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If you’ve always wanted to have a green thumb but seem to kill plants just by glancing at them, you may be cursed. Kidding! Becoming a successful gardener isn’t about having a natural affinity for the outdoors, owning the most gardening supplies or buying expensive versus cheap plants. A thriving garden is largely based on choosing the right plants for your location. But how do you know what the right plants are for your yard? Thankfully, there’s a guide for that.
Knowing which plants to purchase for your space means knowing your hardiness zone. The USDA determines plant hardiness by the average annual extreme minimum temperature over a 30-year period. Additional factors more specific to each gardener and the exact location of where the planting will occur can also affect the success of plants, including light exposure, soil moisture and conditions that are more difficult to control, including humidity and temperature. You can find your hardiness zone by entering your ZIP code into the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.
This map is a great resource for providing a general hardiness zone, but the USDA notes that gardeners should take into consideration any microclimates that could affect the success of their plants, including “heat islands” caused by concrete or blacktop and cool spots from shade structures, as well as hills and valleys.
Once you’ve found your zone, it’s time to decide what type of plants you want to purchase. Do you want to add color to your space, create privacy or block noise and wind? What about high-maintenance plants versus low-maintenance plants? Perennials versus annuals? Thankfully, whatever type of plant you prefer, there’s a website for that. We’ve rounded up the best plant websites that work for beginners and gardening pros both.
1. The Home Depot
The Home Depot has just about everything homeowners could need for their space and that includes plants. The big-box retailer has a Hardiness Zone guide on its gardening site, which allows customers to shop by zone to ensure they are purchasing the best plant for their area. Once customers have identified their hardiness zone, they can narrow down their search by choosing from several categories, including Low Maintenance, Deer Resistant and Award-Winning Plants. The Home Depot’s website includes several helpful articles on plant maintenance, and many of their plants can be shipped or picked up locally.
Southern Living Plant Collection 2 g Jubilation Gardenia Shrub with Fragrant White Flowers
2. Fast Growing Trees
BEST FOR TREES
If you’re looking for trees, you’ll find just about every type at Fast Growing Trees. Shopping for your area is easy at Fast Growing Trees, which lets customers input their ZIP code so they can shop by zone or state. Trees are divided into categories like Shade Trees, Palm Trees and Flowering Trees, and each individual tree comes with a wealth of information online, including how to water and fertilize the tree, the amount of sunlight necessary, estimates of mature height and width and all the zones that work for a specific tree.
3. Plant Addicts
MOST DETAILED PLANT INFO
Plant Addicts takes the guesswork out of figuring out which plants go with which geographical zones. The website offers shopping guides by zones for perennials and bushes and includes Full Sun, Partial Sun and Shade categories for annuals. Edible plants and garden planters are also available on Plant Addicts. For the most detailed information on each plant, including what each plant attracts and resists, the bloom period, watering needs, mature height and width and more, it’s tough to find a more comprehensive site than Plant Addicts.
BEST FOR LOW-MAINTENANCE PLANTS
Plants.com does not have the same expansive variety of outdoor plants as other websites on our list, but what they lack in selection they make up for in presentation. The company focuses more on indoor potted plants and includes useful categories like Air Purifying Plants and Pet-Friendly Plants. Its outdoor section has some beautiful options, including several growing kits and ready-to-plant options, like the Lavender Blooming Plant.
BEST FOR BEGINNERS
If you’re still feeling overwhelmed about which plants to choose and how to care for them, we suggest checking out Bloomscape. The company has a user-friendly website and app that guides new gardeners through caring for their plants. The site has several useful articles for both seasoned gardeners and newbies, and we especially like their new Vera Plant Care App, which helps remind users when to water and fertilize their plants, track growth, learn about their plants and more. Bloomscape doesn’t have as much information listed about individual plants as other sites, but it still includes pertinent facts, like where to place the plant (patios, balconies etc.), how much light it requires, when the plant will bloom and more. Bloomscape also won’t ship plants until the last freeze of the season has passed in a specific area, another feature that makes this site a good choice for gardening newbies.
6. Tractor Supply Co.
BEST FOR SEEDS
Contrary to the name, Tractor Supply Co. sells a lot more than tractors. The company has a huge assortment of plants, including trees, bushes, fruits and vegetables and more. Plants can be purchased in seed form or potted and ready to be put into the ground. Depending on where you live, Tractor Supply offers curbside pickup or delivery. Customers can choose from a wide range of categories to find the exact type of plant they want, including organic, drought tolerant, sun tolerant and more. Each plant has its USDA zone listed, ensuring customers only choose plants that are suited for their hardiness zone. An excellent site for beginners and seasoned gardeners, Tractor Supply includes all the pertinent information necessary to make well-informed decisions, including mature growth, sun requirements, plant life stage and more.
7. Brighter Blooms
For a large selection of trees and shrubs, check out Brighter Blooms. One of the easier sites to navigate, Brighter Blooms labels each plant with its corresponding Growing Zone and includes updated information, including how the most recent weather patterns will affect a plant. We also like that the company includes a brief history of each plant, as well as growing information and several size options where applicable. For those looking for plants as solutions, including as wind and noise barriers, Brighter Blooms has an extensive list of categories for added convenience.
8. Great Garden Plants
INCLUDES PLANT CALCULATOR
Quickly identify your growing zone on Great Garden Plants’ website to ensure you’re looking at the best plants for your area. Great Garden Plants has a convenient ZIP code map and finder that tells customers their zone and identifies each plant on its site by zone. The site includes all the information customers require to buy the best plants for their needs, whether that’s adding color to their outdoor space or searching for a plant that is resistant to deer. Great Garden Plants also includes a useful Plant Calculator on their site that allows customers to input the dimensions of their outdoor space to determine how many plants will fit in their garden.
9. Nature Hills
EASY TO CUSTOMIZE BY ZONES
Like many sites on our list, Nature Hills helps customers find their growing zone. The site goes even further towards giving customers a custom shopping experience. Once a category, such as Hibiscus Flowers, is chosen, customers can then click on their zone and be shown only flowers that work for their geographical area. All the growth and maintenance information is included for each flower, bush and tree sold by Nature Hills, and the company recommends which fertilizer, root stimulator and other pertinent products to buy for each plant.