Gardening is difficult when the selection, location and care is wrong. Plants get too much sun or too little. They get too much water or too little. They get besieged by bugs or disease. A plant can sometimes be too big or too small for the spot it’s occupying. They could succumb to dogs or children running wild. You can make your gardening life a easier by choosing the right plants. This is often referred to as ‘right plant, right place’.
The whole concept behind right plant, right place is that if you choose plants that are well-suited to the location they are planted at, they will perform well with limited additional input. Plants that are well suited to their site will establish quickly and will have a healthy root system. These plants will be much better equipped to withstand problems than those struggling with the environment.
Healthy plants growing in ideal conditions will be less likely to become diseased. The same way we are less likely to catch a cold if we are well-rested. These plants are also less likely to be adversely affected by insect damage. If a few insects munch on healthy plants, the plants are likely to shrug off the damage and will keep flowering. If unhealthy plants are munched on by insects, the plants have less energy to deal with the invading pest and get more adversely affected.
So how do you make right plant, right place work for you? First you must evaluate your local climatic conditions. Think about what plants grow in your area naturally. While it is good to consider native plants, you don’t need to limit yourself to them. Once you have considered this, it is time to consider the actual spot for them. It’s important to select plants that match your growing conditions.
This means putting sun-loving plants in a sunny spot, choosing heat-tolerant plants in warm climates, and giving ground-gobbling vines like pumpkins and melons ample elbow room (or a trellis to climb). Pick varieties that will grow well where you live, and in the space you have. When growing veggies and herbs, start with vigorous young plants instead of trying to grow from seed.
Here is a tip to help you choose healthy plants. They have firm leaves, well-formed flowers and fruits, and well-developed root systems. Unhealthy plants show damage to leaves, stems, roots, flowers or fruit. The bottom line is that for plants to live and grow, they need four basic elements: air, water, nutrients, and sunlight. Provide all of these right and enjoy a healthy garden!The author is a landscape designer, architect and founder of Sunshine’s Nest & Gardens