10 Flowering Perennials You Should Avoid in Small Spaces

I usually dream of gardening in huge open areas the place I can plant something my coronary heart needs with out area or funds constraints. Sadly, that’s simply not a actuality for me, and it isn’t the fact for many gardeners.

As city areas broaden, backyard area shrinks. With this variation comes a necessity to decide on crops fastidiously to benefit from prime yard actual property. It’s essential to keep away from flowers that are likely to take over, particularly should you don’t wish to spend all of your time controlling progress fairly than having fun with it.

Though undoubtedly stunning, these perennials are greatest saved out of small backyard areas. Fortunately, there are at all times fantastic options that received’t provide the identical bother.

Butterfly Bush

Butterfly bush is a well-liked alternative for attracting pollinators like butterflies.

Should you’re trying to appeal to pollinators to your backyard – and notably butterflies – you’ll most likely see butterfly bush excessive on the listing of suggestions. Scientifically often known as Buddleia davidii, the butterfly bush options lovable purple flowers which are beloved by gardeners.

Sadly, planting butterfly bushes in your backyard (and particularly a small backyard) can have unfavorable results that outweigh their aesthetic advantages.

This plant is taken into account invasive in lots of areas throughout the US, self-seeding to unfold not solely round your backyard however to close by habitats too. The vigorous progress smothers native crops and might rapidly get uncontrolled in heat climates. That is prime of our listing of flowers to keep away from in small areas.

Coneflowers (Echinacea) are nice options that appeal to much more pollinators and can be utilized for a pop of purple coloration, relying in your chosen species. The crops stay far more compact and manageable than butterfly bushes, supreme for small areas.


Close-up of blooming Wisteria in the garden. Wisteria is a vibrant and woody vine known for its stunning cascades of fragrant flowers. The flowers hang in long, drooping clusters called racemes and come in shades of purple and white. The leaves are compound and consist of several leaflets that give the vine a lush appearance.
Mature wisteria is unsuitable for small gardens on account of its dimension and aggressive progress.

One have a look at a mature wisteria will provide you with the primary cause why it’s not appropriate for small gardens – dimension. This climber is giant and wishes a tall, powerful help to develop to its full potential.

However even should you’re keen to make the area, there’s a extra essential cause it needs to be averted. Wisteria is an aggressive plant that may rapidly take over your yard if not managed. This can be helpful for rapidly masking a pergola or backyard arch, however the roots will unfold to crowd out different crops in your backyard and should even harm different constructions.

Wisteria sinensis, generally often known as Chinese language wisteria, is only one of some varieties declared invasive in a number of jap states and is a good danger to plant in a small area. As an alternative, you may attempt climbing hydrangeas with the identical makes use of and with out the aggressive unfold.

Plume Poppy

Close-up of Plume Poppy (Macleaya cordata) in the garden. It is a herbaceous perennial known for its tall growth and showy feather-like flowers. The plant produces large leaves with deep lobes. Plume Poppy produces tall stems topped with panicles of tiny star-shaped flowers in shades of white or pink.
These poppies are controversial on account of their invasive nature and towering top.

The plume poppy (Macleaya cordata) is just not a real poppy. It doesn’t belong to the genus Papaver however is a part of the poppy household (Papaveraceae), very like California poppies. Nevertheless, plume poppies aren’t fairly as beloved as their family members and are controversial selections for gardeners.

The controversy stems from the invasive nature of those crops, notably in heat climates. Each the rhizomes and seeds rapidly unfold to take over small gardens if not rigorously managed, making it a high-maintenance (and usually not worthwhile) alternative. Another excuse to keep away from these flowers in small areas: in addition they develop to a towering 8 ft tall, leaving little room for different crops.

Should you’re searching for top, attempt rising the favored cottage backyard staple hollyhocks (Alcea rosea) as a substitute. They develop vertically with out taking on an excessive amount of horizontal area and have comparable foliage to take pleasure in when the plant is just not in flower.

Lily of the Valley

Close-up of a Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) flowering plant. It is a charming and fragrant perennial plant. Its lanceolate leaves emerge from the ground in a lush green carpet. The plant produces delicate, white, bell-shaped flowers that hang from curved stems, exuding a sweet and intoxicating aroma.
Lily of the valley is unsuitable for small gardens on account of its aggressive spreading nature by rhizomes.

These needing to fill shady gardens would possibly take into account the lovable woodland plant Convallaria majalis, generally often known as Lily of the Valley. However until you’re keen to take care of its unfold for years to return, it’s possible you’ll wish to keep away from this flower in your small backyard area.

Lily of the Valley has aggressive rhizomes that unfold beneath the soil undetected. You’ll discover the indicators of this speedy unfold each spring when new crops begin to pop up out of nowhere, probably spreading removed from the place you initially planted.

This plant could also be a beautiful image of spring, however it’s not supreme for small areas should you plan on rising anything in the identical space. For comparable flowers, attempt snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) or plant in containers the place the rhizomes can’t turn into a difficulty. It’s additionally poisonous to animals, which suggests it’s not supreme should you share your own home with pets.

Candy Autumn Clematis

Close-up of blooming Sweet Autumn Clematis in the garden, against a blurred green background. Sweet Autumn Clematis is a vigorous and ornamental vine with an abundance of small, star-shaped white flowers. These flowers form dense clusters, making for a spectacular sight. The bright green leaves of the plant consist of three leaflets and provide a lush backdrop for an abundance of flowers.
Candy autumn clematis with aromatic white flowers is invasive and aggressive in progress.

Clematis terniflora, or candy autumn clematis, has eye-catching white flowers with a splendidly candy scent. Popping up in late summer time and flowering into fall, the carpets of flowers make this vine a really tempting choice.

Sadly, Clematis terniflora has an aggressive progress behavior, making it a flowering vine to keep away from in small areas. The vines unfold quickly to smother close by crops, and the flowers launch seeds that unfold to different habitats close by. It’s invasive in some jap states. The vines additionally develop past 10 ft tall, making them bigger than many small gardens can accommodate.

Fortunately, different clematis species aren’t as aggressive, such because the native Clematis virginiana. However should you’re brief on area, it’s also possible to go for the aromatic however usually shorter jasmine vines.


Close-up of blooming Loosestrife (Lysimachia spp.) in the garden. The plant produces small bright yellow star-shaped flowers. The flowers are borne in thorns or clusters, adding a charming vertical element to the garden. The leaves of loosestrife are lanceolate with serrated edges.
The Lysimachia genus presents colourful flowers like gooseneck loosestrife and creeping jenny.

Vegetation within the Lysimachia genus, generally often known as loosestrife, are largely identified for his or her eye-catching flowers in lots of colours. Gooseneck loosestrife (Lysimachia clethroides) is a well-liked choice for its structural flowers whereas creeping jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) is a well-liked floor cowl.

Though they’re associated, this genus doesn’t embrace the invasive Lythrum salicaria or purple loosestrife. Nevertheless it’s greatest to keep away from rising any Lysimachia in your yard for the same cause. It turns into troublesome to regulate on account of vigorously-spreading rhizomes and touring seeds.

For the same floral look on a extra compact and easier-to-manage plant, attempt spiked speedwell (Veronica spicata). The flowers are available in numerous colours and develop to a most of three ft, relying on the cultivar.


Close-up of a blooming periwinkle in the garden. It is a charming evergreen groundcover known for its small flowers and glossy leaves. The flowers are open, funnel-shaped, bright blue. The leaves are tall, oval, shiny, dark green.
Periwinkle flowers can turn into invasive and dangerous to your backyard.

Lovely periwinkle flowers might look inconspicuous and appropriate for any area – together with small gardens. However don’t let this look idiot you. Species within the Vinca genus might be fairly harmful round your backyard and to neighboring environments when uncontrolled.

Two of the most well-liked species are Vinca main (higher periwinkle) and Vinca minor (frequent periwinkle). In heat climates, these crops are sometimes categorized as invasive, notably the bigger Vinca main. These flowers have the flexibility to rapidly take over small backyards and smother any crops that get of their manner.

For a low-growing native choice, wild blue phlox (Phlox divaricata) sports activities flowers with an identical form and coloration. Woodland phlox can also be impressively simple to develop and adapts effectively to various situations throughout the US.


Close-up of blooming Crocosmia in the garden. Crocosmia, commonly known as montbretia, is a vibrant flowering plant cherished for its striking blooms and sword-like foliage. The leaves are long and lanceolate, resembling narrow plates of bright green color. The flowers are borne on tall curved stems. They are tubular, bright red. The flowers are arranged in loose inflorescences along the stems, creating a striking spectacle reminiscent of flying hummingbirds.
These showy flowers are enticing to hummingbirds and birds however might be invasive.

Crocosmia flowers aren’t simply standard amongst gardeners, however butterflies and birds too. Most well-known for attracting hummingbirds, members of this genus are nice selections for injecting life into your backyard. However, should you’re working in a small area, it’s possible you’ll wish to select your coppertips very fastidiously or keep away from these flowers altogether. 

Whereas not all crocosmia cultivars are problematic, there are a couple of that gardeners brief on area ought to keep away from. A number of varieties are identified to unfold quickly and rapidly turn into uncontrolled, conquering small areas very quickly. Crocosmia crocosmiiflora (Montbretia) is the primary wrongdoer to keep away from, however there are a couple of others to be careful for.

Tried and examined named crocosmia cultivars are far safer choices, particularly for compact varieties that work in a small backyard. Cardinal flowers (Lobelia cardinalis) are just a little taller however have comparable blooms that additionally appeal to pollinators.

Obedient Plant

The leaves of an obedient plant are lanceolate in shape and have a serrated edge. They are arranged in opposite pairs along erect stems. The stems themselves can grow to a height of 2 to 4 feet, creating a bushy and upright appearance. The leaves and stems are often covered in fine hairs, giving the plant a slightly fluffy texture. The flowers are tubular and have a characteristic two-lipped structure. They are purple and white.
Physostegia virginiana, or obedient plant, could also be named for its versatile stems, however it’s invasive.

Given its frequent title, it’s possible you’ll be shocked to search out Physostegia virginiana on this listing. Nevertheless, though the stems and flowers could also be ‘obedient’ in motion, this species’ progress behavior and unfold is something however.

Like mint, a detailed relative, obedient plant might take over any beds it’s planted in, smothering any crops that get in its manner. This plant needs to be averted in small areas until you usually dig up spreading rhizomes and deadhead earlier than the seeds can journey round your yard.

The ‘Miss Manners’ cultivar doesn’t trigger as a lot bother, making it a more sensible choice for small gardens. You may maintain the plant confined to a container, however you should nonetheless cease the seeds from spreading. For comparable flowers, attempt planting the annual snapdragon annually as a substitute.


Close-up of a blooming Bugleweed in a sunny garden. It is a low growing perennial herbaceous plant prized for its attractive foliage and clusters of small brightly colored flowers. The leaves are spear-shaped, dark green in color with a slight purple-bronze tint along the edges. The leaves have a slightly scalloped or serrated edge. The flowers rise on vertical spines above the foliage. The flowers are tubular and bilabiate. They are bright purple.
Ajuga reptans is a quick-spreading groundcover that turns into invasive in small gardens.

Ajuga reptans is a well-liked perennial groundcover usually used to fill empty areas and crowd out different weeds. But when it’s not managed, it could develop like a weed (therefore the title) and is said invasive in a number of states, together with Maryland and Oregon.

For giant gardens with a number of open area, the speedy unfold of bugleweed is a profit. However in small gardens, it should rapidly turn into a nightmare. Quite than coping with this plant when it inevitably will get out of hand, it’s greatest to keep away from planting it altogether.

Like periwinkle, wild blue phlox is a well-behaved different to bugleweed that will not have the identical spreading capabilities however received’t provide you with any bother in small areas.

Remaining Ideas

When rising in a small backyard, area is at a premium. Quite than filling it with these troublesome crops, select well mannered options that complement your panorama fairly than conquering it.

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