Spreading of plants is not always wanted in your garden. Sometimes there are simple solutions for this.
Plants can spread or reproduce in different ways. One way is reproduction with seeds. The seeds are produced and then spread and new plants will grow from the seed. Another way is with creeping rootstalks (rhizomes) and also the combination of the two. There are of course more ways in which a plant reproduces but that is not the topic I want to discuss here. The spreading of plants is not always welcome. Especially if the spreading happens in large quantities and spontaneously. In this article I want to discuss containing rhizomes.
A familiar plant that spreads vigorously with rhizomes is bamboo. Not all bamboo varieties spread aggressively but the ones that do are the reason why some people do not dare to put bamboo in their garden. It is a pity if you do not dare to place a beautiful plant in your garden because you are afraid that it will spread too strongly. Plants that feel at home in your garden will grow strongly and healthily and they will spread. There are more than enough plants that are very beautiful but that does not mean that you want a whole garden full of them.
I do not want too many bare spots in my garden because weeds will grow there. I do not want one plant to push the surrounding plants away either. Gardening to me is very relaxing and enjoyable but if I can make my life easier then I will do that. Many times I have cut away parts of a plant because it was spreading too much. To avoid doing the same work over and over again I thought it was better to find a solution for this.
Rhizomes usually do not grow very deep into the ground. The positive side of this is that your countermeasures can also be quite superficial. With a lawn edge you can accomplish a lot. There are lawn edges available in black or green plastic for example. You hardly notice those between your plants and they are easy to shape and place in your garden. I put a plastic lawn edge around a spreading plant so that the rhizomes stay within the edge. For most plants that spread with rhizomes this is an adequate solution.
Some rhizomes are pretty strong and they can push the plastic edge away. Choose a rim that is suitable for your plant and to your wishes. Do not forget to let the edge stick out above the ground or else the rhizomes will grow over it.
An edge instead of a pot or container
It is better to place an edge around your plant than to place the plant in a pot or container and dig that into the ground. With just an edge the roots can grow deeper into the ground to find water and food. After heavy rain the water can more easily sink into the ground with just an edge around the plant. This means less maintenance for you.
If you place a spreading plant in a pot or container and you dig that into the ground you run the risk of the soil drying out on warm dry days or the plant drowning after heavy rain. During warm and dry days you will have to water the plant more often and stay watchful. By making holes in the pot or container the water can leave. If you make the holes on the side of the pot or container instead of in the bottom you create a small reservoir for some water.
The conclusion is that you save yourself a lot of work if your place a rim around a plant with vigorously growing rhizomes and it is also good for the environment because you can be economical with water.
Also read Saving water in summer for more tips on how to save water.