An overgrown garden
(Image credit: scaliger)

If you are a successful gardener you’ve undoubtedly had the issue of plants that have grown to large for a space. They either need to go entirely or the size needs to be reduced. The best way to curtail their size is by dividing plants, but that's not always possible. So what then? Of course there’s always composting plants you have no use for, but have you ever heard of “passalong plants?” Read on to learn what to do with overgrown or unwanted plants. 

How to Keep Plants from Growing too Big

Most gardeners actually want their plants to grow big, but there is too much of a good thing on occasion. This is where dividing plants comes into play. Many perennials can be easily divided in the very early winter just after the ground thaws enough to work in, but before the plant is leafing out. 

Once you have your divisions you need to know what to do with them. Maybe you have garden space earmarked for the divided plants. But if not, what can you do with them? Composting plants is one way of ridding the gardener of unwanted plants, but if you just can’t bear to see them go, you need another solution. 

Plant Swap and Passalong Plants 

Passalong plant is a Southern term that means sharing plants with friends, neighbors and other interested parties. It simply means that someone has shared a plant with you whether due to division, seed saving, cuttings or because they have no place for the plant. 

An extension of passalong plants is the plant swap. The plant swap can be anything from an informal swapping amongst friends and relatives to a large scale community plant swap to an online forum dedicated to those who love plants. 

Online plant swaps often have more exotic or rare finds for the truly passionate plant collector, but even swapping with your neighbor may yield a lesser known heirloom varietal. Both can offer the gardener not only free to low cost plants but the opportunity to share information with others while disposing of unwanted or unneeded house or garden plants in an environmentally friendly manner. 

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.