A woman approached me at an event recently and lamented how she has a black thumb and cannot grow anything. I didn’t believe her for a second. Anyone can be a successful gardener. Yes, anyone! I asked her about the plants she had tried to grow, where she grew them, how often she watered…you get the picture. Most of her answers would spell doom for even the most seasoned gardener!
Listen up all you ill-fated gardener-wannabes. Planting the right plant in the right place is your key to success! Nothing, I repeat, nothing matters more than knowing the conditions your plant likes, and understanding the microclimates in your yard. Microclimate is a fancy word for describing different environments within your yard. For example, that area beneath your house’s eaves is a microclimate. That area may get more or less water than other areas of your yard; it may receive more or less sunlight, and those factors must be considered when selecting plants for those areas.
This holds true for native plants, too! Some native plants like more water than others; some like more shade than others. Soil conditions are important, too. If you have a very sandy soil, you must choose plants that can tolerate that soil, or you must amend the soil with organic matter. So the next time you venture out into your yard and notice unhappy plants, ask yourself if that plant was the right plant for that place. Chances are, it’t not.
If you are interested in learning more about selecting the right plant for the right place, contact us at the UF/IFAS Extension Brevard County office to learn about our classes that teach you how to have a Florida-Friendly Landscape that is beautiful and protects our environment. You can reach us at http://brevard.ifas.ufl.edu or call 321.633.1702.