Select and Grow

Step 3: Select Your Plants

Making the Right Choice: Selecting Plants

What gardener hasn’t planted an interesting plant only to find that it was entirely unsuitable later? There are five essential considerations when choosing plants for your landscape: Function, aesthetics, growing conditions, management, and environmental impact.

Photo of a shade garden.

Function in gardening means the reason for using a plant. 

The aesthetic qualities of a plant include its 

  • Growing habit – shape, height, width
  • Colors – blooms, foliage, stems, twigs
  • Texture – bark, seedheads, foliage
  • Guide for year-round color (Toni Moorehead)
Photo of a colorful flower bed.
Photo of blooming lily pads growing in water.

Growing conditions where the plant will be located are arguably the most important consideration.

The plant’s maintenance needs, and your willingness to perform upkeep, are also important.

  • Trimming, pruning, clipping
  • Debris clean-up
  • Pest and disease management
  • Fertilizer needs
  • Irrigation requirements
Photo of topiary shrubs.
Photo of xeriscape landscape.

Reducing environmental inputs such as water, fertilizer, and pesticides.

    • Water needs – low, moderate, or high
    • Pest or disease resistance, i.e., need for chemical treatments
    • Fertilizer needs and risk of soil and water contamination 

Learn More

Plants Facts are prepared by Denton County Master Gardeners to help you choose plants that grow well in North Texas.

 Plan a water-wise landscape with the Texas Urban Landscape Guide from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

Two websites from the Texas A&M Forest Service help you choose trees:  Trees of Texas and Texas Tree Planting Guide.

The Texas Superstar® Plants site includes plant choices that have been tested and proven to be great performers in Texas. 

Native Plant Society of Texas Trinity Forks Chapter Plant Lists

Native Plant Society of Texas NICE Plants of the Season.

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Texas-North Central Recommended plants lists commercially available native plant species suitable for North Central Texas.

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