Important Considerations When Selecting Plants

As you start to plan out your new landscape project, selecting plants can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. There are so many plants to choose from. As you walk down the rows of plants at a garden center, it can be tough to know what plants will or will not work in your area that you plan on landscaping. How do you start narrowing the selection down? There are a few considerations that need to be made that can help in deciding what plants you can use. Sun exposure, size of the area to be planted, and moisture are a few starting points that can lead you in the right direction.

Sun and Shade Exposure

One of the most important things to consider is the amount of sun or shade that the potential landscape area will receive. There are many plants that love areas where they can get sun all day long, but there are also several that prefer a shadier spot. Some plants enjoy the sun in the morning, but need some shade in the afternoon. Take note of the amount of sun that the area is getting through different times of the day. Keep an eye on how existing trees, buildings, or other structures play a role in the sun exposure as well.

Plants That Fit the Space

The next thing I usually take into account is the amount of space there is to plant in. You don’t want to select plants that will grow too large for the area. But, selecting plants that are too small may make the bed seem very empty. Height and spread of the plant should be taken into consideration. Making sure plants don’t grow too far outside of their boundary can help limit having to cut them back from encroaching over the sidewalk, driveway or other areas where the planting is not desired. As you select your size of plants, using a variety of sizes can help create some depth and interest as well.

Moisture in the Ground

One more factor to consider when narrowing your selection down is the general moisture in the area you are planting. Knowing whether that area stays wet or gets very little water naturally can also limit what should be planted. Again, there are variety of plants that prefer different conditions. Some plants can stand to be planted in areas that stay very wet, while some prefer well drained conditions.

Selecting your plants doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as it may first seem if you use these factors to help narrow your selection. This will also help you in creating a landscape that will thrive and create interest for years to come. Utilize our PLANT FINDER tool to help you find some great options.  If selecting your plants and creating a design still seems to be too much for you, contacting a landscape designer to help with the process is another great way to get started with creating a great looking landscape.



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Rost, Inc. began in 1985 with a vision of creating stunning and unique landscapes for central Missouri. Founders Tim and Toby Rost began landscaping while attending the University of Missouri.