How to choose plants for your garden and landscape design? It’s the first and foremost question from beginner gardeners when starting a garden because proper plant selection is essential in the successful front yard or backyard gardening and landscape design. In this article, we’ll give you a plant selection guide for landscape design, i.e., choosing plants for landscaping, front yard garden plants, vegetable garden plants, flower garden plants.
How to choose plants for your garden
There are main two plant selection criteria for landscaping i.e. soil and environment you should consider while choosing plants for landscaping. By selecting good plants for your garden you can optimize the requirement of irrigation water and added fertilizer, resistance to important pests and diseases, and improve productivity.
1. Pick plants based on soil
Soil is one of the main mediums of growing plants. Soil is a natural source of water and nutrients. Soil preparation is an important factor in successful gardening and landscape design. All sorts of plants do not grow well in all types of soil. For example, corn grows well in well-drained heavy soils with high organic matter content and good water holding capacity; whereas, groundnuts grow well in sandy or sandy-loam soil. However, since the soils of the USA are formed by the processes of weathering and natural erosion, all types of crops grow here, more or less. Most of the soils of the USA are compact, heavy, high organic matter, nutrient-enriched and cultivable.
Soil means the substance where plants grow, forests develop, and livestock move. To a gardener, the soil is that part of the earth that can be plowed or cultivated for plants. In light of the gardeners’ knowledge, 15 to 18 cm deep layer of the earth’s surface is called soil. Therefore, soil properties suitable for growing plants remain in this very layer.
Earlier it is said that more or less all types of crops grow in the soil of the USA. But the soil properties of all the regions are not the same. So it is seen that corn grows well in some areas, whereas wheat, potato, and soybeans grow well in other areas.
Soil properties suitable for various garden plants are given below:
|Plants||Suitable soil properties|
|Potatoes||Potato plants grow well in loams, sandy loams, sandy clay loams, and silt loams soil with good water holding capacity and well drainage capacity. It prefers slightly acidic soils; pH of 5.3 to 6.0|
|Tomatoes||Tomato plants grow well in fertile loam and sandy loam soil that receive full sun for most of the day with well drainage capacity. It prefers slightly acidic soils with a pH of 6.2 to 6.8.|
|Onions||Onions grow well in sandy loams to heavy clay soil with good water holding properties well drainage capacity. It prefers slightly acidic soils with; pH of 5.5-6.5.|
|Pulses||Pulses grow well in the loamy, sandy loam, clay loam, and silty loam soils with well-drainage capacity (pulses cannot withstand excessive water). It prefers neutral or alkaline calcareous, pH of 7.0-8.0.|
|Begonias||Begonias grow well in heavy clay soil with well drainage capacity (can’t tolerate water-logging condition). It prefers slightly acidic soils with; pH of 5.2 – 6.0.|
|Dahlias||Dahlias grow well in loose and crumbly sandy clay loam or clay loam soil with water holding capacity, good drainage, and partial to full sun. It prefers slightly acidic soils, pH of 6.5-7.0.|
|Carnations||Carnations grow well in sandy, loamy and heavy clay soil with well-drainage capacity and a full sunny place. It prefers fertile and slightly alkaline soils, pH of 6.7-8.0.|
2. Choose plants based on location and environment
Before choosing plants for your garden you should check USDA Zones and their environment.
|USDA Zones||Temperature||Best plants to grow|
|1-2||−60 °F to −40 °F||Vegetables: Vine tomatoes, lettuce, kale, broccoli, asparagus, eggplant. |
Flowers and trees: Netleaf willow, Pennsylvania cinquefoil, Lapland rhododendron, Dwarf birch, Crowberry, Quaking aspen, Paper birch, Bunchberry dogwood, Silverberry, Eastern larch, Bush cinquefoil, American cranberry bush.
|3-4||−40 °F to −20 °F||Vegetables: Vine tomatoes, lettuce, kale, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, strawberries, eggplant, sweet peas, pole beans, winter squash, red and white potatoes. |
Flowers and trees: Foxglove, Sugar maple, American arborvitae, Wood fern, Panicle hydrangea, Smooth hydrangea, Chinese juniper, Common juniper, Vanhouffe spirea, Siberian crabapple, Crabapple tree, Goldenrod.
|5-6||−20 °F to +0 °F||Vegetables: Tomatoes, corn, squash, melons, beans, strawberries, lettuce. |
Flowers and other plants: Flowering dogwood, Japanese maple, Japanese yew, Delphinium, Common boxwood, Slender deutzia, Coralbells, Boston ivy, American holly, Sycamore tree, Weeping willow.
|7-8||+0 °F to +20 °F||Vegetables: Corn, tomatoes, melons, squash, collard greens, carrots, bush beans, asparagus, and leafy greens. |
Flowers and other plants: Bigleaf maple, Strawberry tree, Yucca, Atlas cedar, Mexican orange, Bleeding heart, Hibiscus, English holly, New Zealand daisy-bush, Magnolia tree, Japanese pittosporum, Texas rock rose, Cherry-laurel, Kurume azalea, Texas mountain laurel, English yew, Laurustinus.
|9-10||+20 °F to +40 °F||Vegetables: Tomatoes, melons, squash, corn, peppers, yams, citrus, peaches, figs, bananas, salad greens, and sweet peas. |
Flowers and other plants: Asparagus fern, Bougainvillea, Dahlia, Golden shower, Tasmanian blue gum, Ensete, Fuchsia, Lemon eucalyptus, Silk-oak, Rubber plant, Sweetshade tree, Violet churcu, California pepper tree, Royal palm, Australian bush cherry, Palmetto palm tree.
|11-13||+40 °F to +60 °F||Vegetables: Kale, okinawa spinach, pole beans, passionfruit, sweet potato, red potato, cassava, pineapple, pumpkin, mango, papaya, Thai chili peppers, citrus, bananas, taro. |
Flowers and other plants: Lime, Sago palm, Grevillea