Common Mistakes When Selecting Planting

Usually planting mistakes are made due to not knowing enough about your chosen plant.

How your plant behaves as it grows to maturity as well as the eventual height and width at maturity need to be considered. How much light or shade it needs, does it need heat or humidity, does it tolerate wind and are you planting it into the correct type of soil?  All of this needs to be considered at the outset.

You can avoid most mistakes by not buying what you think looks really nice during your visit to the nursery or garden centre.  Instead, balance your activity towards planning your garden and only buy the plants that you know will suit the spaces that you have available.


The first rule of selecting plants

Important: Make your plan at home, following the guidelines set out here, and avoid making purchase decisions at the nursery or garden centre.

Do all your homework and know a little about the plants and how they will relate to your garden spaces before you buy them. You can make use of online plant databases for reference. You may also decide to get a good encyclopedia that covers your area and climatic zone and that details the plants you can use there.

It is also very useful to bring a plant encyclopedia with you to the garden centre or nursery. You’ll save yourself endless time and trouble by looking up plants according to the details that you have recorded during your site assessment. Most importantly, take your time and ensure that you are satisfied that your selections suit the spaces that you have available for them.

Always know the mature size and shape of your selected plants before you buy them. They should then be placed with their size at maturity taken firmly into consideration. If the spaces between your new plants look bare and unfinished you can use them to experiment with other design ideas using, for instance, flower seeds. You new scheme will mature in about three to five years so do be aware that any experimental planting you have undertaken will most like disappear underneath.

You scheme should not be placed too close to the house as this may restrict air circulation and prevent maintenance access. A good rule of thumb is to place plants at a distance from the house which slightly exceeds their height at maturity. This is especially true of large trees as it will help to protect your house in the unlikely event that they might fall over. Putting you planting too near the building is a simple beginners mistake that you can easily avoid.

You need to be very careful also when choosing your plants to be aware of your climatic zone. You need to know you planting zone and what will grow there.  No matter how perfectly a plant fits your design, if it is not suited to that particular zone it will not survive. You should not assume that all the plants available in your local nursery or garden centres are suitable for your planting zone. These days the tags attached to the plants at the nursery will generally give you the information that you need.  If the tag, for instance, lists the plant as tender then it will will most likely not survive winter frosts.

These tender plants incidentally are great for planting in pots, which can be placed outdoors during the summer and moved indoors at the onset of winter.