The Best Plant Varieties

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We search these same things over and over. What is the best shade plant? The best plant in full sun? The best plant for dry conditions? And we get lovely little lists of plants.

But you need to take a closer look at those lists. If you blindly follow the advise you will likely make some mistakes.

For example, search plants for shade and top billing is generally for Hosta. The term "Hosta" refers to a genus. There may be as many as 45 to 70 species within that genus. And there are at least 3,000 registered cultivars (hybridized varieties). So are they all suitable for shade? What about dense shade? some sun? dry shade? moist shade? The gardener with a sunny garden may search hosta for sun and find that several varieties will thrive in certain sunny conditions.

Other genus commonly designated as shade plants are Dicentra, Hydrangea, Coral Bells which is a Heuchera species, Lamium Deadnettle, and many more. These Genus and species are not all consistent in their needs. For example Hydrangea are commonly considered a perfect plant for shade. However the species paniculata need sun to achieve best flowering.

And of course we are not just talking about shade plants. Search best plants for dry soil and best plants for moist soil and you will likely find iris to be on both lists! Search deeper and you will find that certain Siberian Iris will do well in moist soil, and many Bearded Iris do very well in dry soil.

So start your search as specifically as possible. Once you have narrowed things down, then search several sources to understand the needs of specific plant varieties of interest. You will find that many cultivars in a species have quite different needs and tolerances.

Now you are ready for your local garden store.

Sharon DwyerComment