Getting New Plants? Consider These Tips

Spring fever hits and when you look around your garden, you decide it’s sorely lacking. What do you do? Take your garden dreams and your pocketbook over to your local nursery, of course. But before you fall in love with and adopt a new plant, there are some things to consider first. Have you seen this plant in yards around where you live? Just because the nursery carries it doesn’t mean it’s ideally suited for your climate. The easiest way to check is to look around. If you’ve seen it thriving around town, it might be a good fit for your yard too. If the plant has passed the first test, the next should be whether the plant is a perennial or annual. Perennials stay put and annuals only last a year (or season). If you live in a warm climate year round, some annuals might last over the winter and into another year. Otherwise, consider the life cycle of the plant along with your needs and desires. Assuming we’re dealing with perennials, it’s time to consider the size of the plant. Not its size now, but how big it will eventually get. Just as you don’t expect a puppy to remain small, you can’t expect a shrub to stay the same size either. Read the label as it will tell you how tall and how wide it should grow to. Don’t ignore this or it will cause you problems later. If you put it in an area too small, you’ll be continuously pruning it or you’ll have to dig it up and move it to another spot. Save your back and believe what the label says. Another important thing to pick up from the label is the amount of sunshine the plant needs. If it calls for full sun and the area you intend to plant it is partially sunny, you may be okay. But if it calls for full sun and all you’ve got is shade, the plant won’t be happy. In fact, it will look rather sad, if it makes it at all. Do you want your plant to have flowers? If so, what color should they be? Will this match your color scheme for your yard? When do you want it to flower? While this probably isn’t a deal-breaker for you, it’s nice to have your garden flowering at different times to make the beauty last. Is it invasive? Some have the ability to grow from tiny little things to monsters that take over your garden. Be sure to check that out. Anyone who has planted mint knows what I’m talking about. When you consider purchasing a new plant please think about how the one lone plant of this type will actually look in your yard. The plant’s shape, foliage and flowers will have a bigger impact if you plant 3 of them in the same area. This is the rule of 3s and can make your garden pop rather than look random. Take these new plant buying guidelines with you the next time you look at your garden and decide it’s time to visit your local nursery. You’ll be glad you did.


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