Purchasing plants can sometimes be a scary investment. It’s so disappointing to spend money on a plant you really love only to have it wilt, turn brown, get eaten by insects, or otherwise kick the bucket! Sometimes, no matter what we try to do, a plant just isn’t going to survive in the place where we planted it. This is why it is so important to choose the right plant for the right place. Every plant has a place that is right for it but not every place is right for every plant. Before you go shopping, here are a few things to take note of in your space where you want to plant so that you can choose the right plant for your place.
Watch your space and note how many hours of sunlight it gets during the day. If it gets six or more hours of direct sunlight in a day, it’s considered a full sun site. If it gets some sunlight during the day but it is less than six hours or is dappled sunlight, say through the leaves of trees, this is a part sun or part shade spot. If the space stays in the shade all day, it is a full shade spot.
To find the moisture of your soil, you’ll want to look at it a few different times. You’ll probably need a little shovel to scoop away any plants or mulch on the soil surface and dig around in the top 4-6 inches of the soil when you do this. To determine the soil moisture, we’re looking for how much water the soil holds when it rains and how long it stays there after it rains. Right after a rainstorm, take your shovel or trowel outside and check out the soil. Is rain puddling in that area or has it all soaked into the soil? If you squeeze some of the soil, does water drip out of your hand like a very wet sponge or does it act more like a sponge that has already squeezed the water out? Go back out 24 hours after it’s rained and ask yourself the same questions. If water is puddling or squeezing out like a wet sponge, you have poorly draining, very moist soil. If the soil still feels moist but does not have puddles and feels like a wrung out sponge, you have well-draining, normal soil. Go back outside after 3 or 4 days of no rain or watering. How moist is your soil now? You may have to dig down to 6 inches to find more moist soil. If you are struggling to find any moisture, you have dry soil.
Measure your space and make sure you know how big of a plant you can purchase. Don’t forget to measure height if you have power lines, the eave of your home, or other obstructions overhead that would limit how tall your plant could grow.
With these simple notes in mind, you will be much better prepared to choose the right plant for the right place when you go shopping! The plant labels will help you match up your site with the plant that will work for you. If you happen to purchase a plant on a whim without knowing your space, you can always work backwards from your plant label to choose the best place in your yard to plant it so that your money won’t go to waste!