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Choosing the Right Plant for the Right Spot

4 min read | Mar 10, 2016 | Resources 

Too Sunny, Too Shady, Just Right!

When landscaping our own yard, the most important decisions we make is what to plant in a particular part of the garden. This one initial decision affects not only the overall visual design but also the health and longevity of the plants and trees.  I have seen the wrong type of azalea get burned to a crisp in what I initially thought was a shady enough spot and camellias suffer from root rot because the grading of our property and those surrounding us likely channeled too much water through those spaces.  Gardening is a journey and there will be mistakes but fortunately Fairview has an amazing team to help soften the learning curve.

azalea hosta fern fairy

Most gardener newbies know better than to plant a shade loving Hosta in direct full sun.  Sometimes the requirements are pretty clear cut.  Still, even with moderate gardening experience I failed to consider the unidirectional full sun when we planted a bunch of roses and by mid-summer they were all growing at weird angles away from the woods and the fence-line to capture every ounce of sunlight they could get their leaves on.  Whoops!  Guess what is now on my “honey-do” list?  You guessed it.  Moving our rose bushes.  Outside of sunlight and water requirements, the size of the plant or tree at maturity is always of great importance as well.

hydrangea paniculata


We planted a limelight hydrangea that is absolutely gorgeous but I can nearly guarantee we will need to move it at some point and we really should have planted a little lime instead as they are smaller and more appropriate for the space.  We planted this on a whim and really didn’t seek any advice.  We saw that the neighbors had one and it was absolutely gorgeous so we bought one too.

We have been very fortunate with most of our plantings but sometimes selection can be a challenge.  Nita and the garden center experts are wonderful at taking our photos, measurements and requirements and guiding us through the selection process.  Sometimes the answer just isn’t clear cut and some spaces have more complexities than others.  Shade most of the day but then blazing and focused hot sun at 4:00 in the afternoon until 7:00 for one thing.

Too Big, Too Little, Just Right!

Another issue we faced was trying to shade a South facing (full sun beating on it all day) front porch.  We really wanted a spring blooming tree in that spot but most grew too wide and their dwarf or semi dwarf varieties couldn’t give us the height we needed.  A purple leaf plum would have been perfect but we had just planted three on the side of the house and it would have been too much.

Pink Crepe Myrtle Bloom

We ended up looking to the Southern staple crape myrtle and oddly enough we found the same issues.  If we bought a Sioux, for example, it would only be tall enough if its growth potential maxed out.  If it stayed on the smaller side we would have a really pretty tree but no shade on the patio.  We went round and round but there really wasn’t a tree that was perfectly suited to the spot.  We ended up having to get a taller tree that could be pruned regularly to keep its size appropriate for the spot and according to Chris and Nita, Crape Myrtles are very easy to properly prune (no crepe murder in my blood so no worries there).

There are often trade-offs when making decision – great utility but a little more maintenance, great beauty but less utility.  Sometimes you find the perfect fit like my row of hydrangeas under dappled sunlight and my crimson cascade weeping peach tucked in the corner of my backyard near a dwarf butterfly bush.

jennifer bennington son

Thankfully we have had the guidance of some amazing Fairview Garden Center professionals to guide us through our trials and tribulations and as I look around at our Spring to-do list I think they will be seeing a lot of us!  Thank goodness they have that play structure for the kids in the nursery!

Jennifer B.

  • Jennifer is an avid home gardener and loyal Fairview customer.  To read more about her gardening experiences and why shopping at a local garden center is important click here.