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Choosing the Right Plants

How to Choose the Right Plants for Your

Ontario Garden

Creating a lush, vibrant garden begins with selecting the right plants that are well-suited to thrive in Ontario, Canada. With its diverse climate zones, ranging from the cooler, shorter growing seasons of the north to the warmer, longer seasons in the south, Ontario presents unique opportunities and challenges for gardeners. This guide aims to help you navigate these challenges, ensuring that your garden is beautiful, sustainable, and thriving.

Understanding Ontario’s Climate Zones

Ontario is primarily classified into several plant hardiness zones ranging from 3a in the far north to 7a in the most southerly regions, such as Point Pelee. Knowing your specific zone is crucial as it influences what plants will best adapt to your local climate conditions. You can find your zone by consulting the Canadian Plant Hardiness Zone map online.

Assessing Your Garden’s Conditions

Before selecting plants, assess your garden’s specific conditions:

  • Sunlight: Note how many hours of full sun, partial shade, or full shade each area receives daily. This will greatly influence which plants will succeed in your space.
  • Soil Type: Is your soil sandy, clay, loam, or a mix? The soil type affects water retention and drainage, which are critical factors for plant health.
  • Soil pH: Understanding whether your soil is acidic, neutral, or alkaline can help you choose plants that will thrive or indicate if you need to modify the soil pH.

Selecting Plants for Ontario Gardens

Native Plants: Native species are always a great choice as they are adapted to the local climate and tend to be more resistant to pests and diseases. Examples include the Canada Anemone (Anemone canadensis), Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), and the Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis).

Trees and Shrubs: For longer-term landscaping, consider trees and shrubs that can withstand Ontario’s winters. Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus) and the Canadian Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) are excellent for adding structure. Deciduous options like the Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) provide stunning fall color.

Perennials: Perennials like the Daylily (Hemerocallis), Coneflower (Echinacea), and Hostas thrive across many of Ontario’s zones, offering a variety of colors and textures for your garden.

Vegetables and Fruits: Ontario’s summers can support a wide range of vegetables and fruits. Cold-hardy vegetables like kale, spinach, and root vegetables do well in most areas, while warmer regions can support tomatoes, peppers, and even peaches and grapes with the right care.

Tips for a Thriving Ontario Garden

  • Mulching: Applying mulch helps retain soil moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature, benefiting almost all plants.
  • Watering Wisely: Understanding the watering needs of your plants is crucial, especially during Ontario’s variable summers. Early morning watering is most efficient.
  • Seasonal Care: Prepare your garden for Ontario’s winters by mulching, pruning, and protecting sensitive plants with burlap wraps or shelters.


Gardening in Ontario can be a rewarding experience with a bit of planning and knowledge about what plants to choose. By understanding your local climate zone, assessing your garden’s specific conditions, and selecting the right plants, you can create a beautiful and thriving garden that reflects the natural beauty of Ontario. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned gardener, the key to a successful garden is choosing plants that are well-suited to your environment. Happy gardening!


Tilllsonburg: 332789 Plank Line, Tillsonburg, ON N4G 4H1

London: 1285 Hubrey Rd Unit 6, London, ON N6N 1E2

Woodstock: 200 Universal Rd, Woodstock, ON N4S 7W3


Courtland is a Landscape & Grounds firm with offices across Southern Ontario. We proudly serve London, Tillsonburg, Woodstock, Ingersoll & Everywhere Inbetween.

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