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Easy CareEasy-care basics : Match the plant to the available conditions

Plants struggle if they are not in the correct soil conditions. Soil conditions can greatly affect the growth of plants. Some kinds like light, dry soil; others prefer heavy moist soil. Most plants like soil that is open and well-drained but does not dry out excessively in summer. Some plants need lots of organic humus in the soil. If the humus does not occur naturally, and you are not prepared to dig it in, simply avoid those plants.

Use only plants that are suited to the soil conditions of the garden. This will avoid having to move them when they fail to thrive, or having to remove a dead plant and go to the trouble of buying and planting something else.

It is important to realise that parts of the garden might vary. Dry spots can occur near walls where the rain cannot reach. Wet spots can result from poor drainage or compaction. It is important to choose plants that like the conditions available to them.

If acid-loving plants are grown on limy soil, they will require much more preparation for planting and more care in the following years. Acid-loving plants suffer from iron deficiency on limy soils; the youngest leaves turn yellow. Some lime-loving plants such as flowering cherries lack sufficient calcium on acidic soils.

Match the plant to the available conditions

Match the plant to the available conditions

A simple test can be carried out using kits that are available in any garden shop. Alternatively, look at local gardens to see whether rhododendrons are growing in the open soil.

For an easy-care garden, it is best to avoid planting lime-haters in limy soil, and it is best to be at least aware of the effort this will require.

Like to learn more? Go to Garden.ie's Know-How section >


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