Appropriate plant selection

Appropriate plant selection means selecting plants that not only are compatible with the design but also are well suited to the planting site and local environment. It involves selecting plants according to the soil type and light level of the site. Ideally, the plants you select should be adaptable to local fluctuations in temperature and soil moisture. Most plants have a place in Xeriscape. It is important to use healthy plants adapted to our area (that is, plants that can take hot, humid weather as well as hot, dry weather), plant them in the right place, and give careful attention to getting them well established (Figure 1). Encouraging the growth of deep roots by preparing the soil and using appropriate irrigation practices is crucial to helping plants establish themselves. Select trees, shrubs and groundcovers that are adapted to your region’s soil and climate (Wade et al., 2002).


Fig. 1. Spartium junceum L. (Deep roots) (Ganos Mountains, Tekirdag, Turkey)

Native plants are not necessarily the most drought tolerant. Even though a plant may be native to the area, it may not adapt to an adverse new environment (microclimate). When forced to grow in a harsh new environment, native plants can become a high-maintenance nightmare. In addition to the adaptability of a plant to the site, other important criteria to consider include (Florida’s Water Manegement Districts, 2004; Wade et al., 2002)

Mature size and form (height and width)

Will the plant remain in scale with the rest of the landscape as it matures, or will it likely overgrow the site and compete with other plants for space, nutrients and water?

Growth rate (Sun and shade requirements, soil needs, water needs, sat and cold tolerances) Slow-growing dwarf shrubs and ground covers used around the base of the home require little routine pruning.


Is the leaf texture fine, medium or coarse, and does it combine well with the adjacent plants?


Is the flower or foliage color compatible with other plants or the background color of the building? (Figure 2)

Functional use

Is the plant suitable for the location and intended purpose; i. e. under low windows, along the perimeter of the property as screening hedge, or as a ground cover?

Choose plants that can survive on normal rainfall in your area or that require minimal irrigation. Existing native-plant communities are an example of the "right plant in the right place." Match these factors with your soil and climatic conditions.


Fig. 2. Alkanna tinctoria TAUSCH. (example of many slope area) (Ganos Mountains, Tekirdag, Turkey)

Updated: October 19, 2015 — 9:55 pm