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"Location, Location, Location": What to Plant Where

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Picture of yellow alyssum in a retaining wall planting.

Picture of yellow alyssum in a retaining wall planting.

David Beaulieu

What do the plants in your landscaping need to grow properly? Well, giving them a good start certainly helps. And that means carefully matching the types of flowers and foliage plants you'll be growing with the location where they'll be growing. Light and soil requirements should always be considered before deciding what plants to buy for your yard. By consulting the plant lists (with descriptions and photos), accompanying landscape plans and other resources that I provide below, you can become a better "matchmaker" in your own yard!

Types of Flowers for Shady Spaces

Trying to grow the types of flowers that love the sun in shady spaces is a major faux pas for the landscaping matchmaker. Instead, before planting, find out which types of flowers and foliage plants will feel comfortable in those shady environs:

Types of Flowers for Sunny Spaces

"If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen!" As human beings, we have the ability to act on this oft-stated dictum. But your plants don't have that choice, since they're rooted in whatever space that you have chosen for them. Shade-loving types of flowers "can't take the heat," and they'll pay the price if you make the mistake of planting them in sunny spaces.

Before planting in sunny areas, find out which types of flowers can take full sun and tolerate drought conditions:

Types of Flowers for Salty Soils

Besides sunlight requirements, another consideration when choosing between types of flowers and foliage plants is the nature of the soil. For instance, if you live on the seacoast, your soil will be saltier than most. Most types of flowers disdain such soil. So you have to go out of your way to select salt-tolerant plants. Here's a resource providing some examples:

Salt-Tolerant Plants

Types of Flowers for Wet Soils

Many types of flowers are like you and me: they dislike having "wet feet." But other plants tolerate or even thrive in wet soils. Often, we can take our cue from nature, by observing what types of flowers naturally grow in wetland areas. Pair off these plants with the wet spaces in your yard, and you can enjoy a match made in heaven:

Types of Flowers Deer Don't Like

Of course, having success with your landscape plantings depends on more than just matching types of flowers with compatible spaces. Even if you've paid scrupulous attention to light and soil requirements in planning your landscape, you're by no means home free.

One of the many dangers posed to plantings that might otherwise be a "match made in heaven" comes from garden pests. Deer are the biggest pests. They can decimate a planting bed in no time! But you can outsmart your furry friends by growing types of flowers that are deer-resistant:

Beyond Types of Flowers: More Resources

Not sure if a plant you crave is hardy to your area? First, find out what planting zone you live in. Then search my site for the plant in question, either by common name or scientific name. Most all of my plant articles contain information about planting zones.

Perhaps you'd like to learn how to create your own landscape plans? Creating your own visual representations can help you organize your thoughts as you strive to match up spaces in your yard with types of flowers that are just right for them. The first link below takes you to a resource that discusses the traditional method for drawing plans (i.e., with pencil and paper). By following the second link, you can explore the hi-tech option -- landscaping software:

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