Compact Plant Options

Let’s take a closer look at compact plant options! The saying that dynamite comes in small packages is so true when we look at dwarf varieties of old garden favourites:  

  • Their growth forms are neat, compact and dense;
  • their foliage is intensely colourful or lushly textured;
  • their flowers are abundant and, in some cases bigger than those of the older members in the genus; and
  • they are less prone to disease and mostly more heat and drought tolerant, adapting well to our climate.

Philodendron ‘Xanadu’

We love the tropical leaves, but the large old tree philodendrons will turn any small home into a tree house. Plant instead: Philodendron ‘Xanadu’

  • Excellent for pots indoors or in shade outside.
  • Serrated, glossy leaves with red veins.
  • 1m x 1,5m.

Aloe ‘Hedgehog’

If you adore the winter colour of fiery aloes but fear that most aloe species will be too robust for your, plant Aloe ‘Hedgehog’ instead.

  • Short-stemmed, clump-forming aloe with stylish greyish-green thorny leaves and an abundance of nectar-rich, orange flowers.
  • A repeat bloomer which is cold-, but not frost-hardy.
  • 25cm x 35cm.

Escallonia leavis ‘Pink Elle Dwarf’

You may need a flowering hedge like Escallonia ‘Iveyi‘ which will not take up much space. Plant instead: Escallonia leavis ‘Pink Elle Dwarf’

  • Compact habit with lush, dark green, shiny leaves.
  • Abundance of upright clusters of bright pink flower heads fading to soft pink with age.
  • Great for single specimen pots as well.
  • 1m x 1m.

Trachelospermum asiaticum ‘Summer Sunset’

If you want to plant a creeper in a pot which is not too robust, try Trachelospermum asiaticum ‘Summer Sunset’

  • Marbled leaves in hues of orange, red, green, and white on a slow growing creeper of a more modest size.
  • Terminal clusters of fragrant, creamy-white flowers in summer.
  • Great for sun or light shade and cold hardy.
  • 2m x 1,5m (variable).

Nandina domestica ‘Obsession’

Nandinas (Heavenly bamboos) are lovely in pots and apparently bring one good luck, but they get that woody look. Plant instead: Nandina domestica ‘Obsession’

  • Produces young foliage in an intense fiery red turning to deep green and it happens all the time.
  • Naturally bushy and compact.
  • 70cm x 60cm.

Coprosma ‘Tequila Sunrise’

Many of our Grandmothers had huge coprosmas with polished, variegated leaves and nothing ever pestered them. A more compact variety with equally great foliage is Coprosma ‘Tequila Sunrise’

  • Summer foliage is rich orange with golden yellow tints slowly deepening to a rich sunset orange.
  • Winter foliage intensify to a deep reddish burgundy.
  • Size 1m x 1m.

Read More: Click here to find out more about growing Coprosmas

Cordyline ‘Electric Pink’

If you have always had a weakness for a cordyline to get that tropical, strappy look without it reaching for the heavens, plant Cordyline ‘Electric Pink’.

  • The designer-look in a pot with splashes of vivid pink shades on the strappy leaves, on a naturally multi-stemmed plant.
  • Light shade or full sun if not too harsh.
  • 1m x 1m.

Blechnum ‘Silver Lady’

You might be envious of gardeners who have tree ferns with huge fronds, in their shade garden. If your space or shade is limited, plant Blechnum ‘Silver Lady’ instead.

  • Dwarf tree fern with a symmetrical rosette of bright green fronds.
  • Fast growing in shade or good light indoors.
  • Loves water and humidity.
  • Tender to cold and frost.
  • 90cm x 90cm.

Read More: Click here to find out more about Blechnum ferns

The Gardener