Proper Plant Placement For A Successful Home Garden

Here at the nursery, we talk a lot about how to get the most out of the plants you decide to put in your garden. We’ve covered how to keep your soil healthy and why organic pest control is the way to go.

None of this matters, though, if you don’t place your plants correctly. The healthiest soil in the world will be for nothing if you’ve planted a sun-loving plant in the shade (and vice versa). Proper plant placement is simple, but it’s one of the most important things you can do to set your garden up for success.

That’s why in today’s post we’re going to teach you everything you need to know about plant placement. We’ll break down the four major types of plant placement, as well as give you examples of plants that do well in each. When you’re done reading, you should have a better idea of how to place your own plants for success.

Let’s get started!

Drought-Loving Plants

Succulents for sale at Kauai Seascapes Nursery

To start, we need to visit the desert. That’s because the plants in this category thrive in dry areas. You might assume if you have an especially dry yard that you’re just out of luck when it comes to planting a garden, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You just need to choose plants adapted to dry conditions.

For dry conditions, we can’t recommend a better plant than…


Succulents come in all shapes and sizes, and they’re a perfect addition to any dry garden. They generally require very little maintenance, making them perfect if you don’t want to spend a ton of time watering your garden.

In fact, the name “succulent” actually comes from the Latin word sucus, which means “juice” or “sap.” Succulents store this “juice” (which is mostly water) in their leaves and stems, and this is what allows them to survive in dry climates.

And, hey, what do you know? We actually did a whole post on succulents a while back, so feel free to take a look to learn more about these easy to grow beauties.

Another easy care and low-water requirement plant that thrives in Hawaii are…


Bromilads are a family of monocot flowering plants of 51 genera and around 3475 known species native mainly to the tropical Americas. Most are “air-plants,” meaning they do not need to be planted in soil, and they collect rainfall so they are literally a plant you would never need to water if grown outside. (However they also make great indoor plants!)  The most famous of the Bromilads is probably the Pineapple, and we also have a nice selection of other varieties at the nursery including Tillandsias, Guzmania, Vriesea, Aechmea, and Neoregelia.

When you come to the nursery, check out the “Barn” area to find our drought-tolerant plants.

Water-Loving Plants

Taro with variegated leaves

Next up, in stark contrast to the previous category, we have water-loving plants. If your yard is bordering on boggy, you’ll want to make sure you have plants to match. Luckily, there are some excellent plants here at the nursery that can’t get enough moisture. Here’s a couple to get you started:

  1. Bacopa: (sometimes known as water hyssop). This is a lovely native Hawaiian ground cover with blue, white, or purple flowers. When crushed, the leaves have a delightful lemon scent. With a decent amount of light and lots of water, Bacopa makes a wonderful ground cover.
  2. Colocasia: These tropical plants have large heart-shaped leaves and really soak up the water (in fact, many can actually grow in water such as the edible Taro varieties!). At the nursery, we have a number of decorative taro varieties such as the ‘Mojito Ape’ (shown in above picture.) Decorative taro are the perfect plant for a soggy area where your gutters empty into the yard; they will thrive on the extra moisture (and look lovely doing it!)

You’ll find these water loving plants in the Greenhouse area of the nursery.

Shade-Loving Plants

Bat Flower

Next, let’s look at some plants that do well in shade. This is an area that can seem tricky at first, since intuitively more sun = better when it comes to gardening. But not always. If most of your yard is shaded by, say, palm trees, you can still adorn the ground with plants that prefer shady areas.

If you’ve got a decent amount of space in the shade, then we definitely recommend you look into planting Bat flowers. These are truly some of the most distinctive flowering plants around. The flowers really do look like a bat in flight. In fact, this plant is so cool that we actually wrote a separate article on it, which you can check out for even more info.

If you’re looking for something a bit more colorful (but still well-adapted to shade), then we recommend anthuriums. Anthurium is a genus of gorgeous flowering plants, with colors ranging from pink to purple to red to orange. Because this category is so broad, we recommend stopping by the nursery to get a better idea of the anthurium that’s right for your garden.

Shade-tolerant plants are available in the Greenhouse area of the nursery (i.e. where the shade is!)

Sun-Loving Plants

Beautiful Hibiscus

To close things out, let’s step back into the light and have a look at some sun-loving plants. If your yard is bathed in sun for most of the day, these plants will be perfect. Just make sure you don’t spend too much time out there admiring them – humans aren’t as sun-adapted as these plants!

A great sun-loving plant to start with is Hibiscus. These plants are beloved by gardeners all over the world for their stunning colors and elegant shape. Besides thriving in the sun, hibiscus blossoms also make a delicious tea (though make sure you’re using an edible variety before brewing).

Or, you might try your hand at growing Gardenias, another sun-hungry favorite. These flowers sport beautiful white blossoms and a sweet scent. Tropical gardenias such as Tiare and ‘Tahitian Heavenly Scent’ are right at home here in Kauai’s warm, humid climate (provided you give them enough sun and the right amount of water).

At the nursery, we have sun-loving plants spread throughout the nursery grounds, but you will find many great options in our 1 gallon and 5 gallon areas.


As you can now see, the conditions of your yard don’t have to prevent you from having a lovely garden. You just need to choose plants properly suited to your specific garden environment. By doing this, you’re sure to create the foundation for a thriving, beautiful garden.

What questions do you have about plant placement? Have any tips to share based on your own experience? We’d love to hear about them in the comments section below.

And as always, please contact us with any questions or stop by the nursery to chat with one of our knowledgeable staff about your specific gardening needs.

May your garden thrive, no matter the conditions.

Garden of Bromeliads


Comments are closed.
We give away free plants every month! Sign Up Now