Growing Plants

When deciding what to plant in your garden there's a wide range of plants available. You might plant flowers like perennials to add some variety all year round or maybe annuals to give the garden some colour during a certain season. You could use trees/shrubs to give structure to the garden's layout. Or you could use other types of plants like ornamental grasses in a range of situations.

This article goes through everything you might need to know about growing the various plant varieties.

Plants for different conditions

Plants are generally suited to certain conditions like different amounts of light/shade and soil moisture. We've put together articles with plants suited to some common conditions, so if you're looking for plant ideas this is a good place to start.

Plants for different light conditions:

Plants for different soil conditions:

Varieties of plants

There's a wide of variety of plants available. Each has a different look, ideal growth period and preferred location in your garden.

Flowers can be great for adding colour. Most flowers fit into three general categories that give an idea of how a plant behaves; perennials, annuals and biennials. Perennials flower over many years, annuals last one year and biennials are in-between. You might plant flower seeds or transplants, where each method and each specific flower variety has its own ideal conditions and growth periods.

Trees and shrubs can give structure to a garden's layout or be used more generally to again add variety.

Ornamental grasses come in a range of sizes and varieties, where you might use smaller grasses to fill smaller spaces, medium-sized ones for beds perhaps alongside flowers and larger ones to fill larger spaces alongside trees and shrubs.

When to plant

Plants like certain temperatures. Generally, they grow more during warmer weather, so the spring is a good time for planting to give time to grow before colder weather comes in autumn. Plants take a longer time to grow if you plant them at an earlier stage, so seeds for example need warmer weather more-so than say flower transplants.

Some plants prefer hotter or colder weather more generally, so certain plants will grow better or worse depending on where you live. Very hot temperatures during the day and very cold at night are common problems that prevent certain plants being grown.

Where to plant

The place you put a plant will affect its growth, where each plant variety will prefer certain amounts of sunlight, soil conditions and space. Also keep in mind most plants need extra water/nutrients early in their growth, especially for seeds.

Plants absorb energy from the sun to grow. Some might like direct sunlight all day, but others might prefer partial sun or the shade. If the air around a plant isn't good quality this can also affect a plant's growth, where dust could build up on leaves for example and prevent the plant getting energy from the sun.

Most plants absorb water and nutrients through their roots, which are normally in soil below the ground, and each plant will prefer certain types of soil and amounts of water/nutrients. The amount of clay/sand in soil and the soil's acidity will also suit certain plants better. Harder clay soil for example might prevent root growth, but if there's too much sand the roots might not hold the plant in place properly.

If the soil isn't ideal for the plant you want, you could choose a different plant or try and change the soil conditions around the plant by buying soil/compost and/or watering it regularly. Selecting plants that suit the current soil is generally much easier than trying to adapt it to a particular plant. If you don't get the soil right you may need to do much more work later on to keep the plant growing and results won't be as good generally than if the soil had been ideal.

A plant may also not grow properly if it doesn't have enough space, where both the roots and leaves may need a certain amount of space. Equally, for some plants you might intentionally limit the available space to avoid it getting too large or to prevent it spreading across a garden, by planting a container in the ground around the plant's roots for example.

Cutting back plants

Some varieties of plants may need cutting back, where certain flowers for example need deadheading to allow new flowers to grow and others may not. Some ornamental grasses may need cutting back quite far, but others may die or take several years to recover if you cut them back too far.