Buying plants Gardening Planning and Design

How To Choose Plants For Gardens? 10 Steps

Choose the right plants for your gardens in 10 easy steps. Find out which plants will thrive in your environment and how to care for them.

By Snehal Sonawane 

There are plenty of things to consider before choosing plants for a garden

From deciding what sort of plants to grow to picking the right space for them. From creating a palette of colors to finding the right backdrop to display your beautiful plants. And a plethora of other factors.

Read on to find out the 10 easy steps to follow for choosing the right plants for your garden.

Step 1: Consider the Environment Where You Will Be Growing Your Plants

The environment where your plants are expected to thrive should be one that they are comfortable in. 

Pick plants that are suited to your climate. For instance, you can easily grow heat-tolerant plants in tropical climates. Bamboo, succulents, orchids and palm trees are great options.

For a cold environment, ferns, hostas and daylilies are great options. These are hardy and can withstand harsh winds better than most.

Step 2: Choose Plants That Appear Free from Defects and Diseases

Couple choosing plants at a nursery with the help of an employee.
:Carefully inspect plants before you buy them. Photo: SimpleFoto, depositphotos

When choosing plants at the nursery, make sure that the ones you buy are free from all visible defects and diseases. 

Keep a few tips in mind when buying plants: 

  • Check the leaves for brown spots or discoloration.
  • The bark or stem should not be soft in places.
  • Check for splits along the stem or branches.
  • Avoid tall plants with sparse foliage. Instead opt for shorter, sturdier ones with bushy foliage.
  • Curling leaves can also be a sign that not all is well with the plant.

A healthy plant looks … perky! Lead with that!

Step 3: Estimate the Eventual Size of Plants

The plants you take home today to plant in your home garden will become larger plants—even full-fledged trees in some cases—someday.

Make sure that you are planting these plants in places that will give them ample space to grow. Whether under the ground through their root system. Or above the ground in terms of their height and width.

Step 4: Consider How Much Sun and Shade the Plants Will Receive

The place where you will be planting should receive the ideal combo of sun and shade in order for that plant to grow properly. 

Different plants have different requirements when it comes to sunlight. So, check whether the plants you have chosen are ideal for the sort of sunlight your space receives. 

If not, either you will have to choose different plants or modify the space and sunlight settings in a way that is beneficial for your plants.

Step 5: Find Out What Sort of Soil Suits the Plants You Have in Mind

Soil analysis laboratory
Laboratory performing soil analysis test. Photo: Alandmanson, Wikimedia Commons

Did you ever stop to think that the soil in your garden might be too acidic or too alkaline for the sort of plants that you want to grow?

Fret not. You can get your soil’s pH levels checked easily by having a soil analysis done. You can also use home testing kits, although their results are not too precise.

Once you know whether your soil is lacking in something, you can get supplements from stores to fill that gap. Balanced soil means happy plants.

Step 6: Make Place for Native Plants

Although you might have already chosen the sort of plants you want to grow in your garden, maybe you can find a few spots for some plants native to the region?

Native plants ensure almost all year-round greenery in your garden. Also, they don’t require a lot of maintenance. Also, research shows that they are a boon for the local wildlife. This is because they are the ideal source of food and habitat for birds and butterflies.

Step 7: Stage Your Plants

Back yard with decorative walls and gardens.
Gardens don’t need oodles of flowers when they’re well staged. Photo: volokhatiuk, depositphotos

Your garden walls and fences are a canvas and the plants are your color palette. You can choose to create a riot of colors with seasonal flowers. Or you can create pops of colors on a backdrop of shades of green.

The aesthetics are also a part of your garden vision, so make sure your plants complement the space they are in.

Outdoor decor, if any, should be in neutral colors so that your chosen plants can shine all the way through.

You can also use a vertical garden to create a stunning showpiece. For such spaces, choose hanging plants and ferns for a charming fairy-tale-like look.

Step 8: Add Depth and Texture

Your garden will seem pretty flat if all the plants are of the same height and are visually similar. You’ll have to mix it up a bit to create an interesting look.

When choosing plants, remember to use these few tips for best results: 

  • Get a mix of tall and short plants,
  • Look for plants with leaves of different textures and thickness,
  • Plants with leaves of different colors are ideal for creating depth,
  • Consider getting plants with different-shaped leaves,

Step 9: Think About Compatibility with Neighboring Plants

The plants that you have chosen are perfect as they are. But are they the perfect neighbor as well?

When choosing plants, make sure that these are plants that you can plant next to each other. Not all plants grow well together. They might end up stunting the growth of their neighbor or even invading them. Ask your nursery staff for advice on this subject.

If you’ve chosen plants that are incompatible, make sure to plant them far apart from each other. 

Step 10: Consider Ease of Care

Hands trimming a hedge with a hedge trimmer.
If you don’t want to spend massive amounts of time pruning, you should avoid putting in a clipped hedge. Photo: rozaivn, depositphotos

Now that you have worked so hard at choosing the right plants for your garden, make some time to ensure ease of care.

Keep a few points in mind: 

  • Is it necessary to prune the plant at regular intervals?
  • What sort of fertilizer would it need?
  • How often would it need said fertilizer?
  • Would it be easy to replant once it outgrows its space or pot?
  • Will it have to be treated with pesticides regularly?

Choosing the right plants is essential for maximizing their usage. And for ensuring healthy growth all through the year. 


Now that you know what you need to do when choosing the right plants for your garden, go ahead and shop up a storm of plants and seedlings.

About the Author

Snehal Sonawane is a passionate writer specializing in home gardening, lifestyle, home decor, and travel-related content. When he isn’t writing, he is traveling around the world exploring various cultures and cuisines or reading and learning about organic gardening.

Sources: 

3 comments on “How To Choose Plants For Gardens? 10 Steps

  1. Pingback: Guide to planting summer flowers | Para Space : Para Space

  2. I’d be interested in knowing where/ how in Canada you can easily, and cost effectively, get a soil analysis

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