What Plant Where?
One of the keys to growing plants successfully is to make sure they are planted in their ideal position. All the plants we sell here at Morris's of Usk come with labels providing you with all the information you need to choose the right spot in your garden.
Sun-loving plants will be stunted in the shade, arid-loving plants will start to rot in the damp and acid-loving plants will turn yellow and die in a chalky soil. Read our guides below to help you choose the right plants for your garden soil and conditions.
Plants for different conditions
Your Garden soil
It is easy to tell if your garden is sunny, shady, windy or a combination of all three but if you’re not sure what soil type you have you can check by testing it.
Checking for soil pH (acidity/alkalinity)
The simplest method is to buy a soil testing kit or pH meter. We sell a range of these at Morris's and they are cheap and easy to use.
pH stands for potential hydrogen and is a gauge of the hydrogen-ion concentration in the soil or the soil’s acidity. There are various terms to describe plants that require these different types of soil. For example “acid-loving” plants are also “lime-hating” and “califuge”; “lime-loving” plants are also “acid-hating” and “calicole”. Alkaline, lime and chalky are all used too.
7 is neutral, 0 – 7 acid, and 7 – 14 alkaline.
Acid-loving plants such as rhododendrons like a pH of about 5, not 0. No plant will grow at a pH of 0 or 14. Most will grow been 5 ½ and 7½ .
Checking if sandy or clay soil
The best way of doing this is just to feel the texture of the soil. If you can roll it up into a ball, like plasticine, then your soil has a clay texture. If it stays crumbly and won’t ball up it has a sandy texture.
You can also put a soil sample in a jar of water, shake it up and leave to settle. The sand particles will sink to the bottom first and the clay will settle on the top. By seeing what percentage of the sediment is sandy or clayey you can see what type of soil you have.
Making the most of your soil type
Still confused by it all? Don’t be – most plants will grow in most types of soil and if there’s a particular soil type they need it will be noted on the label. Once soil type has been established you are not restricted to growing plants solely for your soil type. If you don’t have an acid soil you can still plant rhododendrons for example in pots of ericaceous compost and feed with an iron plant tonic. If you have an acid soil you can plant lime-loving (alkaline) plants like Lavender or Rudbeckia in pots of multipurpose compost.