How to Select the Right Plant
Plants are sensitive to the amount of sun and water they receive, the temperature, and the type of soil. When selecting plants it is essential to know the microclimates and soils across your site and choose plants which like those conditions. Failure to do so can be costly, as poorly selected plants usually die or have weak growth and few flowers.
Step 1 - Assess site conditions
Draw a sketch of your site showing its microclimates, environments and soil types
- What is your local climate?
||Inland - hot summers
Eg Mallee, Wimmera, North Country, Horsham, Mildura, Swan Hill, Echuca, Bendigo, Shepparton, Albury/Wodonga
|Highlands - frosty winters
Eg Hamilton, Ararat, Ballarat, Kyneton, Kilmore, Mansfield, Bright, Wangaratta
|Coastal - temperate
Eg Warrnambool, Geelong, Melbourne (most), LaTrobe Valley, Sale, East Gippsland
- What are the microclimates and environments across your site?
NOTE: Microclimates and environments can change dramatically even across small suburban gardens
Exposed north or west facing sites are generally hot and dry; a southerly aspect cool and moist; buildings can create windy spots or channel cold, frosty air in winter).
||hot, normal, cold
||frost free, light (-2 to -3°C), moderate (-4 to -5°C), heavy (> -6°C)
||full sun, part sun, full shade
||salt spray, windy, bushfire prone area
||dry, normal, moist, waterlogged
Example of a Site Sketch
- What soils do you have on your site?
NOTE: Soils too can change dramatically across small sites. (Eg
Clay sub soil might have been deposited on the top soil in a section of the site during building construction; limestone might occur in a location making the soil there alkaline)
>>Information About Soils, >>Victorian Soil Types by Region and >>Map - Surface Soil pH across Victoria
||Gravel, sand, sandy loam, loam, clay loam or clay
||Alkaline (pH greater than 7.4), neutral (pH 6.6 - 7.3)
acid (pH less than 6.5)
Step 2 - Select plants
which suit both your garden design and site conditions
Now it's time to visit your local plant nursery. Take your site sketch with you and always read the plant labels to ensure the ones you like suit your site conditions and, when they reach maturity, will have the right size and shape.
NOTE: Most Australian native plants grow rapidly, so it is often best to buy a small plant instead of a more expensive mature plant.
Now that you are ready to plant
Australian Plant Nurseries