Tuesday, May 14, 2013

5 Tips for Choosing Your Summer Plants

Finally, it is time to get out in the garden and get our hands dirty!  I have been dreaming of this all winter.  So, with that being said, what should we be looking for when choosing our summer bedding plants.  Here are a few tips to consider when just starting out:

1.  Time - If you don't have a lot of time to look after your plants, be sure to select varieties that are draught tolerant, for example.  When doing container planting choose soil that retains moisture and helps cut down on the times you need to water. 

2.  Location, location, location - Not just for real estate!  Be sure to know whether your location of choice for your plants is full sun, some sun, some shade or full shade.  Knowing this will help you select plants that will thrive in the right conditions.  Be sure to read the plastic insert that comes with the plants before making that purchase.  (but please put the insert back with the plant).

Not for container gardening. This Joe Pye Weed grows about 10' tall.

3. Healthy Plants - Always be sure to check plants and select those that are green, pest and disease free.  They should have strong sturdy and self-supporting stocks.  If you see plants that have a significant amount of yellowing leaves and/or have leaves that have been obviously munched on, move on. Some yellowing of the lower leaves could just mean inadequate watering. Of course, if the flowers are spent and the plant itself is fine, simply deadhead.  That plant is fine.

4. Colour - While not as significant as our first three, you definitely want to think about your colour scheme.  Yes, you need to have a scheme.  While variety is nice, too much colour without a focus will result in the eye being confused.  You know the saying...too much of a good thing...Instead pick one or maybe two colours to focus on.  For example, my colour this year is red.  My front hanging baskets, pots at the front door and my window boxes are made up of red geraniums and a variegated trailing plant.  Simple yes, but they will be stunning once established. The volume of red will be gorgeous.  For my back yard, I will add one more colour.  In a bigger space with much more competition amongst trees and shrubs, I can add another element.
My freshly planted front boxes.  

5.  Don't buy on your first visit - Despite being super excited to get out in the garden, I have already been to three different nurseries three times each.  The first time at each I did not make a purchase. I wanted to get a feel for what each had and what colours were really calling to me.  Not all nurseries will have the same exact colours.  I also wanted to get what really excites me.  Buying on your first visit might result in you spending more in the long run.  Take your time and find what is right for you.

Naturally there are more ideas when buying bedding plants, but these are a few good ones to get you started. Any you would add?