Putting Down Roots: Plants Need Compatible Site, Room to Grow

— Written By and last updated by Diane Lynch
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Q:  How do I go about selecting plants for my landscape?

 A:        Many often ask what would be the perfect plant to add to their landscape. Unfortunately it is not a simple answer of one particular plant that would work great. There are many factors involved with whether a plant is successful in the landscape or not.

The first step in selecting a plant for the landscape is to evaluate the site where you want to plant. Does the site receive full sun or shade? Does the site have well-drained soil or does it tend to stay wet for while after a significant rainfall? How much space is available for a plant? Do you want flower color at certain times of the year? What cold hardiness zone are you in? (Wayne County is in an 8A cold hardiness zone)

Evaluating the area where you want a plant and considering what type of plant you think would best suit the area will help give you an idea of plants to look for. It is very important to consider how much space is available for the plant. Probably one of the biggest mistakes made when purchasing plants for a landscape is not thinking into the future and seeing what the mature size of the plant will be one day. Many purchase plants when they are small and it appears that it will fit perfectly in a chosen spot. We all know those plants will grow and often the plant soon outgrows the site in a few years. Be sure to consider the mature size of a plant and determine whether it will fit in a site before purchasing the plant.

Now that you have in mind what type of site you have, you have to do some research on different types of plants that might work in the area. There are many resources available for learning about plants including the gardening websites, books, magazines, and TV shows. One internet resource through the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service is plant fact sheets on the urban horticulture website. The website address is: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu. At the top of the website you can select from different groups of plants. Once you have selected a group of plants, you can then view information on individual plants by clicking on the common name or scientific name. Another good resource is to ask neighbors and friends what plants work well in their landscape. It is also beneficial to spend time looking around at the garden centers, to see what plants they have available and read the plant tags to learn more about the plant.

The important thing to do when selecting plants for your landscape is to not rush out and buy the first plant you see, but instead do your homework. Doing some research and reading about different plants could save you from problems and headache a few years down the road. If you are looking for more plant and gardening information, you can stop by the Wayne County Extension Master Gardener Spring Plant Sale this Saturday, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Wayne County Cooperative Extension Office (208 W. Chestnut Street, Goldsboro). Extension Master Gardeners will not only have plants for sale but will also be on hand to answer your gardening questions.

For additional lawn and garden information contact the Wayne County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Clinic on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. One can reach the Wayne County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Clinic by phone at 919-731-1433, e-mail at Master.Gardener@waynegov.com, or stopping by Room 100 of the Wayne County Extension Office (208 West Chestnut Street, Goldsboro).

Learn More!

Upcoming Wayne County Extension Gardening Programs:

  • Mark your calendar for the annual Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Spring Plant Sale!  This year’s plant sale will be Saturday, April 18th at the Wayne Center of the Wayne County Cooperative Extension Office (208 W. Chestnut Street, Goldsboro). Doors will open at 9 a.m. and stay open until noon. Plant Sale will also include a raffle for various gardening items, including a rain barrel, door prize, kid’s table and volunteers on hand to answer your gardening questions.
  • Wayne County Gardening – Spring Workshop Series.  The Wayne County Extension Office offers workshops featuring popular gardening topics. Workshops consist of a presentation, question and answer session, and handouts to take home. All workshops are free and open to the public. Registration is required for all workshops by calling the Wayne Co. Extension Office at 919-731-1520.

o   Home Vegetable Gardening Workshop – Tuesday, April 28th, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Wayne County Public Library,1001 E. Ash Street, Goldsboro

  • Nothing is more rewarding than to raise and harvest fresh vegetables from your own backyard garden. This workshop will cover how to plant and start a vegetable garden along with how to care for it through out the season. No matter the size of your vegetable garden, this workshop is for you!