As the weather starts to warm up, we all want to rush to the garden centre to fill our trollies with all the colour we see. The floriferous displays and ‘buy three for £10’ offers are designed to make us buy more plants but if you are a newbie gardener, your impulse buys can turn out to be far from bargains. In order to thrive in your garden, you need to find the right plant for the right place.
This is where it is useful to understand plant labels to help you decide which plants would be suitable for your garden. There is no standard or universal form of labelling but typically, a plant label should tell you,
- the botanical name of the plant which will be the international Latin name
- the common name of the plant which will be what most gardeners call the plant
- the type of plant which will tell you if the plant is an annual or a perennial, if it is evergreen or deciduous, if it flowers or not
- the situation where the plant grows best so if it prefers full sun, semi-shade or deep shade and if it likes dry or moist soil
- care advice about how often to water, feed and prune the plant
- the eventual size the plant will grow to which should give you both the height and width of the plant
A few other things to look out for are
- moss on the surface of the plant which means the plant has been in the garden centre for a while
- lots of wilting or yellowing leaves means the plant has also been there for a while and have been a bit neglected
- remove the plant from its pot to check that the roots look healthy and aren’t too pot bound
- remove the plant pot from the display and stand it on its own so you can check the overall appearance looks balanced
- choose plants in bud rather than in full bloom so that you get to enjoy the blooms opening in your garden
Armed with just a little knowledge before you get seduced by all the plants and colour on display, you’ll not only spend more wisely but you’ll get the right plant for the right place.