Last Updated on October 8, 2022 by Real Men Sow
A bed that is too small to plant in is a common problem for gardeners. Perhaps it’s the narrow bed that runs along your fence or is wedged between your front door and garage. Perhaps you have a small lot and don’t want to block the view from the neighbor’s deck.
Can You Plant Tall Thin Plants In Small Spaces
Keep in mind that a smaller plant selection will result in a cleaner look. You don’t need to choose six different types of plants for a small space. Instead, pick one or two plants and then repeat the pattern along the length of your bed. This is a great way to make a big impact in a small space.
Tall Perennial Vines For Narrow Spaces
Clematis is Heidi’s favorite plant at Garden Crossings. They are beautiful every year and come in a wide variety of colors. Her collection of Clematis is one of the best you will find by mail order. Clematis, a twining vine, requires a trellis or chain link fence to climb. It will grow in a location about one foot from the base of the support. Your clematis can grow up to 4-12 feet tall depending on its cultivar and may produce single or multiple blooms throughout the summer.
Perennial in zones 4-9. Full sun to part shade.
Rose Sensation™ False Hydrangea Vine
Rose Sensation, unlike honeysuckle and clematis, is a vine-like ivy that clings to the ground. It doesn’t require a trellis. This vine is great for growing on the brick side of your garage or brick home, or on a cement wall over an old stump or tree. It can grow to heights of 40-50 feet if left to mature, but it can also be cut to keep it smaller. Midsummer brings out blush pink flowers that look like lacecap Hydrangeas. This vine is shade-loving and can bloom in as little as 4 hours.
Perennial in zones 5-9. Part shade.
This twining, large-growing vine is ideal for screening tall trellis or pergolas. It will reach heights of about 10-15 feet if it is allowed to settle. From spring through late summer, you’ll be able to enjoy the sweet scent of the soft yellow flowers as it flies by your nose.
Perennial in zones 4-9. Full sun.
Flowering Shrubs For Narrow Spaces
Illuminati Tower™ Mockorange
This mockorange is a shorter version of the flowering hedge. Illuminati Tower, which is taller than most varieties, measures in at 3-4 feet and 18 inches wide. It is the perfect size to be planted under a windowsill, or as a hedge with a picket fence. Its snow white double and notably fragrant blossoms will be a hit in the late spring or early summer.
Hardy in zones 4-7. Full sun to part shade.
Laced Up® Elderberry
This unusual elderberry will be included under flowering shrubs as it produces large clusters light pink flowers in the early summer. Laced Up is a unique and upright plant that stands out in a narrow space. It will eventually reach a height of 6-10 feet and then spread to a maximum height of 4 feet at its base. The striking, black-colored foliage looks great when paired with Purple Pillar roses of Sharon.
Hardy in zones 4-7. Full sun to part shade.
Purple Pillar® and White Pillar® Rose of Sharon
The Pillar roses of Sharon varieties are different from most others. They have a narrow and tall form that doesn’t require pruning. The plant can grow to a height of between 10-16 feet and will only be 2-3ft wide. They are perfect for narrow beds along the driveway, property line or house. You can also use them to create a colorful barrier between your neighbors and you, as they bloom from midsummer through fall.
Hardy in zones 5-9. Full sun.
Tall Evergreen Shrubs For Narrow Spaces
Castle Spire® Blue Holly
This type of holly is well-known for its use in wreaths and garlands around the holidays. This is the traditional holly, with its pointed leaves and bright red winterberries. You can use it to make arrangements all winter. Castle Spire, unlike most cultivars, is a pyramidal type that can grow 8-10 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide. It can be used to create a focal point for the landscape or as an evergreen screen. For pollination to take place, you will need to plant a Castle Wall(r), holly within 50 feet of Castle Spire.
Hardy in zones 5-9. Full sun to part shade.
Full Speed A Hedge™ ‘American Pillar’ Western Arborvitae
This improved western arborvitae is a fast-growing, extremely hardy and evergreen hedge. This evergreen hedge has a small footprint of 3-4 feet and can quickly reach heights of 20-30ft. The base of most evergreens this high is much wider than the average. Although this space-saving selection will not take up much space along a property line, it can block the view from the side. It can withstand temperatures as low as 40°F and maintains its winter color. It needs well-drained soil. This shrub is more resistant to deer than the common ‘Emerald Green.
Hardy in zones 3-8. Full sun to part shade.
Pinpoint® Blue False Cypress
The evergreen shrub, with its pillar-shaped blue leaves, acts as an exclamation point for the landscape. You can plant one as a focal point, or line them up along the property line to make a four-season screen. Although its small base of 4-5 feet won’t take up much ground space, it will grow to 15-20 feet in height over time. Its soft, feathery branches won’t scratch your skin when you brush them like other evergreens. Pinpoint blue is also deer-resistant.
Hardy in zones 5-7. Full sun to part shade.
Sky Box™ Japanese Holly
This Japanese holly is a great alternative to boxwood. It has the same evergreen look as boxwood, but it’s much smaller and can fit into a small space. This shrub can be shaped into a column that is 4-5 feet tall and 1-2 feet wide. This shrub can be trimmed into a spiral shape if you want to make a topiary. The shrub is small in size and retains its deep green leaves all year. The Japanese holly is a hardy plant that thrives in moist, acidic soils. However, it can also be grown in drier soils.
Hardy in zones 6-8. Full sun to part shade.
Soft Serve® Gold False Cypress
This golden evergreen has a shape similar to a soft-serve ice cream cone and brightens partially shaded areas. It can also tolerate full sun without burning. You can use it as a focal point for a small corner of your home or plant it as a group in a smaller garden bed to add winter interest. The soft, graceful, and elegant branches of this tree are beautiful when dusted with fresh snow. It will grow to 6-10 feet tall and 5-6 inches wide at its base. Soft Serve Gold, like Pinpoint Blue is also resistant to deer.
Hardy in zones 4-8. Full sun to part shade. Also available: Soft Serve® (green)
Stonehenge Skinny™ Yew
Because of their versatility, yews are a popular choice for landscapes. They can tolerate any type of soil and grow in any kind of light. Stonehenge Skinny is a compact, bottlebrush-shaped plant that can be grown in any climate. It measures 6-8 feet tall and has a base of 1 foot. This evergreen, dark green shrub can be placed along a fence or courtyard wall to form a pillar or as the focal point of a large shade container. This is one of the easiest plants to care for in your garden. This shrub is not recommended in gardens with deer.
Hardy in zones 5-7. Full sun to full shade.