Put the Right Plant in the Right Place: 6 Tips Experts Swear By

Put The Right Plant In The Right Place: 6 Tips Experts Swear By

Putting the right plant in the right place is the simplest thing you can do for your garden that will have the biggest impact. So many of our garden troubles and problems could be avoided if we simply put the right plant in the right place. Just because a plant looks pretty doesn’t mean it is a good fit for your garden.

Last week, I visited a big box garden retailer and found that they were selling tropical fruit trees that are not hardy in my zone. What happens when a unknowing customer buys a 15 foot papaya tree only to find out it won’t survive the winter? When I think about how much they paid for such a tree, it makes me wonder if they’ve lost their good sense. I mean what the crap are they going to do with a 15 or 25 foot non-hardy expensive tree once its time for a frost? Dig it up and bring it in the house? Well, hello! It won’t even stand up in a typical room with a 8 foot high ceiling. I guess you could chop off the top and hang Christmas lights on it. Or just leave it in the yard so you can dig up the dead tree next spring.

In all fairness to the garden center, they did label the plant tag with the plant’s eventual height and the hardiness zones. At least the papayas and guvas came with a warning note. All I have to say is this is why you need to put the right plant in the right place. It will help you avoid all sorts of trouble. Like half of a papaya tree in your living room wearing Christmas lights.

Why You Need the Right Plant

How many people stroll down the aisles of their local garden center and select any plant that strikes their fancy based mostly on what it looks like. Sure, it may have breath taking red flowers but do you know what it needs? Does that plant like sun or shade? How much water does it need? How fast will it spread? I’ve planted beautiful plants like Chocolate Mint, only to have it take over my garden like an invasive army.

Plants have basic needs such as soil, water, light, and temperature. If you plant the wrong plant in the wrong place, it can’t grow to its full potential. It won’t be able to flower. Plants that don’t have their requirements met will have to fight just to survive. You will water it and wonder why its struggling to hang on. It can’t live a healthy life unless its basic needs are met. Unhealthy plants are much more susceptible to pests and diseases then healthy plants because of their weakened state.

Each yard has its own micro-climate. Sometimes sections of the same landscape can have different requirements. For example, my backyard will grow only shade loving plants and my front yard gets full sun. Some landscapes have areas that are wetter or drier than other spots. Those areas need the right plant so it can thrive and create a healthy garden.

How to Put the Right Plant in the Right Place

1. Hardiness Zones

The USDA plant hardiness zones can tell you exactly which plants will live in your area. Most garden centers label each plant with its hardiness zone. This allows you to select plants that you know will survive the winter in your landscape. If you don’t know your zone, the USDA website allows you to type in your zip code or select your state to find out exactly which zone your garden is in. Here is a link to their online map.


How much light exposure does your garden receive? Different areas get different amounts of sunlight. Lighting is one of the most important things to know to help put the right plant in the right place.

Full Sun is 6 or more hours of direct sun a day.

Partial Sun or Partial Shade is 4 to 6 hours of direct sun a day.

Full Shade is less than 4 hours of direct sun a day.” (Source: Proven Winners)

There are different types of lighting requirements for plants. Full sun plants need 6 to 8 hours of light each day. Partial sun plants need 4 to 6 hours of light. If a plant tag says part sun or part shade, the two terms are interchangeable because they both require the same amount of sunlight. Partial shade plants prefer morning light because it isn’t as strong. There are several different types of shade.

  • Dappled, Partial Shade: 4 to 6 hours of sunlight
  • Light, Filtered Shade: 2 to 3 hours of sunlight
  • Full Shade: 1 hour of sunlight
  • Deep Shade: no direct sunlight all day

If a full sun plant is planted in the shade it won’t flower or grow as well. If a shade plant is planted in the sun it will burn. Determine the amount of light in your garden and choose a plant which needs that type of light. The Garden Continuum has a great article on how to determine your garden’s sunlight exposure.

3. Water

Plants have different water needs. Grouping plants together which need the same amount of water will make your gardening easier. If you have an area that stays wet, choose your plants carefully. Some plants will enjoy staying damp. Most plants can’t handle that much water. The average plant will die because its roots need oxygen and they won’t get enough if your soil stays saturated for an extended period of time. However, there are plants that enjoy having wet feet.

Plants for wet boggy gardens:

  • Blue Flag Iris
  • Water Iris
  • Cattail
  • Horsetail
  • Marsh Marigold

For areas that stay dry for an extended length of time, try a plant that enjoys being dry. This way you won’t have to water so much and the plant won’t dry up and die. For a dry shady area, Solomon’s Seal never fails to thrive.

Plants for dry sunny gardens:

  • Yarrow
  • Butterfly Weed
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Lamb’s Ear

A great option if you have an area which doesn’t have much rain is to try xeriscaping. This is designing a garden that will thrive on your normal amount of rainfall without needing too much extra irrigation. Since describing xeriscaping goes beyond the scope of this blog post, here is a link with more information: Xeriscape: An Introduction.

4. Size and Spacing

Put the right plant in the right place. Make sure the height and width of the plant suit your garden space. You don’t want your young plant to outgrow your garden when it gets mature. My grandmother planted some daylilies around her azalea cuttings once. Over the years, the azaleas grew and covered up the daylilies. She had to move the smaller plants to a different location.

Tall plants should always be planted in the back of a border with short plants in front. This way the taller plants don’t shade the shorter ones. If you have a round bed in the middle of a lawn put the tall plants in the center and the short ones around the edges.

Another important detail about size is how wide the plant grows. This will tell you how far apart to space your plants when planting. A common mistake beginning gardeners make is planting things too close together. As the plants grow, there isn’t any room for air circulation, which leaves plants vulnerable to fungus and disease.

5. Growth Rate

Different plants grow at different rates. How fast will the plant grow and spread? Is it invasive? My parents have mint growing in their front flower bed and it has choked out all of the other plants. The daylilies couldn’t compete with the rapid and rampant growth of the mint. Certain plants like wisteria can quickly become invasive if not pruned regularly. I’ve seen it almost swallow a small backyard garden before.

This is not to say you shouldn’t grow these plants. Just be careful when planting them so that they don’t get out of hand. I still grow mint in flower pots so it can’t get loose in my garden. Make sure you can meet the needs of the plants and that they won’t overtake a small space.

6. Trouble Spots

Some gardens have trouble areas that are either too wet, too dry, too shady, or other non-ideal growing conditions. Don’t keep putting plants there and watching them struggle. Do a little bit of research first and find a plant that will thrive with your unique growing conditions.

There are plants that thrive in windy locations, salt spray from the ocean, dry shade, drought, wet boggy areas, heavy clay, hot sun, slopes, and rocky areas. Consider creating a rain garden in a soggy, wet area and planting bog plants. If you have a rocky area, create a rock garden with small plants that enjoy rocky slopes. For dense, dry shade try planting Solomon’s Seal.

Whatever your problem area is, there is always a problem solving plant to suit that spot. Don’t try to change your garden’s climate. Instead, save yourself a lot of trouble and put the right plant in the right place.

Questions to consider before selecting your next plant:

  • Does it like sun or shade?
  • Is it hardy in your zone?
  • Is it invasive?
  • How tall does it grow?
  • How much water does it need?
  • Does it meet the requirements of your space?


Now What?

Take action and be informed before you purchase your next plant. If you learn nothing else from my blog please always remember to put the right plant in the right place. It will make gardening so much easier and avoid a lot of trouble in your landscape. If I could hammer anything into my reader’s heads it would be to put the right plant in the right place.

So go out there and garden and remember what?

“Put the right plant in the right place!”

Put the Right Plant in the Right Place: 6 Tips Experts Swear By

Anne of Green Gables Quotes

Anne of Green Gables Book Quotes

Anne of Green Gables Quotes

Below are some of my favorite quotes from the book Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery.

The good stars met in your horoscope, Made you of spirit of fire and dew. -Browning

“…but by the time it reached Lynde’s Hollow it was a well conducted little stream, for not even a brook could run past Mrs. Rachel Lynde’s door with out due regard for decency and decorum…” -Chapter One

Anne Shirley: “Will you please call me Cordelia?”

Anne Shirley: “If I was very beautiful and had nut brown hair, would you keep me?”

Anne Shirley: “Scope for the imagination.”

Diana Barry: “I solemnly swear to remain faithful to my bosom friend, Anne Shirley for as long as the sun and moon shall endure.”

Anne Shirley: “Maples are such sociable trees. They’re always rustling and whispering to you.”

Anne Shirley: “The iron has entered into my soul, Diana.”

“October was a beautiful month at Green Gables, when the birches in the hollow turned as golden as sunshine and the maples behind the orchard were royal crimson and the wild cherry trees along the lane put on the loveliest shades of dark red and bronzy green, while the fields sunned themselves in the aftermaths.” -Chapter 16

Anne Shirley: “The stars in their courses fight against me, Marilla.”

Anne of Green Gables Quotes

Anne Shirley: “My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.”

Anne Shirley: “‘Thou’ and ‘Thee’ seem much more romantic than ‘you’.”

Anne Shirley: “But really one can’t stay sad very long in such an interesting world, can one?”

“There was a magnificent sunset, and the snowy hills and deep blue water of the St. Lawrence Gulf seemed to rim in the splendor like a huge bowl of pearl and sapphire brimmed with wine and fire.” -Chapter 19

“Spring had come once more to Green Gables-the beautiful, caprious, reluctant Canadian spring, lingering along through April and May in a succession of sweet, fresh, chilly days, with pink sunsets and miracles of resurrection and growth. The maples in Lover’s Lane were red-budded and little curly ferns pushed up around the Dryad’s Bubble. Away up in the barrens, behind Mr. Silas Slone’s place, the Mayflowers blossomed out, pink and white stars of sweetness under their brown leaves. All the school girls and boys had one golden afternoon gathering them, coming home in the clear, echoing twilight with arms and baskets full of flowery spoil.” -Chapter 20

Anne Shirley: “Marilla, isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”

Anne Shirley: “It was probably easy enough in Camelot hundreds of years ago, but romance is not appreciated now.”

Leave a comment and tell me which Anne of Green Gables quote is your favorite!

Lucy Maud Montgomery

Lucy Maud Montgomery

Lucy Maud Montgomery 1884

Lucy Maud Montgomery, 10 years old. Image Credit: Wikipedia

Lucy Maud Montgomery is the author of the very popular Anne of Green Gables. Just like most of her literary characters, she lived on Prince Edward Island. She preferred to be called by her middle Maud. Unlike Anne and her “e”, Maud had to have her name with out the “e”.

She was born November 30, 1874, in New London (Cliffton) Prince Edward Island. Maud was named Lucy after her grandmother; but went by Maud. Her mother, Clara Macneil, died two years later, in 1876 of tuberculosis. Not long after that, her father moved to Saskatchewan.

As a child she lived with grandparents, Lucy and Alexander Macneil in Cavendish, PEI. Life with her grandparents was sometimes difficult as her grandparents were very strict. Maud’s grandfather ran the post office from their home. That’s how she sent out her manuscripts, with out all those “Rachel Lyndes” finding out. Even as a child, she enjoyed writing. As Maud herself said, “I can not remember a time when I was not writing or I did not mean to be a author.” She founded a story club, just like Anne Shirley’s.

When her father moved to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, he re-married. Soon Maud went out west to live with him. She found new friends, Laura and her brother Will Pritchard. The highlight of her stay, was when she saw her first published poem. It was entitled On Cape Leforce and published in The Daily Patriot. However, she and her stepmother didn’t get along very well. Her stepmother expected Maud to stay home from school and look after the children. In 1891, she once again returned to her beloved Prince Edward Island.

She attended Prince of Whales college in Charlottetown during 1893, and got a teacher’s license. In 1895, she attended Dalhousie University in Halifax. She could only afford one year, so she then took a teaching job. Soon Edwin Simpson became her beau. However, while teaching in Lower Bedeque, she fell in love with Herman Leard, a poor farmer. Maud once described being in the house with both Edwin and Herman, as one she must marry but could never love; and the other she loved but could never marry. Herman later died in 1899.

After the death of her grandfather in 1898, Maud returned home to take care of her ailing grandmother. Maude wrote what she called, “pot boilers”. Those were stories she wrote because she had to, for money to keep food in the pots on her stove. Between 1901 and 1902, she wrote for a newspaper called The Daily Echo in Halifax. Her column was entitled Around The Table.

Lucy Maud Montgomery

Signed photo of Lucy Maud Montgomery. Image Credit: Wikipedia

In 1905, Maud began writing Anne of Green Gables. After several publishers rejected the manuscript; she buried it in a hat box. The next year, in 1906 she secretly became engaged to Edwin Simpson. Later, in 1908 it was finally published by L. C. Page & Company.

After Maud’s grandmother died, she married Edwin Simpson on July 5, 1911. They took their honeymoon in England and Scotland. Then they settled in Leaksdale, Ontario. Maud had two sons, Chester and Stuart. Maud had a lawsuit with her publishing company, after they published a book with out her knowledge. The lawsuit lasted for several years. Then Ewen began having headaches and depression; but Maud covered up for him so well, nobody knew about it.

In 1926, Maud lived in the Norval manse. Finally in 1928, she won her lawsuit with the publishing company. Meanwhile, her husband’s condition worsened, and he spent days in bed. By now, Maude had become good at covering up his illness. While living in Norval, she published Pat of Silverbush and The Blue Castle.

The family moved to Toronto in 1935. Maud called her new house Journey’s End; because she never planned to move again. Ewen’s condition grew even worse. Maude continued to look after him and write.

On April 24, 1942, Maud died. She was buried in Cavendish on her beloved Prince Edward Island. With her passing, Canada lost one of it’s greatest writers ever. However, her memory lives on, and her books are as popular as ever.


  • The Lucy Maud Montgomery Album -By: Kevin McCabe, edited by Alexandra Heilbron
  • Lucy Maud Montgomery -By: Elizabeth MacLeod
  • Maud The Life of L. M. Montgomery -By: Harry Bruce
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