Choosing Plants for a Thriving Garden
Selecting healthy plants that suit the overall environment of your garden is vital to creating a satisfying and long-lasting outdoor area.
Buying plants for your garden will make it a much nicer place to enjoy. Plants are worth the initial cost as well as the investment of time it takes to nurture and care for them. Regardless of whether you are buying many plants or only one, you want to make sure they are right for you and that you buy healthy specimens.
To understand the way a plant has evolved is to understand how to care for it in your garden. A plant’s leaves are a great indicator of the conditions they like. Leathery, tough leaves can take harsher environments better then soft and tender ones. If you’re in a salt-air area, choose plants such as rhaphiolepis, coprosma and escallonia. As a rule of thumb, plants with large, tender leaves like more water and shadier positions. By contrast, smaller leaves naturally lose less water so are better suited to sunny, dry locations.
Rainforests are a great example of how the large-leaf plants like lots of water and shade whereas a walk through the bush will be filled with drought-tolerant, small-leaf plants. Selecting plants suited to their conditions will ensure a healthy and successful garden, so do some research about the environment your plants need and replicate those conditions.
There’s more to it than getting the right plant in the right spot because many plants can be doomed from the day they are planted and you need to check them in the following ways to bring the best specimens into the garden. Appearance is everything, so check that the foliage looks healthy and is free from blemishes. The colour of the foliage should be true to form and lush, showing the plant has sufficient nutrients for healthy growth. A good shape is also important. The branches and stems should have good form that doesn’t crisscross in a mess.
A few pests living in the foliage is acceptable but an infestation is not, so pass on plants with lots of aphids or scale. If you bring as plant with a pest problem into the garden it will be struggling from the start and could also affect all your other plants. Check the roots are not bound in the pot. Remove the plant and the soil should not fall away like it has just been potted, nor should it be a mass of roots. Try not to touch the soil as the nursery won’t appreciate its stock being handled, but it is important to have a good root structure for healthy growth.
Source – Charlie Albone, co-host of Selling Houses Australia on the Lifestyle channel and owner of Inspired Interiors