How to choose the right plant for the right place

Gardening can seem difficult and daunting but a lot of the worry can be removed by simply choosing the right plant for the right place.

Plants that are well suited to their site will perform best with a lot less additional effort, will establish quickly and have a healthy root system.

A happy plant equals a healthy plant. Plants grown in their ideal growing location are less likely to be affected by pests and diseases. Your plant is more likely to recover quickly and continue to grow and flower.

The key to successful planting is to understand the environment you are working with in your garden or chosen spot.

Project Steps:

  • Step 1: Environmental
  • Step 2: Aesthetic
  • Step 3: Lifestyle

STEP 1: Environmental Considerations

LIGHT – How much direct sunlight does the spot receive? 6+ hours is considered full sun. 4 – 6 hours is considered part sun / part shade. Less than 4 hours of sun is considered shade.

SOIL – Does the soil tend to be wet, dry or normal? Is your soil sand, clay or loam? If you have a spot that tends to be wet, don’t put a plant that prefers to be in a dry spot.

TEMPERATURE – Are you in the northern tropics or the temperate south? Remember there can also be microclimate pockets within your garden as well. A microclimate is an area that is different from the general conditions of your area.

WIND – Are you located in an apartment building? Or are parts of your garden very exposed to the elements?

SALT – Is your garden or garden bed located near the ocean where it will receive salt water spray? If so, choose plants that tolerate coastal conditions.

WATER NEEDS – Different plants require different amounts of water so pay careful attention to the label and any additional information nursery staff give you. If the label or nursery says drought tolerant, this is an ideal plant for any area beyond the reach of your hose.

DIMENSIONS AND HABIT – It is important to remember that all plants grow; even the small, spindly twig could eventually turn into a large tree.

STEP 2: Aesthetic Considerations

Plants add colour, texture, perfume and shape to your garden. Here are some things which you might like to consider:

  • Growth habit i.e. pyramidal, columnar, spreading, etc.
  • Season and colour of bloom
  • Foliage colour, texture, and shape
  • Benefits to wildlife i.e. bird attracting
  • Autumn colour
  • Longevity i.e. annual, perennial

STEP 3: Lifestyle Considerations

Don’t forget your lifestyle plays an integral role in choosing the right plant – how do you plan on using the space? How much time will you spend in the garden?

Remember, plants are living entities. If you want them to grow well and thrive in your garden, they need to be taken care of correctly.