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Dwarf Plants For Small Spaces

August 31, 2021

Dwarf Plants For Small Spaces

Dwarf Plants For Small Spaces

When choosing plants for your small space, there are a few things you need to know to ensure you have success:

  • Location – Too often, plants outgrow their location because the mature size of the plant was not calculated beforehand. This is especially important when selecting plants for your small space. Always choose a plant that will fit in its designated area.
  • Light Requirements – This will be an issue if not taken into consideration. Some plants need a minimum of 6 hours sunlight per day to maintain their vibrant colour, while others will only thrive in low light. Sheridan Nurseries can assist you in selecting plants best suited for your space. The Garden Guide will provide you with height and spread, zone hardiness, light preference, in addition to key characteristics of the plants.

Whether designing on a small or large scale, always follow the same principles of balance, proportion, repetition, variety of form, interesting texture, and a cohesive colour scheme.

With a little planning, a small area can be transformed into a collective garden of unusual plants of varying form, colour, and texture. Here are some ideas to get you inspired for your smaller outdoor living space.


The most suitable trees for small spaces can also be very decorative.

  • Purpleleaf sand cherry (standard) – Purple foliage all season and lightly fragrant flowers in May
  • Weeping pussy willow and weeping peashrubs – Graceful trailing branches that “weep” to the ground
  • Cranberry cotoneaster tree – Round, arching form and small, red berries in fall
  • Limelight, Quick Fire, Pinky Winky hydrangea –Large, cone-shaped blooms from late summer to autumn in green, white, and pink
  • Dwarf lilac (standard) – Mauve flowers in May
  • Fragrant snowball – Fragrant, white flowers
SHRUBS (40 CM–150 CM)

Consider a dwarf flowering shrub; they will add colour and contrasting texture.

  • Dwarf fragrant viburnum, dwarf lilac, miniature snowflake mock orange, and Carol Mackie daphne. Happy Face® potentillas and Double Play® spireas make good choices for small gardens.
  • For showy coloured leaves, try the cutleaf Japanese maple (red), Goldmound spirea (lime green), or Goldflame spirea (orange-red).
  • Dwarf burningbush is grown specifically for its scarlet red colour in autumn. The branches also have unusual winged bark to peak interest in winter.
  • Little Devil™ ninebark from First Editions has dark purple foliage that shows off its sprays of white blooms in late spring.

There are a few good choices for upright, slow-growing evergreens:

  • Dwarf Alberta spruce
  • Sargent’s weeping hemlock
  • Japanese black pine
  • Sester dwarf blue spruce

For a miniature, tree-like appearance, consider a grafted standard:

  • Globe blue spruce
  • Dwarf white pine
  • Euonymus
  • Spreading junipers

Many evergreens and broadleaf evergreens grow in a natural, round form without trimming. Some varieties include:

  • Mr. Bowling Ball® cedar
  • Little Giant globe cedar
  • Dwarf mugho pine
  • Globe blue
  • Nest spruce
  • Jeddeloh dwarf hemlock
  • Fire Chief cedar

Perennials can be used in small spaces as long as care is taken to select non-spreading varieties. Many will grow well in a restricted space. Consider the following:

  • Origami columbine
  • Fern-leaf bleeding heart
  • Flirt bergenia
  • Various dwarf bellflower
  • Coral bell
  • Stella d’Oro daylily
  • Butterfly delphinium
  • Tea Cup hosta (blue mouse ears)
  • Fruit Punch pinks
  • Dwarf iris
  • Silver mound artemisia
  • Sylvan™ lace foam flower

The smaller ornamental grasses create contrast in the perennial garden with their different textures and forms. Consider these interesting choices:

  • Blue sedge
  • Elijah Blue fescue
  • Golden variegated Japanese forest grass
  • Japanese blood grass
  • Bandwidth maiden grass