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.
Function in gardening means the reason for using a plant.
- Screening or privacy
- Attracting pollinators or wildlife
- Solving a problem: e.g., soil erosion, drainage issue
- Children’s play area
- Improving the energy efficiency of your home
The aesthetic qualities of a plant include its
- Growing habit – shape, height, width
- Colors – blooms, foliage, stems, twigs
- Texture – bark, seedheads, foliage
Growing conditions where the plant will be located are arguably the most important consideration.
- Sun exposure throughout the day
- Soil type and condition
- Access to water
- Cold and heat ranges and averages
- Drainage issues
- Space – vertical and horizontal (especially if overhead power lines are a factor)
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
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
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.
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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