Plants is key to successful gardening. You need to select plants by matching their needs to the growing conditions in the landscape.

Plants — even shade-adapted plants — need light, and the strength of the sunlight falling on any particular garden, as well as the number of hours per day the sun shines, depends on how far north or south the garden is.More sunlight means more energy available to sustain plant growth.The ideal situation for a plant can vary significantly depending on exactly where it’s grown.

It’s not just a matter of light — it’s also humidity and air temperature … and perhaps whether you performed the right incantation at planting time. Seriously, though, plants also respond differently to soil types, patterns of dry and wet weather throughout the year, air circulation, elevation, and a whole host of other factors that can vary dramatically even across relatively small geographic areas.

The USDA Hardiness Zone of a plant — often the only real cultural recommendation given on a plant tag or even in many reference books — is just the tip of the iceberg. The lesson here is that when it comes to descriptions of the cultural needs of plants, gardeners need to learn to ask questions. Regional gardening forums online can be a good way of “crowd sourcing” gardening information.

Just have a  look around and see where things grow well in your area by visiting public gardens and arboretums or other people’s gardens.

When you’re trying to find the right place for a plant, realize that cultural recommendations are usually generalized for the entire country, and that it’s up to you to decipher them for your location.Finally, experiment and don’t be afraid to move plants when they don’t seem to be doing well, because the test of all gardening advice is in the ground.

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