Right Plants in the Right Place: A Beginner’s Guide

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Right Plants in the Right Place: A Beginner’s Guide

In a couple of months, winter will finally loosen its grip on the land and plants will slowly spring up from the ground. Of course, before you get a fully blooming landscape, you’d have to do the hard work of rejuvenating your garden by planting new species.

However, one of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to gardening is choosing plants on a whim. You might see a plant with gorgeous flowers or one that smells good and think, “I want that in my garden!” But it’s not that easy. Keep in mind that there’s a science to gardening and haphazardly planting plants can lead to them not getting enough sun or getting too much and being too big or too small for the French planters in your gardens.

Right Plants, Right Place

Choosing Garden Plants

Think of your yard as a blank canvas that can soon contain a masterpiece. All you need to do is put the right elements in their proper place. In the art of landscape design, this concept is called “Right Plants, Right Place.”

The idea behind this is that when you choose plants that are suited to the location where you’ll be planting them, they will flourish better, have a healthy root system, and simply become healthier plants. According to the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment, ignoring the concept of Right Plant, Right Place may lead to the death of the plant.

With that, the university’s Landscape, Nursery & Urban Forestry Program recommends the following site conditions to consider when selecting plants for your garden:

  • light availability, intensity, and duration (full sun to deep shade)

Look into how much sun different areas of your garden receive. Some areas might be receiving 6+ hours of sunlight, some 4 to 6 hours, while others receive less than 4 hours. Placing plants in areas suited to the amount of sun they should receive is the most basic way of making them thrive.

  • availability of water

One way to arrange your plants is by using their watering requirements. Grouping plants with similar watering needs is called xeriscaping and it’s an easy way to conserve water, make irrigation simpler, and make your yard eco-friendly.

  • exposure to extreme wind and temperature

A lot of plants tolerate regular temperature fluctuations, like how the days are hotter than nights. But excessively low or high temperatures can inhibit your plants’ growth and result in plant stress and damaged foliage.

  • hardiness zone

The U.S. Department of Agriculture created a hardiness zone map, based on the average annual winter temperature of different areas in the country. After looking up your area on the map, you can research plants that thrive best in the hardiness zone you belong in.

These may all seem like a lot to consider and you will definitely need to do research, but think of the results you’ll get: a beautiful, low-maintenance garden with healthy, thriving plants. The cost will be worth all the benefits you will get from a well-maintained garden.

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