Step 3 -The climate. Plant names and categories. Read helpful information you should know when choosing plants. Know your climate. Learn about plant names and categories.
Review You have learned how to pick a spot for a flower garden, and to be aware of different sunlight conditions. You also learned how important good soil is in the garden. The soil is now ready for plants. First you need to know about your climate, and how it helps you choose plants. Learn and understand plant names.
Observation-Think about where you live and what kind of weather you have during spring, summer, fall, and winter. Are the summers very hot and dry? Are the winters long, cold, and full of snow? Is it very wet in the spring and summer with lots of rain? Does it get colder at night? Are plants growing all year, or just in the summer?
The weather provides different growing conditions for plants. Plants are like people and animals, they like certain temperatures, and weather conditions. This is known as the climate. Climate is a result of the amount of sun, rain, wind, temperature, distance from bodies of water and mountains, and other factors. A country can have many different climates. A Plant Hardiness Zone Map divides the different climates into certain areas or regions into numbered zones. The plant hardiness zones help gardeners pick the plants that will grow best where they live. Plants are rated by how hardy they are. You want plants that will grow healthy and strong in your climate so, choose flowers that are hardy for your zone. Find out your hardiness zone number from a local greenhouse. Gardening books from the library are a good source of information too. You may discover that some plants can adapt to your hardiness zone, even if they are not recommended for your zone.
Microclimates in your area or garden might help plants to survive in your garden that would not usually grow well. A microclimate in your garden has different climate conditions from the area that is around it. For example, if you live in an area with cooler weather, a garden planted against a sunny side of a house wall or building will give your garden a higher temperature. This is because the heat from the wall warms the soil giving it a higher temperature than the rest of your yard. This lets a plant that likes warmer temperatures to grow, even though the area around the garden is normally cooler.
Plant Names A plant is generally referred to by their botanical name; which includes the genus, species, and where applicable a cultivar or variety name, or by their common name. Genus Name-A scientific name for a category of plants which have similar growth habits, and flower characteristics. Species- Another scientific name for a group of plants that breed together and have characteristics that stay the same, but can also be different in a small way. Such as flower color. Cultivar - A name for a plant cultivated by controlled propagation to keep certain plant characteristics the same. The Cultivar name of a plant is noted by single quotation marks. For example: Rudbeckia hirta 'Gloriosa Daisy' Variety-A name also used to identify a group of plants with a specific difference within a species. The word variety and cultivar are often interchanged by gardeners. Botanical Name- Plants have two or more names listed in the botanical name. The genus, species, and sometimes the cultivar or variety name. These names put together form the botanical name. In the botanical name the first word is the genus name and the second word is the species, and if applicable the third is the variety or cultivar name. For example: Rudbeckia hirta 'Gloriosa Daisy' The botanical name is always the same anywhere. It is the best name to use when buying plants or seeds. Common Name-The common name is most used by gardeners. Easier to remember, but can get confusing. Botanical names are the same everywhere. Some common names are used for two different plants. So when wanting a particular flower it is best to find out what it's botanical name is. This way you can be sure to get the right plant when buying flowers or seeds.
Learn Basic Plant Categories Plants are divided into many different categories. Let's learn about two: Annuals and Perennials.
Annuals - A plant that will germinate, grow, bloom, produce seeds, and die off. Lasts only one growing season. Perennials - A plant that will germinate, grow, bloom, and die down for the winter, but grows in spring again. Year after year. Annuals and perennials can be grouped into many different specific plant needs, growing conditions or characteristics. For example, Annuals such Marigolds, Sunflowers, and Zinnias all grow well in a garden that gets full sun. These would be known as Annuals for a sunny garden. This helps gardeners to choose the right plant for their gardens.