Plant Spacing Calculator – How Many Plants Do I Need? [Trees & Flowers]



When planning an ideal garden, plants must be appropriately spaced and properly laid-out to allow for proper nutrient distribution and plant growth. To do this effectively, you might have a few questions like:

  • How many plants do I need?
  • How much space is available?
  • What is my intended coverage?

A plant spacing calculator can help you determine the ideal number of plants for a grid, based on the type of spacing you choose (rectangular vs. triangular). This would help you avoid errors that may arise from trying to guess the right dimensions.

How Many Plants Do I Need?

For productive gardening, it’s essential to determine the right number of plants to fill the provided area. Proper plant spacing allows plants to develop properly and prevents the invasion of weeds. It also allows for adequate aeration between plants to prevent the spread of diseases. Hence, to create an effective plant spacing chart to fill the provided area, you must first determine the ideal number of plants needed per square foot.

A plant per square foot calculator can help you determine the correct number of plants required per area and square footage.

  • For a square bed, multiply the length of the bed by its width to determine how many plants per square foot.
  • For a circular planting bed, you can calculate how many plants per square foot is ideal by multiplying 3.14 by the distance from the center to the edge of the bed.
  • For a triangular bed, multiply the height of the triangle by .5 times the base measurement.

Common Flower Spacing

Planting flowers in a cluster is a common mistake many planters make. This is very unhealthy for each plant’s growth as they would receive less air and become prone to diseases. To accurately determine the flower spacing for annual bedding flowers, there must be an estimate of how many flowers are in a flat for a square grid.

To find this number, multiply the rows of the bed by the columns. For triangular beds, divide the length by row spacing to find the number of rows (x), then multiply the number of rows (Y) by the number of columns.

For groundcover plants, a groundcover spacing calculator would be suitable to calculate the proper spacing amongst plans as they require different spacing from typical plants.

Common Tree Spacing

Use the mature canopy spread to determine tree spacing. An average of 6 to 20 feet for smaller trees is enough spacing, while between 50 to 60 feet apart is ideal for larger trees.

To find the ideal number of trees to be planted per acre, you can use a tree planting calculator. To do this manually, multiply the distance between the trees by the number of tree rows to determine the square feet of space for each tree in the provided area.

For example, trees spaced 10 feet apart multiplied by rows spaced 15 feet apart which gives 150 ft2 as the square feet for each tree. The number of square feet in the acre should then be divided by the square feet for each tree, i.e., 43,560 divided by 150 ft2 which equals 290 trees per acre.

Plant Spacing Formula

The plant spacing formula used depends on the pattern of planting adopted; whether rectangular or square. For a square bed, the distance between rows (Y) is equivalent to the spacing between plants planted within rows (X). For triangular beds, the spacing between the rows (Y) is 0.866 multiplied by the distance of the plants within and between rows (X).

To find the spacing required between plants in each bed, the distance between plants within the rows is multiplied by the distance between the rows, or X multiplied by Y. To find the total number for plants needed to cover an area, multiply the total square footage of the area by 144 and divide by the number of square inches required by each plant.

Plant Spacing for Different Sized Plants

The expected width of each plant at maturity determines the proper spacing for plants in a bed. So, a tree which is expected to grow 20 feet wide should be planted 20 feet from a tree with the same width.

When planting by a tree whose estimated width at maturity is larger, the spacing required is the sum of half the width of the smaller plant and half the width of the largest plant. So, if the same 20 feet wide tree is planted by a 40-foot wide tree, the proper spacing required would be 30 feet, 10 feet from the radius of the 20-foot tree and 20 feet for the larger tree.

A plant quantity calculator can help you to determine the ideal number of plants needed in a square or triangular bed.

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The content on this site reflects my own opinions and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of my employer or Kubota Tractor Corporation.


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