Buying Plants and Flowers
Your location and climate should influence your decision
By Sylvia Cochran
The right plants and flowers bring a landscape alive and put a finishing touch on a home's curb appeal. Buying plants and flowers is an easy task, but there are a number of considerations you must weigh before deciding on the kinds of flora to introduce. In some cases, these considerations are aesthetic, but in other instances they are more functional.
Your plant and flower choices can help attract desirable animals to the landscape. For example, an abundance of nectar-producing flowers that bloom during the late summer months -- when butterflies are most plentiful -- will likely attract these insects to the garden for feeding and laying eggs. Examples of such flowers include the French marigold (Tagetes patula), Queen Anne's lace (Daucus carota), hollyhocks (Alcea) and goldenrods (Asteraceae).
If you want to use your plants and flowers for nutrition you will also want to adjust your floral choices accordingly. In addition to purchasing vegetable plants, it is wise to omit poisonous flowers and only include edible blooms. Examples of edible flowers include the gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides), spiderwort (Tradescantia Virginia) and common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca).
Disease such as powdery mildew and rust can destroy a garden, costing you money. Though pesticides and fungicides can provide protection, it's wiser to choose flora with an eye on disease-resistant properties. Choosing healthy plants that are known to withstand diseases common in your area, reduces the amount of maintenance, fungicides and pesticides required. Examples of disease-resistant flora include the mum (Chrysanthemum)m which resists rust; phlox (Phlox), which can withstand powdery mildew; and the begonia (Begoniaceae), which resists blight.
Watering restrictions make it impractical to introduce foreign plants into the landscape, especially if they have water requirements radically higher than native plants. Cut down on your water use by buying plants and flowers native to your state or region. In areas where watering restrictions are severe including a rainwater harvesting station in the landscape is a good idea. Rainwater harvesting helps collect the water that would otherwise run off allowing you to use the water for landscaping.
The temperature needs of your landscape are another decisive factor. For example, the azalea (Rhododendron) is a very popular landscape plant, but different cultivars have dissimilar requirements. Southern Indian azalea cultivars, such as the George L. Tabor, need warmth, while Kurume azaleas, like the Coral Bells, do quite well in cold weather. Tall to a landscape specialist or home garden specialist to find the plant and flower cultivars that match your location and climate.
About the Author
Sylvia Cochran is a regular contributor to DexKnows, specializing in home and garden.
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