Choosing the right plant for your space can be a bit overwhelming. There are so many plants available it can be hard to figure out which one to buy. Consider these 5 questions when trying to make a decision and narrow down your choices:
1. What roll do you want the plant to play in your space?
When trying to decide on what plant to buy, knowing why you are buying the plant can really help narrow down your choices. Do you want the plant to:
- Come back year after year? (see question 2 for more info)
- Add some colour?
- Provide screening or privacy?
- Block wind?
- Provide shade?
- Provide food for yourself or wildlife?
There are numerous reasons to buy a plant. What's yours?
2. What is the Plant Hardiness Zone where you live?
Here in Southern Manitoba we are a Zone 3, so choose plants that are Zone 2 or 3 to ensure they survive our cold winters. Any plant that is Zone 4+ is considered an annual here and will have to be replaced every year.
3. How much space do you have for this plant to grow?
Knowing the mature size of a plant before you plant it, is very important. It may look small in your space now but it will grow and may be bigger than you think in just a couple years.
Consider the proximity to buildings, utilities, driveways and walkways when determining the desired mature size of your plant. Containing something by pruning is possible but not recommended (and it’s a lot of work).
4. How much sun does your space get?
All plants require light in different proportions. Observe the space where you'd like to plant for a couple days to determine how many hours of sunlight per day the space gets.
- Full sun plants require more than 6 hours of sun per day
- Part shade/sun plants require 3-6 hours of sun per day
- Shade plants require less than 3 hours of sun per day
5. How much water does your location receive?
Is it a wet area or a dry area? Each plant has specific water needs. Matching the plant to the amount of water the location naturally receives will ensure the plant stays healthy and might save you from having to add supplemental water.
When heading to a greenhouse or garden center to pick out a plant, you can bet that the staff there will ask you these questions so knowing the answers will help ensure you leave there with a plant that is perfect for your space.