The first factor to consider in choosing plants for your new garden is climate. Certain plants are very sensitive to even minor changes in temperature, humidity, and even wind levels! It is important to go into garden design with a fair understanding of the weather and seasons in your area of Philadelphia. Choosing plants that can weather the winter (or will regrow the following year) is only one factor in choosing plants based on the climate. It’s also important to consider things like the unique temperature of your home. A porch garden on the balcony of an upper-floor apartment is going to have cooler temperature than the rest of the local area, and might require more hardy plants.
Rainwater can also be a significant influence on the type of plants (and the type of planters) that you should consider. A garden that has partial cover is going to be able to house a very different selection of plants than one with no cover. Home greenhouses take this consideration to its extreme.
It is also important to think about the purpose of your garden when choosing plants. If you want a garden that is primarily for aesthetic purposes, choosing blooming flowers with complimentary colors is ideal. Unless you are going for a very wild appearance, a mix of colorful flowers that do not match one another may not produce the desired appearance. If you are creating a succulent garden, the choice of plant breed and type will be very important to building your ideal garden. Some succulents bloom yearly (cactus flowers are incredibly vibrant and beautiful), but these might not mesh well aesthetically with spiny succulents bearing many needles.
If you are building a vegetable or permaculture garden, the considerations for your garden are even more vital. In order to produce edible and quality vegetables, you will need to think about your plants exposure to insects, birds, and even other wildlife like squirrels and raccoons. Many vegetables have large variances in growth depending on their environment. Too much or too little water, sunlight, and soil nutrients and you may end up with an unsatisfactory crop. Be sure to research each vegetable that you are interested in before transplanting it to your garden. Some plant types are surprisingly difficult to grow, while others are just as surprisingly easy! Jalapeños, for example, grow incredibly well in the temperate climate of the Pacific Northwest, though many wouldn’t guess that just by looking at them! Don’t be discouraged the increased challenge of a vegetable garden is well worth it when you are able to stock your kitchen with your own, home-grown vegetables.
The final consideration in choosing home garden plants for Philadelphia homes is the size of plants. If you have limited space especially, carefully researching how large a plant can grow will save you headaches when it comes time for fall and winter. Climbing plants, for example, can often well overgrow their planters and might require consistent clipping and trimming to control their growth. Knowing the extent your plants will grow will help you get the garden you desire.