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How Do I Choose the Best Ornamental Plants?

Christina Edwards
Christina Edwards

One of the first things you should consider when choosing ornamental plants for your home or garden is whether they will survive in your area. You should keep in mind the climate, soil, water, and sun requirements of the ornamental plants you are considering. Also, some plants require more space than others, and they may not thrive in small areas. Finally, you should choose an ornamental plant that you will enjoy.

Your climate will often play a big part in what types of ornamental plants you should choose. Cold-weather varieties thrive in cold climates, but they won't do well in warm climates. Certain plants may also only be able to grow in certain areas. Check which types of climates are best for a particular plant before making it a permanent addition to your garden.

Ornamental peppers are available in a variety of colors.
Ornamental peppers are available in a variety of colors.

The soil in your garden or yard can also help determine which types of ornamental plants you should choose. If the soil in your garden is loose, an ornamental plant that thrives in compact soil will not usually be the best choice. You should also consider checking the pH of your soil before planting any type of plant. Test kits to test soil pH can be purchased in most gardening stores.

Many ornamental plants also have different water requirements. Some may prefer moist soil, while others thrive in dry soil. If you live in an area with very little precipitation, you should consider plants that prefer drier conditions, unless you want to water them everyday.

It is important to give plants as much sunlight as they need, or they may not grow to their potential. You should also consider the amount of sun a plant needs before choosing it. Many ornamental plants thrive in full sun, or at least several hours of direct sunlight each day. Others, however, may only require a few hours of sunlight.

Ornamental plants also come in a number of different sizes. Many of the small ones will survive just fine in a small garden or a window box. Larger ones, like ornamental trees or shrubs, typically need a large amount of room to thrive. If you live in a small space, such as an apartment, you should choose small plants that will have enough room to grow.

Some ornamental plants, like many flowering ornamentals, may be chosen for just their looks. Others, however, may have other positive qualities. Many herbs, for instance, are beautiful in addition to being fragrant and edible. Some ornamental pepper plants can also produce a small quantity of food each season.

Discussion Comments

I don't usually have very good luck when it comes to growing plants. My sister gave me an ornamental bamboo plant and told me it was easy to grow.

I took this plant to my office where I see it often so I wouldn't forget to water it. So far it is still growing nicely, and I can't believe how fast it grows.

This is called a lucky bamboo plant and is supposed to give off positive energy. There are certainly many days when I need some kind of positive energy when I am working.

I am just glad that I have been able to keep a plant alive for this long. If all ornamental plants were this easy to take care of, I might have some more of them.


@sunshined - There are several great ornamental plants and shrubs that do well in shade and part sun.

If you like long blooming shrubs you might try hydrangeas. These come in a big variety of sizes and colors.

I have both hydrangea shrubs and a hydrangea tree in my yard. They produce huge blooms are bloom very profusely. It is best if they get a little bit of morning sunlight though.

Coleus is another one of my favorite ornamental shade plants. These are so easy to grow and will complement just about any other kind of plant you have next to it.

They don't flower, but they are brightly colored and I think they are quite striking.

Another one that many people are not as familiar with are toad lilies. These look like miniature orchids are a very elegant and easy to grow.


What are some good ornamental shade plants?

I am looking for some ornamental plants and shrubs to plant outside, and most of my yard is shaded.

It seems like most of the ones I like all need more sunlight than what I have.

One of my favorite ornamental bushes are roses. They bloom for a long time and smell absolutely wonderful. I just don't know of any roses that would do very well in a shady area.


I don't have much of a green thumb, but enjoy the beauty of ornamental plants. One of my friends always has some kind of new and different plant in her garden, and many of them are ornamental.

If I need some help with ornamental plant identification, I always ask her. There are also many great sources on the internet, but I enjoy getting the information first hand.

Many times she will share cuttings with me and encourage me to start my own. I have been successful with a few of them.

I have realized just how important it is to make sure you have the right amount of sun, climate and soil. Keeping them fertilized on a regular basis can make a big difference too.

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    • Ornamental peppers are available in a variety of colors.
      By: Oleg Fedorkin
      Ornamental peppers are available in a variety of colors.