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CityLink Seattle

Plant List Helps Gardeners

Oak FernPutting the right plant in the right place helps plants thrive 

With the arrival of spring, many green-thumbed residents are turning their attention to their gardens. 

But choosing plants that will thrive in the Northwest can be daunting, even for experienced gardeners. What plants will grow in dry, shady areas? Are there plants that can handle hot, windy sites? What about native plants?

To help answer these questions, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) and the Saving Water Partnership have produced The Plant List, a guide to help gardeners choose the right plant for the right place in their gardens.

When choosing plants, the most important consideration should be whether a site provides the conditions a specific plant needs to thrive. Soil type, drainage, sun and shade all affect a plant’s health, appearance and maintenance needs.

The Plant List highlights trees, shrubs and other plants that will thrive in different conditions, including wet soils, dry soils and drought, as well as sunny and shady sites. The Plant List also offers a comprehensive list of native plants that are suited to the Northwest.

“When gardeners match the right plant to the right place in their garden, the plants will flourish naturally” said Liz Fikejs, Acting Resource Conservation Manager with SPU. “The Plant List helps gardeners find beautiful plants that will thrive in their gardens without wasting water, pesticides and fertilizers trying to grow plants in places they are not suited.”

When planting new plants, Fikejs advises gardeners to dig one to three inches of compost into new beds – which helps sandy soils hold nutrients and water, and loosens clay soils – and spread a layer of mulch, such as leaves, wood chips, compost, or grass clippings around plants on the soil surface, keeping it about an inch away from stems.

Get more tips on conserving water outside from the Saving Water Partnership.

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