Choosing the Right Plants
Plants grown in the right conditions thrive with little fuss. Plants in the wrong situation may struggle no matter how much fertilizer, water, pesticides or attention you give them. This can be hard on the environment, expensive and time-consuming, too. Follow these steps to create beautiful landscapes that thrive with little maintenance and leave more clean water for salmon and other wild things.
Know Thy Garden
The first step to proper planting is to learn what you have to work with. See “Get to Know the Territory” on the next page to help you with this step.
Choose The Right Plants for Each Garden Spot.Once you know the conditions in each garden area, identify plants that will do well in each situation. Then you can narrow the choices to those that provide the colors, smells, shade, fruit and other benefits that you want. See the “Easy to Grow Plants for Every Garden” chart and Resource List inside for ideas on where to start. Consider the following when choosing plants:
Select pest- and disease-resistant varieties.Whether you grow roses or rhododendrons, apples or tomatoes, varieties are available that resist common pests and diseases. Look for resistant varieties in nurseries, plant and seed catalogs. Call WSU / King County Cooperative Extension at (206) 296-3900 for lists of resistant plant varieties.
Choose plants that thrive without irrigation.Many beautiful plants thrive in our climate with just the water provided by nature—once they are established in the garden. Check the Resources listed in the complete factsheet for books and gardens featuring drought-tolerant plants.
Diversify Your Plant Investments!Gardens with many different types of plants resist the spread of pests, diseases and other problems better than those with just a few. Diverse plantings attract birds and insects that control pests—and are more attractive to people too!
Go Native?Native plants are well adapted to local climate and pests and may suit your garden. Many Northwest natives are attractive and easy to grow. However, natives need to be grown in the right conditions to succeed, just like any other plants.
Plant grass only where it will thrive.Healthy lawns need properly amended and well-drained soil at least 6 inches deep, and several hours of direct sun a day. Level ground is essential for easy mowing and absorbing water without runoff. Lawns grown in less than ideal conditions have constant problems and may need frequent watering, fertilizing and weed control to look attractive. Keeping large areas of lawn green and healthy takes a lot of time and resources. Consider how much lawn you need— and want to maintain.
Plant Right.Give plants a healthy start by preparing the soil with compost and transplanting them properly.