimate of perennials needing an average 24 inche spacing, then think of the plants as taking up a 24inch x 24 inch area or 4 sq feet (2 ftx 2 ft). a little simple math 150 / 4 = 37.5 plants. Round down , the little bit of extra space won't be noticed. 37 plants.

That is if you space them all in neat rows. You won't want to do that. But this figgure gives you a rough idea of what you will need.

Hope it helps

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I think most people tend to space plants too close together- but that is ok if you don't mind a more frequent thinning and dividing of your plants as they grow. In my garden, perennials are a dynamic part of the landscape- they are easily divided, transplanted, and rearranged. As you find new combinations, some plants may entirely leave the garden to make way for new plants.

Coneflowers tend to grow rather quickly and will reseed themselves- spreading to overtake less aggressive perennials. They are beautiful plants, but requiring a bit of maintenance. Coral Bells are not nearly as aggressive and could be planted closer together.

I agree with rainbowgardener with limiting you colors and different species. On that size garden maybe 2 or 3 colors and 3-5 different plants. Less is more.

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