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Proper Plant Spacing

To grow, thrive, look and perform their best, every plant needs it's space. From the smallest flower or herb, to giant sequoia trees, proper plant spacing is a vital issue. Left to nature, plants will choke each other out, competing for sunlight, moisture and nutrients. The survivors do not always emerge as healthy winners. Often, they carry the battle scars of the competition.  

Don't forget your house plants. They need their space, too. If you are growing more than one plant in a container, make sure the container is big enough to afford proper space between the plants..

Give 'Em the Right Space:

The ideal space requirements vary from plant to plant. Seed packets will almost always have proper spacing recommendations on the back of the seed packet. Most store-bought plants will include a tag with planting instructions. Look for, and follow, the proper spacing recommendations. Your plants will thank you.

Affect of Improper Spacing:

The most common plant spacing concern  is overcrowding. This results in:

  • The plants are visibly weakened, fighting neighbor plants for sun, food, and nutrients.

  • Tall, thin, spindly plants. They can be unsightly, and are susceptible to bending and breaking in the wind.

  • Smaller and fewer flower, vegetable and fruit production. In more serious cases, the stressed plant will not produce at all.

  • Increased likelihood of plant disease. Sunlight cannot reach the inner leaves, and there is a lack of air circulation. These are two conditions where plant disease thrives.

  • More work for you, as you spend time thinning plants.  

Spacing plants too far apart can have an unfavorable impact on some plants, too.

  • Many plants need each other for pollination. Corn often comes to mind here. If spaced to far apart, the ears will not properly form

  • If Arborvitaes or other plants grown as hedgerows are planted too far apart, undesired gaps can result.

  • Some plants need to grow close together to provide support to each other as they grow. Without a little crowding, the wind can bend and break them.

  • Some flowers just look better when grown together in mass plantings or groups, and look out of place if grown singly.


Related Topics

Thinning Seedlings and Plants


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