how to select plants

Before investing your hard-earned money in beautifying your garden, it’s wise to first invest your time researching the best plants suitable in your case. After all, these plants will be the soul of your garden. This guide on “How to select plants for your garden” will assist you in making the right decision for your garden.

Selecting the plants will depend upon a number of factors:

  • The size of your garden.
  • The pH of the soil in your garden.
  • The texture and consistency of your soil.
  • The look you want to achieve.
  • The amount of time and effort you’re willing to give for the maintenance of your plants.
  • Hardiness.

A handful of quick tips regarding the above factors:

  • To know your soil’s pH, instead of guessing it by looking at the plants already thriving there, simply buy a pH meter for soil.
  • Most plants prefer neutral soil, although some (e.g., Rhododendrons, etc) would rather have only acidic soil, and others (e.g., Clematis etc) like alkaline soil better. Some plants (e.g., Hydrangeas) even deliver different colors of flower petals depending on the pH.
  • The level of nutrition and drainage depends on the texture and consistency of the soil. After analyzing your soil, make the necessary changes, if needed, like adding compost, etc. (insert INTERNAL LINK to our compost blog).
  • Talking about maintenance and efforts, some plants, (e.g., Rose) need regular maintenance. Others (e.g., Echinacea) will self-seed, and you might have to pull out the extra and unwanted plants that’ll pop up where you don’t want them to. If you’re looking for easy to grow, low-maintenance plants, consider Barberry, Peony, Juniper, Dianthus, Hydrangea, etc.
  • Make sure your plants are hardy enough to survive winters.

Here we’ve simplified your task of choosing plants for your garden:

GARDEN SIZE MATTERS.

Simply measure the size of your plot, decide where you want to place any furniture, garden border or any other landscaping feature (insert a link to our landscaping blog) and deduce how much room you actually have to plant. Make sure your plants get their own little space so the roots can spread out and absorb the nutrients and water easily. And the leaves need space too, so they receive ample sunlight to “cook” their food. Otherwise, overcrowding of plants will make them stunted and less healthy.

How to select plants – HOW TO CHOOSE EVER-GREEN PLANTS?

Evergreen plants are important because they maintain their leaves, hence also the colour and texture of your garden, throughout the year. They offer beauty, privacy, accents, screening and variety by providing different hues to your garden- ranging from deep emerald green to light golden-green. Most garden borders and hedges comprise of evergreen plants to stay in consistent shape and look through the four seasons.

You can choose from the two varieties of evergreen plants or get both of these, namely (1) the narrowleaf evergreens, which have needle-like leaves, e.g., Juniper; and (2) the broadleaf ones, comprising the rest of the evergreens. Below are few suggestions:

  • Barberry: Broadleaf and beautiful.
  • Boxwood: Unique smell, deep green color, can be given any shape easily.
  • Juniper: Comes in a tonne of variety!
  • Holly: Beautiful, sharp leaves with red berries, hence gives that holiday feel. If you want the berries, get both the male and female plants or make sure your neighboring garden has the “opposite” plant 😉
  • Spruce: Comes both in dwarf and tall variety.
  • Pine: Grows slowly so doesn’t overcrowd the surroundings fast.
  • Rhododendrons: Low maintenance, beautiful flowers.

How to select plants – FLOWERING PLANTS:

A garden without flowers is like The Titanic without Jack 😀 – Incomplete and lacklustre. These blooming beauties will eventually attract the bees and birds for pollination and add life and colour to your garden.

Few factors must be considered before planting these plants, like the amount of sunlight exposure that particular flowering plant needs to survive- Full shade, partial shade, light shade, full sun or partial sun. And the amount of water needed. Ideally, watering your flowering plants towards the root (and not the leaves) before sunrise and after sunset works best. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Azalea: A variety of the Rhododendron mentioned above in the evergreen plants section, it loves shade.
  • Hydrangea: Stunning flowers! You can go for multiple colors and hues of petals. They only have a part-time love affair with the sun.
  • Camellia: Rosey flowers, lovely fragrance. Bloom in early spring or around the holiday season
  • Lilac: Sun-loving, lovely scent.
  • Forsythia: Gorgeous yellow. Also has dwarf variety.

How to select plants – BEST AVAILABLE DECIDIOUS PLANT SELECTION:

  • Pink Flowering almond: Quick growing, pretty.
  • Lilac: We’ve talked about this beauty above in the flowering plants section.
  • Rose: Classic beauty, sun-loving.
  • Hibiscus syriacus: Blooms in late summer. Perfect to fill the gap since, at that time of the year, most of the plants are already finished blooming.

How to select plants – PERENNIAL PLANTS:

These live longer as they can stay dormant for long periods of time before reblooming, i.e., their top parts die every winter but they grow back from their roots in the upcoming spring or summer. E.g., Strawberry, basil, potato.

Choosing perennial plants depends on similar factors we’ve discussed previously.

All perennials don’t bloom at the same time or for the same duration of time. You can choose perennials that bloom at different times of the year so that you may enjoy their beauty in succession by filling the gap.

Some perennials may need support to grow, like that from a sturdy branch in your garden, or from a wooden or metallic stake etc.

Inspect your perennials before buying. Examine to make sure the leaves are healthy and not discolored or damaged by caterpillars etc. Check the root and soil. The soil should smell nice, wet, and musty; not like sewer gas as the latter could indicate a rotten root.

Check out these 14 perennials that can survive harsh winters.

CHOOSING NATIVE VERSUS FOREIGN PLANTS:

You may choose native, foreign or non-native or a mix the two types of plants for your garden, keeping in my mind the pros and cons of both. Foreign plants are used to provide variety, a certain cultural touch, and aesthetical value. Although some foreign plant species can become quite invasive and damage the native habitat, most of the times they’re harmless.

HOW TO SELECT THE RIGHT TYPE OF PLANTS FOR THE RIGHT SEASON?

Strategically plant to get visual delight from your garden throughout the year.

Plants that bloom in winter

  • Pansies and violas
  • Snowdrops
  • Winter Jasmine
  • Winterberry
  • Winter Aconite
  • Witch Hazel
  • English Primrose
  • Camellia
  • Glory of the snow
  • Pussy Willow
  • Mahonia

Plants that give stunning Colors in the fall

  • Viburnum
  • Oakleaf Hydrangea
  • Spicebush
  • Highbush Blueberry

d) Plants that bloom in the summer:

  • Hydrangea
  • Iris
  • Clematis
  • Lilac

CHOOSE THE RIGHT SIZE OF PLANTS AND TREES FOR YOUR GARDEN:

When buying plants, don’t just consider their current size. Think about their size when they’re in the ground in your garden and fully grown. Your garden should have enough room to accommodate the fully matured size of the plants.

FINAL THOUGHTS: We hope that this guide will help you choose the right plants for your garden and has already clarified the process in your mind. It is time to apply the knowledge to practice and watch your space transform into the luscious garden of your dreams. Do share this with family and friends. Happy gardening! 😊

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