Choosing the Best Plants for Your Garden

by Rachel Rae

Before investing your hard earned money into garden plants, it’s important to first consider the conditions that plant will be growing in. Is your garden sunny or shady? Is the soil sandy or clay like? Are there any other unique conditions these plants will be facing in your garden?

But wait! Test your soil first, to determine the pH level of your soil and what kind of nutrients you need to add, if any. Is the soil acid or alkaline? Most plants prefer soil that is slightly acidic, but there are some that must have soil to grow. You can alter the soil’s pH level, but it’s much easier to simply plant for the soil you have.

Now you are ready to plant. Well – almost. Will you plant in groups or singly? If you buy ‘one of everything’ your garden may seem rather spotty. Group plantings are organized, harmonious and you can vary the color for interest.

Before planting out, place your chosen plants around the garden bed in their pots to see how they will look. Re-arrange them until you are satisfied. Grouping plants in sets of threes or fives usually looks better than planting in groups of even numbers. Be sure that you have an interesting combination of colors and textures of plants. Tall plants should go to the back, or the center if your garden will be viewed equally from all sides. Try to keep your plants away from trees. The roots of trees are fiercely competitive and will steal all the nutrients and moisture meant for your flowers.

Another factor to consider when choosing plants is their bloom season. You want to have some going both in early spring, summer and fall so there is something interesting happening at all times. Many times people choose some that do a wonderful show at the same time, then there is nothing else the rest of the thus creating a somewhat barren looking area.

The right colors is another way to get harmony and balance in your garden. Consider the color of the flowers when they are in bloom. Some colors may clash with others, but can still be planted near by if they have a different blooming season. Leaf color is also something to keep in mind. Many plants have silver, grey or purple foliage that is just as desirable if not more so as the flower itself.

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