3 Tips for Buying Plants to Save You Money


Here’s a quick rundown on the intel you should take with you when you go plant shopping.

Early Spring Shopping Can Feel Frenetic

In early spring, I just want ALL the plants! How about you?

Once the weather warms up, the gardening season takes off with a vengeance, and it’s hard not to get caught up in its frenzy, buying up plants that aren’t right for our gardening space.

Being intentional and strategic about your plant purchases can save time and money. 

If you’re looking to grow a garden this year that’s both beautiful and economical, trust my top three tips on buying plants!

So whether you’re purchasing plants for a balcony, patio, deck, or larger gardening area, here are three things to know that will streamline your shopping experience and empower you to communicate effectively with garden center staff. These plant-buying tips apply to all types of plants, whether they’re annuals, perennials, planters, or hanging baskets.

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Principle 1: Stick to Your Garden Plan

A garden’s purpose will determine its design.

Clarify your gardening purpose and envision the activities you wish to enjoy in this space.

For example, is your intention to create a serene, calm area for relaxing, or to craft a play zone for young children?

The answers to these questions will lead to different designs and plant varieties.

Then, determine the specific placement for your plants, such as a welcoming hanging basket by the front entrance, a collection of planters for the shade garden, or the creation of a new mixed bed of annuals and perennials.

Principle 2: Assess the Duration of Direct Sunshine in Your Location

Know how many hours of direct sunlight your planting zones receive.

For each growing area or project, observe the number of sunlight hours it receives instead of relying solely on cardinal directions like east, west, south, or north.

I say that because often it’s natural to think that a south-facing deck is a full 6-8-hour sun location, but this will not be accurate if it’s shaded by nearby trees.

Great annual plant options for sunny spaces include Calibrachoa (Million Bells or Superbells), Geraniums, Petunias, Salvia, Snapdragons, and Sunpatiens.

Great annual options for shady zones include Browallia, Dragon Wing Begonias, Ferns, Fibrous Begonias, Fuchsia, Impatiens, Solenia Begonias, and Sunpatiens (grow in both sun and shady areas).

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Principle 3: Analyze the WIND Patterns

Wind is often a forgotten factor when selecting plants.

Understanding the wind conditions in your garden space is another factor in plant choice. 

Sheltered or exposed locations will impact plant selection, as strong winds can damage foliage and accelerate soil dehydration.

Annual plants to avoid planting in windy areas include Begonias, Calibrachoa (Million Bells or Superbells), Cannas, Fuchsia, German Ivy, Impatiens, Petunias, Thunbergia (Black Eyed Susan)

Annual plant options for windy spaces include Dracaenas, Cordyline, Geraniums, Lysimachia, Muehlenbeckia (Wire Vine), Ornamental Grasses, Scaevola (Fan Flower), Verbena, and Vinca.

Navigate Your Plant Shopping Process with Confidence

By considering these three factors, you can shop for your garden plants with the intel and certainty needed to select or ask the right questions about the plants your unique gardening environment needs to thrive this growing season.

Don’t get swept up by the spring frenzy, plan your gardens carefully to ensure that not only do you have a garden that’s management and beautiful, but you’re also not overspending!

©Sharon Wallish Murphy ©Gardening with Sharon

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