There is no shortage of excellent reasons to plant flowers and plants around your home. From increased curb appeal to creating a space for wildlife, the benefits of incorporating flowers and plants into your exterior design are clear and practically endless!
Invest in basic garden tools- set yourself up for success! Tending to your garden should be something you enjoy, as it is going to take a lot of time and energy depending on what you decide to grow! Equipping yourself with the proper tools will help gardening feel less like a chore and more like your new favorite hobby.
Test your soil. This one is pretty simple – healthy soil leads to a healthier plant! You’ve done all the work research and have chosen the perfect plant for your yard only to tend to your seed and wait- for nothing. Plants can’t thrive in nutrient-deficient soil! Soil test kits are available at your local garden centers. These kits will provide an immediate analysis of your soil’s pH and nutrient levels. You can also find testing meters that measure pH as well as moisture and light. Good soil will prevent you from having to invest in sometimes costly soils just to get your garden started. Testing soil in a few potential garden spots should be done in the early planning stage to save you time and money!
You’ve tested the soil from a few different potential spots to find the most nutrient-rich soil, but there are other things to consider! Becoming familiar with the conditions of your particular gardening space is essential when choosing what plants to grow! For example, if your garden is located in a place that only gets a few hours of sun every day, you wouldn’t want to fill it with plants that require a large amount of sunlight and vice versa. Make a rough estimate of how much sunlight you will be able to get in a day and go from there. Luckily, no matter the condition of your land and its available light, there will still be countless plants to choose from. The more information you have on your garden space- the better the chance for successful growth!
The Importance of Planting Natives
Now that you’ve decided where your garden will go, it’s time to decide what you’ll grow! Native Indiana plants are best suited for the soil and weather conditions in our area. As a result, native plants require less fertilizer, fewer pesticides, and less water. Native plants are necessary for healthy wildlife populations and help prevent the spread of invasive, exotic species. Planting natives not only helps other plants in the area, it’s a huge help to the local wildlife! Whether you’re looking for shrubs, trees, ferns, vines, grasses, wildflowers, or even nectar plants for the butterflies and bees, there’s no shortage of native options. As a bonus, native plants tend to be less costly. Check out the Indiana Wildlife website for a detailed list of native plants, complete with photos and growing conditions- right down to soil ph!
Looking for inspiration? Here’s our top 5 Indiana natives to plant this March!
This adorable multi-branched shrub gets its name from the balls of white flowers resembling pincushions, and button-like balls of fruit. Buttonbush is a handsome ornamental suited to wet soils and is also a honey plant ideal for those who live near water as ducks and shorebirds are known to snack on the seeds.
A climbing, woody vine capable of reaching 50 ft. long with showy, orange-red, trumpet-shaped flowers that hang delicately in clusters of two to five. These vines Are sure to be eye-catching during their bloom from March to May. These bright flowers also attract hummingbirds and butterflies with their early nectar.
Also known as Wild Blue Indigo or Blue False Indigo, this blue, but sometimes purple, perennial will stand 3-5 feet tall and can grow as wide as 3 feet! Blooming from April to July, this will need to be planted in a nice sunny spot and get plenty of water.
Arguably our favorite name yet, the Foxglove Beardtongue is known by a few different names with none of them lacking creativity! Growing stems 2-5 feet topped with uneven white flowers and a great bloomer for clay loam in areas with poor drainage from May to July.
Looking to bring some pizazz into your garden? Look no further than the appropriately named Showy Goldenrod. With bright yellow blooms from August through September, this one is sure to attract all kinds of bees, birds, and butterflies!