Success depends on choosing a plant that matches your garden’s environment, such as sun or shade exposure, wet or dry locations and exposure to foot traffic or windy conditions. Selected plants should tolerate existing conditions and should be hardy to the appropriate climate zone.
First step is to check the hardiness zone to determine if a plant is appropriate for your garden. The USDA has a climate zone map to help you choose winter-hardy plants. Know your zone. Remember that you can always grow plants that are hardy in the climates with lower numbers than yours, but higher numbers are sure death come winter. For example, if you live in Zone 8, you can grow anything from Zone 8 on down – though you may need to provide shelter from hot summer rays if you’re growing a lower hardiness zone plant in a Western, inland garden. Plants with hardiness zone numbers higher than your region are not adapted for your area. However, many gardeners know these plants can provide a vibrant shot of seasonal and container color, and can even often be overwintered.
Each kind of plant has its own preference for variations of sunlight or shade, too. This information is included on the InfolLabel Exposure describes the time of day in which sun contacts the plant. This exposure can change throughout the day, so you may want to check the area three times: morning, noon and evening to understand its overall exposure. These are general guidelines for planting each of the four exposures:
- Northern exposure rarely receives direct sunlight and is ideal for shade-loving plants.
- Southern exposure receives sun all day long and is the most ideal exposure for flowering plants.
- Eastern exposure experiences morning sun while temperatures are still cool and damp.
- Western exposure receives the hot afternoon sun – a spot ideal for full sun, and heat resistant plants.
Use our plant database to search for the right plant for your sun exposure. For Northern exposure, search for shade plants; for Western and Southern exposures, search for full sun; and partial sun for Eastern exposure.
When choosing fruit at the supermarket, you inspect it for bruises and rotting. When you buy plants, be equally as choosy, because full, healthy plants make your garden look its best. Look closely at each plant; pick it up to inspect its stem or trunk, branches, foliage, pot and soil. The Three Most Important Inspection Points: Select a well-proportioned plant. The size of the plant and the container should be balanced. Avoid very large plants in small containers because these usually have unhealthy roots. Select one with the most perfect shape. This is particularly true of symmetrical evergreens and topiary shrubs that depend on their geometric perfection. Select a plant with healthy foliage. Healthy plants bear brightly colored leaves. Avoid any that are losing leaves, or with many turning yellow, brown or an unusually contrasting color.
The Best We Can Be
We grow plants to standards best suited to the specific plant variety. They are sold only at the peak of perfection, with each meeting our strict guidelines for height, fullness and ideal proportions. Combined with equal attention to health and vigor, our plants are ready to grow beautifully in your landscape.