What Should I Consider When Selecting Plants? - Ask BrightView


Ask BrightView: Episode 7

It can be a little overwhelming when trying to choose the best plants for your garden or landscape, but be weary of what you see in stores - just because it looks good at the store doesn't mean it will do well in your landscape. Make sure you do your research before deciding on the best plant. Will it thrive in your environment? Does it do better in the sun, shade, or both? Will it bloom all summer long? BrightView Agronomist and Horticulturist Christian Galindo offers some tips to consider when choosing your plants.

(For the full transcript, see below.)

Your Questions, Answered

We take your burning questions and give you the best advice, tips, steps, and more for your landscape needs in our Ask BrightView series.

Have you seen the latest episode yet?

Video Transcription

What should I consider when selecting plants for my landscape?


Whether you are an expert or homeowner, it's always important to select a good plant for your garden. Where do you start? If you go to the store, you'll find yourself with a lot of different options with beautiful colors. Don't let that deceive you. You need to choose a plant that's going to do well in your garden year-round and it's going to be acclimated to your site conditions. There is a lot of information out there that you're going to need to evaluate for plant selection. The normal way of starting is going to a retail store and seeing what's out there and what you can buy for your garden, but don't get fooled because they're going to try to sell you what's in peak bloom. Although the plant may look beautiful at this moment, it may not be the right choice for your garden.

Kangaroo Paws

As a first example, we have Kangaroo Paws. Kangaroo Paws is a very popular plant in southern California and it is selected for its beautiful flowers, its low maintenance, and low-water use. However, you have to consider whether this is the right plant for your garden. This plant likes good drainage and it needs to be in a low-humidity environment. If you're in coastal California and your watering with sprinklers, your plant may get a black fungus that creates very unappealing foliage called the black ink disease. Most people end up removing it after a few years because it doesn't meet their aesthetic standards.

Sweet Broom

Consider Sweet Broom - this is a beautiful shrub that is in full bloom right now. The blossoms are very fragrant and it's in season, so you can find it at your retail store right now. However, in about two or three months, you won't be able to find the plant anymore because it'll be a not-very-attractive green bush that will grow up to 12 feet in diameter. If you're planning on doing an intimate garden, do not select this plant because it won't fit your space. Another thing to consider is that this plant is a plant from the desert. If you are in a coastal or high-humidity area, your leaves may get diseased with mildew. It's just typically what happens with plants not accustomed to this environment.


Now consider Verbena - this is a very popular selection for the perennial garden. This is a drought-tolerant plant that is considered a California and smart-planet plant. However, my experience recently has been that this plant gets infested with mealybugs and it's very difficult to control. Also, in high-humidity areas, it will get a fungus that will attack the leaves and you will need to use a lot of chemicals - pesticides and fungicides - to keep this plant looking great at all times. Always look into the information of pests and diseases before selecting your plant.


How do you like Hydrangeas? A Hydrangea is a beautiful option for your shade garden. However, you also have to consider that this plant looks beautiful today, but how will it look in your garden and how will it adapt? These plants are grown in shade with chemicals to make them look this beautiful. They alter the pH of the fertilizer to get this color, but when you bring them to your garden, they will probably not get the same conditions, so they may get a little bit of sunburn and sometimes they may not thrive.

Now you know the different things to consider when purchasing a plant. They should fit your maintenance needs and also, your lifestyle.