Selecting Garden & Landscape Plants (continued)

Right Place

The amount of sunlight and the type and condition of the soil are factors in your ‘right place’ plant selection process.  The amount of sunlight in a given location is called exposure.  You will want to check the exposure three times during the day to insure you have adequate light for your plant choice.  The sunlight and shade patterns are based on the ordinal compass points, North, South, East and West. 

Northern exposure receives little or no direct sunlight and shade plants are best for this location.

Southern exposure is a full sun, full day light source, unless obstructed by buildings or trees (remember the micro-climate).  Full day sun is generally ideal for flower and vegetable gardens.

Eastern exposure is cool morning sun and is part sun, part shade.  Often plants from lower zones can be planted in an eastern exposure that would take southern or western exposure in higher zones.

Western exposure
receives hot afternoon sun.  Plants that are heat tolerant and need full sun will thrive here.


Hand full of Soil

Soil condition is very important because of the plant’s root system.  The soil is where the plant receives the moisture, nutrients and stability it needs.  It is again the right plant in the right place.  Only certain plants will thrive in a clay soil.  Sandy soil is unsuitable for shrubs or trees that might blow over and damage your buildings.  Knowing your soil type is essential to your plant to survive and thrive.
The pH of the soil is important for plant health, too.   If the soil is too acid or too alkaline the plant will suffer.  This is, of course, not compatible with good gardening practice or low maintenance landscaping. 

You should have your soil tested.  This will give you a good picture of what kinds of plants you can grow in it. Your local cooperative extension office will direct you to a testing facility and instruct you on the collection of samples.

NEXT – Selecting Garden & Landscape Plants – Right Plant

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