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Time it takes for shrubs to spread?

Hi folks If a shrub has an ultimate spread of say 2 meters, how long does it take to go from 'garden centre' size to anything approximating that size? I know there are probably a million factors but just roughly? Are we talking months or years? I'm trying to plan my shrub border for the front garden and picking out loads I like but curious to know how long things take to expand and start to fill in what will inevitably be a lot of bare space initially after planting? Thanks


  • Lou12Lou12 Posts: 1,149

    I think it very much depends on the shrub, my dwarf hebes took about 2 years but the daphne odora marginata will take about 5 years. It should say on the label how big and how long or on the internet.

    I'm planting up an evergreen shrub border at the moment and keeping all the plants the recommended final growth distance apart and filling in the gaps with annuals until they are mature.

    Unlike next door who bought a job lot of evergreen shrubs 6 years ago, planted them all about a foot apart and now has a horrible overgrown jungly mess.



  • Haha that's exactly what i'm trying to avoid!!

    So would you recommend planting at the ultimate spread? IE if you have three shrubs which say an ultimate spread of 2m each, plant 2m apart?

    Or is it ok do you think to come in a little bit on that? Obviously not to the extreme of your neighbours!!
  • Lou12Lou12 Posts: 1,149

    I would plant them at the final spread unless you plan to keep them small by pruning which you can do easily. I wouldn't personally prune architectural plants like fatsia because it's so easy to ruin them with a duff pruning but plants like pyracantha can be pruned to any shape you want.

  • Thanks Lou

    I'm trying to find the balance between maintenance and time to impact.

    I'd like as much instant impact as possible and don't mind spending a bit more time maintaining/pruning as the trade off.

    I think I'll plant a bit closer than ultimate spread and fill in any gaps as you say with annuals or maybe even some evergreen grasses
  • B3B3 Posts: 27,326
    The rhs website usually says approximately how long to full size
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • It depends on location and soil conditions I would have thought, I took 25-30% off garden CTR sizes for my borders as I would prune and trim them a bit to keep things tidy. It will look nicer in 3-4 years time to have shrubs neatly trimmed and merging together than twiggy shrubs you are hoping that will come together when they probably never will.

    I'm fairly new to gardening by the way




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