When it comes to selecting the right plant there are two things to consider – habit and condition. Habit refers to the size and shape of the plant as it grows to maturity. You will want to know how your plant will look as the years go by. Planting too close together is one problem, wastes time and money, but more serious issues are at stake.
As an example, for safety’s sake, you don’t want foundation plantings that will obstruct vision to the doors. Also, the roots of a shrub or tree that grows too large will crack the foundation and look awful if you don’t allow enough room for it to grow.
The height and width of the mature plant is important for low maintenance purposes, too. If you select a plant that needs constant pruning to keep it manageable, you are guaranteeing yourself more work than necessary.
Carefully inspecting your plants before you purchase is the other ‘right plant’ requirement. Be very choosy. It’s easier to maintain an initially healthy plant than trying to nurse one back to health.
The three most important things to look for are:
Plants that are too large for the pot will not have healthy roots.
Branches or trunk that are scraped or bent often will not survive, and of course if the leaves are falling off or are yellow, brown or discolored the health of the plant is in question.
In checking for pests, be sure to look at the underside of the foliage and the place where the leaves join the stems and where the stems meet the branches or trunk. These are the most likely spots for insects, mites, scale, rust or mildew to be hiding.
If you have purchased plants online, be sure the grower provides a guarantee so that you do not have to accept plants that are unhealthy from the start.