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Growing Tall Perennials in your garden

Category: 'Dear Ruth' Column, Flower Gardens, Garden Planning, Plant Ideas & Info, Presenting "The Curious Gardener"

Really tall plants are show stoppers in the garden, providing a single grace note against a contrasting background or softening a hardscape element behind it. The last time I visited the Beatrix Farrand Garden at Bellefield in Hyde Park, I took pictures of some impressive tall perennials, such as plume poppy, that grow in front of the walls inside the garden.  English walled gardens are famous for using tall plants as a backdrop in this way.

Thalictrum rochebruneanum in Dorian’s garden

In my garden I watched my Thalictrum rochebruneanum, or meadow rue, grow like Jack and the Beanstack. The two plants eventually reached about 9 feet before they flowered, and they require no staking.  Horticulturist Ruth Clausen tells me this is taller than is typical of this plant, and it’s taller than I want in that location.  I’m going to move them in the fall to a location where the delicate spires and spray of pink flowers will be set against the dark woods behind them.

To view and download a list of Ruth’s favorite tall perennials click here.  Anything shorter than 4-5′ didn’t make the cut!

Macleaya cordata, or plume poppy, grows in front of a wall inside the walled garden at Bellefield in Hyde Park, NY.
Rheum palmatum var. tanguticum or Turkish rhubarb grows 6-9′ tall.


6 thoughts on “Growing Tall Perennials in your garden

  1. Anne Osborn says:

    Plume Poppy is really badly behaved. It spreads like crazy, stains,with orange sap, and leaps walls by seed. I am sorry I planted any (two plants).

  2. Susan Lichtenstein says:

    Is Turkish rhubarb shade loving?

  3. Nicola Nelson says:

    Our sunflowers routinely grow 6-8 ft. high. Some we plant and some are wild. Love that they bloom in August, when everything else is pretty parched.

  4. Fawn A Palmer says:

    Compass Plant, Silphium lanceanatum, is a North American prairie native, grows up to 10ft. tall, lives to around 75 yrs., and has deep roots to survive drought.

  5. I really liked this article. Not the same old thing that I usually see. Very

  6. Growing tall perennials in your garden can be a great way to add color and interest, as well as create a natural backdrop for other plants. Tall perennials are an excellent choice for gardens with limited space, as they can provide height and texture to the garden without taking up too much room. Tall perennials like phlox, hollyhock, and daisies can provide a splash of color and texture to otherwise drab areas of your garden. Additionally, some tall perennials are known for their fragrance, like lavender, which can add a pleasant aroma to your outdoor space.

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