plants getting bigger than labeled

Camano Island, WA(Zone 8a)

Here in the PNW, we have a special challenge of plants getting bigger than they are "supposed to." You know; the label says 18"-24" and the plant ends up 30". Then you have to move it because now it's totally in the wrong place.

I'd love to see pics or reports of your plants that have done this.

My first is actually a cheat, sort of. The label said 6 feet. It grew almost 9 feet, up over the side of the garage. The cheat part comes in because I looked it up after it grew so high, and other sources say it can get 6-10 feet tall. My label just left off the upper range.

I'll find other plants that have actually gone beyond their correctly labeled upper height, and share.
Here is Thalictrum delavayi 'Anne'.

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Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

#1 Caryopteris 'Blue Balloon' Real: 3'x3'. Label:2.5'x2'
#2 Cistus hybrid Real: 4.5'x6' pruned. Label:3.5'x3.5'
#3 Hebe pinguifolia 'Sutherland' Real: 28"x5.5'. Label:16"x3'.
#4 Viburnum "Blue Muffin" Real: 11' and growing fast. Label:5-7'x6'
#5 Lithodora "White Star" Real: 24"x6'. Label:6"x24".

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Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

#6: Kniphofia 'Pineapple Popsicle' Real: 30". Label 24"
#7 Solidago 'Fireworks Real almost 6' Label 3'
#8 Paeonia lutea 7'x8' still growing. Label 5'x3'
#9 Digiplexis 'Illumination Flame' Real 4' Label 2'
#10 no photo Calluna vulgaris 'Dark Beauty' Real 3'x3' pruned. Label 1'x2'

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Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

#11 Knautia 'thunder and Lightnig' Real 2'x2.5' Label 15"x15"
#12, #13 Geranium 'Rozanne' Real 7' across, 7' up into shrub! Label 20"x2'
#14 Geranium xMagnificum Real 3'x7' Label 2'x2'
#15 Geranium xMagnificum "Rosemoor' Real 2'x3' label 18"x18"

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Seattle, WA

It cracks me up that there were INSTANTLY so many replies. Perhaps the growers are just trying to build our egos! I'll just add that this whole thing gets even more dire in the case of trees. I've read that they almost ALL grow substantially taller in time, and we all know how twenty years can go by in a flash. I'm with you, Mom. I cry , "Foul !"

Camano Island, WA(Zone 8a)

Hi velveteena! "Foul" indeed!! It is hysterical about these monster plants!! (Of course, my tomatoes are the opposite - puny and green, sigh.) Do you have any plants that went a little nuts?

I will take a pic of our Acer griseum that was billed as "slow-growing" and 20-30 feet tall. We have had it a few years and I'm starting to get nervous that I planted it too near the house....

Seattle, WA

Mom, just as when you are packing your bags for Hawaii while standing in a freezing room in the PNW, it is SO hard to visualize the reality of what is coming your way. Puny plants that you buy small to save a few bucks will soon catch up to their elders. Esp. anywhere near the foundation. Worst offender on my personal list is the mugho pine. I think the growers want us to believe they will always be petite and cute out on the patio or in a small garden. The truth is, once they get a toehold, watch out! A full sized tree is right around the corner in a few years. It will grow up and out with seemingly endless bounds.

Camano Island, WA(Zone 8a)

I think what happens with those mugho pines is that people plant them, and then they move somewhere else before they see what will happen. They keep the idea of that cute little plant in their minds and go repeat the process the next place they live.

Here's the paperbark maple. I really like this tree. And to think, it only got planted because its predecessor got flattened when a new roof was being installed. I can't remember what the original tree was, but it was not as nice as this paperbark maple.

You are 100% correct about the difficulty estimating distances. For me there is also a laziness factor. It really killed me to dig the garden out as far as I did for the maple. What a pain in the neck! I hate digging out sod. I am really glad we persevered, but think we could've gone a little farther.

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Camano Island, WA(Zone 8a)

Phlox 'David' is billed at 36", 40", or 48" in DG and White Flower Farm. Mine is 74".

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Springfield, OR(Zone 8a)

Nice paperbark moml, it is going to be gorgeous for a long time. It looks so happy.

SwEEt house too!

Mlm, any chance you'd like to share any of your geraniums? All your plants look so healthy; there's a reason I listen to what you have to sat. :~)

Grants Pass, OR(Zone 8a)

My 30" to 36" zinnia's are breaking the 5 ft. mark and still growing. I'll try to get pics tomorrow.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Pacific Giant Delphinium.

The Botanical Interests packet said 3 to 6 feet tall. Yeah, right. Maybe they meant the foliage gets 5-6 feet tall before the flower spikes start shooting for the Moon. I would estimate the flower spikes went up to 6-8 feet tall, and I don't cut back all but a few "to make them bigger".

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Grants Pass, OR(Zone 8a)

Very impressive Delphinium!

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

I keep meaning to try delphs, I will keep this in mind! Love that blue.

Springfield, OR(Zone 8a)

Wow RC!

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Thanks very much. Slugs ate the first 3-4 trays of seedlings I tried to harden off over the years. I think those were "bad slug years" but they sure mowed every seedling off at ground level overnight. This was my only survivor plant that made it past 6". Then it lasted for around 3 years as a GIANT ... then nothing came up the next year.

Now I try to get seedlings larger before putting outside, sprinkle fast-acting bait, deploy beer saucers, and still expect to lose 80-90% of seedlings. Once the plants are 6" tall, the damge is much less. Once it is 12" tall, slugs seem to leave it alone. ??

I hear many people say that delphs won't grow for them at all. I think it must be climate, because my thumb isn't green unless I'm spray-painting without gloves.

The spot where i grew it was pretty clayey, though amended. It was also fairly shallow soil over a wet spot (high water table 8 months per year, then fairly dry in the summer.

I don't think seed collecting could ever be easier. The husks held the seeds in place long after they were mature and dry ... you could shake the plant and hear them rattle. Then I bent the spikes over a big cardboard box and just poured the seeds out. The only cleaning was to blow a little chaff away.

But that was some years ago and I don't know how long delphinium seed lasts, and I did give most of it away. There would have been little genetic variety: all the seeds (and I think all the pollen) came from just one plant.

Springfield, OR(Zone 8a)

Uhhh, WRONG: "my thumb isn't green unless I'm spraypainting...". I've seen other pics RC!

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Think of me as a serial murderer. I don't post photos of my failures. It's just that sometimes I get lucky! Those are the pics I post.

For example, I think it was two years of drowning delphinium seeds by over-watering peaty seed-start mixes. Let's say 100-200 dead seeds from rotting, root drowning and damping-off.

Then I started getting seedlings to emerge and killed more by leaving them in cells too long. The rest of them (one or two trays per year) proudly became big enough to pot up and/or harden off outdoors. 100% morality from slugs. Two years of that, say 300+ dead.

Finally I got about 5 plants into a raised bed and one of those outlasted the Great Slug Army. Maybe only 100 Delphiniums (Delphinia?) died that year.

So one gorgeous plant out of 500-600. I think that 0.2% survival is worse than occurs in Nature, and I was trying hard NOT to kill them!

I'll try again with saved seeds after deploying every anti-slug measure I've learned.

Seattle, WA

Mom Lady, what is the plant in your first post? It looks like it should be a vine.....Also, where did you get your paperbark maple. I have been admiring them in various botanical gardens. How old are they now?

Springfield, OR(Zone 8a)

I swear by copper, RC. I have I had a single slug in my raised beds or pots where I've wrapped copper around the legs or perimeter. Everywhere else...different story. I don't use the skinny copper self stick tape; I use copper deck flashing, cut in two. If I have to use the tape I do at least two rounds with a small space between - I found you need width about equal to the length of an adult slug.

When I set out trays I put them on a table and wrap the legs of the table.

Or maybe you've already tried that one too. :~(

Camano Island, WA(Zone 8a)

Rick, I feel your pain. I have killed oodles of seed starts, too. However, I, too, have seen some wonderful successes that you have posted.
13T, I will have to try the flashing. It sounds very effective. I just removed some slug-bait hostas and planted different ones that are supposed to be more slug resistant. We'll see. If it's true I'll post the info.
velveteena, it's Thalictrum delavayi. It's kind of twisty because it hit the eaves on the garage and bent sideways so it could keep on growing! We got the paperbark maple at Cloud Mountain Nursery. It's website is and it's up near us. They don't mail those maples so you'd have to come up on a road trip to get one...if you do, give me a holler and maybe we can meet for coffee or whatever.

Grants Pass, OR(Zone 8a)

Copper flashing is what many producers of "Escargo" use to keep the snails contained. It appears to stop their travels completely.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> I use copper deck flashing, cut in two. If I have to use the tape I do at least two rounds with a small space between - I found you need width about equal to the length of an adult slug.

I believe you! I’ll see if I can find the YouTube videos where nerdy slug-sadists used 9-Volt batteries to create slug barriers. Those slugs try to arch around the hot wires. Yup! Googling this brought up many videos:
“youtube slug barrier 9V”

My SO gave me some narrow copper tape one year, but I don’t have anything with legs skinny enough to use it on. That does sound like a good idea: create a “no-crawl zone” and put my seedling trays up there. (And scatter bait around the base of the table, too!

Hmmm ... “flashing” ... that sounds very thick! Or maybe not ... Lowes advertises some copper flashing “3 oz copper with a kraft paper backer”. If I’m right, “3 ounce copper” would be 4-5 mils thick, which sounds like plenty to me. I wouldn’t think it would dissolve away after being taped or stapled in place.

Wouldn’t thin foil, like 1-5 mil thick, (5 mil = 36 gauge), work too?

If this source is right about how thick “flashing” is, that’s more than 4 times thicker than “3 ounce” or “5 mill” copper.

22 Mil = (.0216" thick) = 24 gauge
16 Ounce Copper: 16 ounce copper sheeting is a heavy weight copper often referred to as "roofing copper" or "roofing flashing."
“It weighs approximately 1 pound per square foot. ... very durable. Metals snips are needed to cut this thickness”

Say, has anyone tried aluminum foil as a slug-deterrent?

Grants Pass, OR(Zone 8a)

I don't know anyone that has tried aluminum foil or sheeting. I'm pretty sure any metal foil or wires that were electrified even a little would work.

I just did a little research... It seems that the copper creates a small static electric charge to the slug through it's slime trail which is very conductive. Aluminum foil will also work but is not quite as high of a conductor as copper.

Springfield, OR(Zone 8a)

I'm sure thinner copper would work just fine; flashing is just what I found. You do need to make sure that the bottom edge is sealed down, or I guess the middle.m you don't want them getting underneath. Toddler slugs you know, tiny things.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Good point, 13Turtles!

I was puzzled that tall collars made from plastic soda bottles with tops & bottoms cut off aren't effective. Those suckers can burrow under soil, it seems!

Springfield, OR(Zone 8a)

Oh yes, they certainly can.

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