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Choosing The Right Plants For Your Garden (Part 1): Will It Survive?



All plants have a preferred set of conditions that need to be met in order for them to flourish. Some plants thrive in shaded locations and others require more sunlight. One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is to choose to plant a sun-loving plant in a shady corner, or vice versa. If you choose plants that will thrive in the location you are going to place them, you will have a much easier time creating a garden that flourishes and that you are proud of. This comes down to planning. Knowing where you are going to put the plant before you buy it will go a long way towards ensuring success.


Reading a plant tag: How to get the information you need in order to have success…


I know it can be confusing when you come to the nursery and you see all these beautiful plants and you don’t know where to start. There are four major things to look for when you start reading the tags. Ask yourself… “What is the plant’s growing zone?” “What are the plant’s light requirements?” “What is the ultimate size of the plant when it is mature?” and “When does it bloom?”


Let’s get started…


Growing Zone

All of the plants that we grow here at Lakeside Garden Nursery are suitable for our local growing zone, but this is not the case in all the nurseries that you will visit. Here on Vancouver Island, we are located in either a 7 or 8 growing zone (depending on your location), so make sure that the plants you pick will survive in our growing zone. So, for example, if you are looking at a plant tag that says that it’s a zone 5-8 plant, and you live in a gardening zone 4, you know that that plant will not withstand winter temperatures as low as yours. However, if you live in a growing zone 7 and the tag says zone 5-8, you know that the plant will survive in your area. Knowing your gardening zone, and picking plants that will survive for your gardening zone will go a long way toward success.


Light Requirements

On the tag you will also find a scale of how much light the plant will need in order to perform at it’s best potential. On one end of the spectrum, a plant labeled as requiring “Sun” or “Full Sun” will need a minimum of 6-8 hours of direct sun in order to be healthy, bloom well and look nice and full and (not leggy) in the place that it is planted.


The term “Part Sun” means that it needs 3-6 hours of direct sun per day and that the plant can handle the more intense afternoon sun.


Plants labeled as “Part Shade”, also need 3-6 hours of sunlight, but they do not like the intense afternoon sun. They prefer the morning sun.


On the other end of the spectrum a tag might say “Shade” or “Full Shade”. Something in this category would need to be in a place that gets 3 hours of direct sun or less a day. Usually plants in this category do best in areas where if it does get sun it’s morning sun and not the hot afternoon sun because afternoon sun is a little bit too intense. They can also be placed under larger trees where they will only get filtered sun through the larger tree branches.


You can see why it’s important so to pay attention to how much sun your garden gets at different times of the day in order to help you pick the best plant for your spot.


More to Come...

Stay tuned - we are going to dive into the next two important pieces of information found on plant tags that you want to make sure to consider in our upcoming posts.