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How To Select The Right Plants for Your Garden

Updated: Feb 18, 2022

Here we will give you the basic information on selecting the plants that are right for you! Not just in the Lehigh Valley, but all over.

The basic components for plants to survive are good soil, sunlight, and water. Looking past the basics, there is much more to choosing the right plants. The goal is not to just have plants survive, but to thrive. A plant may survive in your yard, but that does not mean its happy and reaching its full potential. In this article, we will give you all the information to select the right plants for your property.

Pest Proof Plants

No matter where you live, there will be pests of some sort. They could be animals like deer, groundhogs and birds, or some type of insect.

“Pests are part of the gardening life cycle and one you’ll need to work with,” says Clive Harris, founder of DIY Garden. “Hungry wildlife, such as squirrels, deer, and birds, can decimate a garden— and unless you want to net everything, simply choosing plants that they don’t enjoy will prevent damage.”

Some plants that deer do not like:

  • Bleeding Heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis; formerly Dicentra spectabilis)

  • Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

  • Daffodil (Narcissus)

If you are dealing with smaller pests like insects you might want to try some of the following:

  • Basil - repels house flies and mosquitos

  • Lavender - repels moths, fleas, flies, and mosquitos

  • Chives - repel carrot flies, Japanese beetle, and aphids

  • Alliums - repel numerous insects including slugs, aphids, and cabbage worms

Choose Plants That Will Thrive in Your Hardiness Zone

The country is divided into zones based on average annual minimum winter temperature, and which plants are most likely to thrive there.

Your local nursery or farmers market can help you with this information but to check for yourself, the National Forestry Service provides a map here for easy use.

This information is crucial for choosing the right plants that will flourish in your garden.

Annuals vs. Perennials

Every plant has a life cycle. Understanding a plant's life cycle before purchasing will lead to less frustration when it only lasts for a season.

Evergreens should be the backbone of your garden. They will be green all year round. Perennials will diminish over the winter, and come back in the spring. Then there are annuals, which flower for one season. Annuals should be used for decoration, not what you center your garden around.

Once you have this information, you can decide how you want to design your garden every season.


The available sunlight on your garden is a major factor when it comes to choosing your plants. The good news is some plants thrive in sunlight, and others thrive in the shade. So no matter what, you can find plants that fit your need.

You should first observe the sunlight that hits your garden over an entire day. Areas with hardly any sunlight should consider ferns, ivy, and gunnera. Areas with lots of sunlight should be filled with roses, lavender, verbena, and prairie grasses.

What Are The Neighbors Up To?

If your neighbors have a beautiful lush garden, ask what they have been planting. Or if the properties around you look to be suffering, avoid their mistakes.

If plants are happy and look to be healthy in their yard, with the proper care it should be the same for you! Compliment them on their success and ask what nursery they go to so you can achieve the same result. They want their neighbors yard to look beautiful too, right?


Our goal with this article is to provide the reader with the right information so you can make an informed decision and get the intended outcome of your garden. While it would be nice to just plant whatever looks good and hope for the best, unfortunately there is more to it. Luckily for you, this article broke it down so the next time you go to the nursery or garden center, you'll have the same information the pros have.

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