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Vancouver Planting Guide

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Vancouver Planting Guide

Planting and growing your own plants can be incredibly rewarding and fun. From flowers to fruits and vegetables, there are many things you can grow for yourself or sell to local farmer’s markets. 

How To Grow Your Own Plants in Vancouver

Choosing the right season to plant your garden is essential. Not only will it determine how successful your harvest is, but it will also impact the number of visits you’ll get from pests and grubs that show up just before winter.

The best time to plant depends on your climate and the crops you intend to grow. Keep reading as we provide a comprehensive guide on planting in Vancouver.

What To Plant in Vancouver Each Season

If you’re lucky enough to have a green thumb, or even if you’re just starting gardening, Vancouver is a great place to do it! 

The city has a mild climate so that you can grow various plants and flowers. Here’s a guide to what you can plant in Vancouver each season.

Spring (March-May) 

Spring (March-May)

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Spring is the perfect time to start planting in Vancouver. The weather is mild, and the days are getting longer, so your plants will have plenty of sunlight to grow. Some of the best plants to grow in Vancouver during spring include:

  • Beans
  • Cowpeas
  • Peppers
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Corn
  • Squashes
  • Pumpkins
  • Cucumbers
  • Watermelons
  • Gourds
  • Sunflowers

Summer (July – September)

Summer (July - September)

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The hot, sunny days of summer are perfect for gardening in Vancouver. Here are some ideas for what to plant during the summer months:

  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Squash
  • Beans
  • Greens
  • Berries

It’s also a good idea to plant flowers during the summer season. Annuals such as zinnias and marigolds add color to your garden, while perennials like daylilies and coneflowers will come back year after year.

Fall (October – December)

Fall (October - December)

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With the cooler weather and shorter days, you may be wondering what you can do to spruce up your garden. Here are a few ideas:

  • Evergreens
  • Shrubs
  • Maple Oaks
  • Rhododendrons
  • Pansies
  • Bulbs

Winter (January – March)

Winter (January - March)

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What can you plant in Vancouver during winter? While it may not seem like much, there are actually quite a few options!

Some vegetables that do well in Vancouver winters include the following:

  • Spinach
  • Kale 
  • Turnips
  • Swiss Chard
  • Apples
  • Pear
  • Daffodils
  • Tulips
  • Crocuses

A Gardening Guide for Vancouver

Whether you’re a gardening novice or a seasoned pro, these tips will help you get your garden looking its best.

Use a Garden Planner

When it comes to gardening, one of the best tips is to use a garden planner. This will help you map your garden to see where everything is supposed to go. It can also help you track what you have planted and where.

A garden planner app is one of the best ways to keep track of your garden. Using an app will allow you to see all the key aspects of your garden, such as plants, border designs, and more. 

If you prefer to do it old school, you can buy a garden journal where you can list down your started seeds, pictures of your garden, bloom times, and many more.

Use a Garden Planner

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You should also consider downloading Vancouver Trees, a mobile app that provides detailed information on commonly grown trees in the Metro Vancouver area.

There is also a large catalog of nearly a thousand different trees, each of which is categorized by its identification features, ecological needs, and availability.

Choose a Garden Spot Based on Sunlight

When planning a garden, sunlight is one of the most important factors to consider. This is why selecting a location for your garden that receives the appropriate amount of light for the plants you want to grow is critical.

When choosing a garden spot, it is important to consider how much sunlight the area receives. 

If you’re growing plants that prefer partial sun or shade, such as perennials like bluebells or rhododendrons, select a size that gets 3 to 6 hours of daylight each day. 

Plants that thrive in direct sunlight, such as sunflowers, petunias, and marigolds, need at least 6 hours of direct sun daily.

See below for some of the most common types of plants and their average sunlight needs: 

BeansDirect Sunlight6 - 8 hours
Sweet PotatoesDirect Sunlight6 - 10 hours
WatermelonsDirect Sunlight6 - 8 hours
SunflowersDirect Sunlight5 - 6 hours
PetuniaDirect Sunlight5 - 6 hours
MarigoldDirect Sunlight5 - 6 hours
BluebellPartial Shade5 - 6 hours
CucumberDirect Sunlight6 - 8 hours
TomatoDirect Sunlight6 - 8 hours
PepperDirect Sunlight6 - 12 hours
RhododendronDirect Sunlight6 - 10 hours
CarrotsPartial Shade6 - 8 hours
PotatoesPartial Shade6 - 8 hours

You can also ask your local nursery or gardening center for advice on which plants will do well in the amount of sunlight your garden spot gets.

Use Good Soil

One of the most essential gardening tips is to use good soil. The soil will give the plants the necessary nutrients to grow healthy and strong. 

Choosing suitable soil for the type of plants you are growing is important. For example, clay soil will hold more water than sandy soil.

Mix in some compost or other organic matter when preparing your garden bed. This will help improve the structure of the soil and increase its ability to hold water and nutrients.

You can use the following garden soils:

Sandy Soil for Spring
Sandy Soil for Spring

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Sandy soil is light and well-drained but doesn’t retain moisture or nutrients well. You can improve sandy soil by adding organic matter, like compost or manure.

If you have sandy soil, you’ll need to water your plants more often than other garden soil types, as sandy soil’s water retaining capacity is feeble, and water quickly percolates down the soil.

Clay Soil for Summer
Clay Soil for Summer

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Clay soil is packed with nutrients that plants need to thrive, but it can be difficult to work with. This type of soil is dense and holds together in a ball when wet. It can be hard to till and prepare for planting, but the effort is worth it. 

Clay soil drains slowly and retains moisture well, so it’s perfect for plants that need consistent watering.

Silt Soil for Summer
Silt Soil for Summer

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Silt Soil is a type of garden soil made up of small particles of clay and organic matter. It has a high water retention capacity and is very fertile. Silt soil is ideal for growing vegetables, fruits, and flowers.

Chalk Soil for Spring and Fall
Chalk Soil for Spring and Fall

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Chalk soil is a type of garden soil that is high in calcium carbonate. Chalk soil is also very light and free-draining, so it doesn’t retain water well.

If you have chalk soil in your garden, you’ll need to take special care when watering plants. They will need frequent watering, as the water will drain away quickly. 

Loam Soil for any season
Loam Soil for any season

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Loam soil is a mix of clay, sand, and silt. It’s considered the ideal soil for gardening since it holds nutrients and moisture well while also allowing excess water to drain away. Loam soil is easy to work with and provides a good plant foundation.

Peat Soil for any season
Peat Soil for any season

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Peat is an accumulation of partially decayed organic matter that forms in wetlands. It’s highly acidic and low in nutrients. They are also very slow to drain, which makes them poorly suited for most plants. 

However, some plants, such as heathers and sedges, prefer these conditions. To grow plants in peat soil, you must amend it with sand or other materials to improve drainage. 

You will also need to provide supplemental fertilizer because peat soils are nutrient-poor.

Water Them Correctly

One of the most critical aspects of gardening is watering your plants correctly. Depending on the type of plant, the climate, and the time of year, you may need to water your plants daily, weekly, or even monthly.

In the table below, we’ve listed some of the most common plants and how much water they need:

Cucumbers25 mm - 50 mm
Watermelons1 inch - 2 inches
Sunflowers500 ml
Shrubs2-3 gallons
Swiss Chard1 inch - 1.5 inches
Apples2.5 cm

It’s important to understand how much water your plants require and how frequently you should water them.

The amount of water your plants need will depend on the season. In Vancouver, we have four seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter.

In the spring, plants start to grow new leaves and stems. They will need more water during this time as they are actively growing. 

During the summer, plants continue growing and need even more water. The hot weather can cause some plants to wilt, so it is important to keep an eye on them and water them as needed. 

Fall is a transition season where days get shorter and cooler. Plants will start to prepare for winter by slowing down their growth. They will need less water during this time. 

In the winter, most plants go dormant and do not grow at all. They will only need watering if they are in a pot that does not have drainage holes.

If you’re unsure how often to water your plants, check the soil before watering. If the soil is dry several inches below the surface, it’s time to water. 

Use Fertilizers

You must use fertilizers if your garden is healthy and thriving. Fertilizers help to provide essential nutrients that plants need to grow. Without these nutrients, plants will become weak and unhealthy.

Many different types of fertilizers are available on the market, so it’s vital to choose the right one for your garden.

Add Fresh Mulch to Your Garden

One of the best ways to keep your garden looking fresh and vibrant is to add a layer of fresh mulch every few months. 

This will help to suppress weeds, retain moisture, and keep the soil temperature consistent. Plus, it will give your garden an extra boost of nutrients!

What You Should Not Do When Planting

Most people know the basic steps of preparing the soil, digging a hole, adding some fertilizer, and then adding the plant. However, there are a few things that you should avoid doing if you want your plants to thrive.

We’ll go over five common mistakes people make when planting so that you can avoid them in the future.


One of the biggest mistakes you can make when planting is overfertilizing. This can lead to several problems, including:

  • Stunted Growth
  • Poor Root Development
  • Yellowing Leaves
  • Excessive Leaf Drop

Not only is overfertilizing bad for your plants, but it can also be bad for the environment. When you overfertilize, the excess nutrients can run into waterways, causing algae blooms and other water quality issues.

Applying Synthetic Fertilizer

If you’re hoping to have a healthy, thriving garden, it’s important to be mindful of what you put into the soil. One common mistake that gardeners make is applying synthetic fertilizer, thinking that it will give their plants a boost. 

Synthetic fertilizer can actually do more harm than good to your plants. This is because they contain high levels of nitrogen and other chemicals that can quickly build up in the soil and eventually lead to problems for your plants. 

Planting in Too Much Shade

One of the most common mistakes gardeners make is planting in too much shade. While some plants can tolerate low light levels, most will not thrive and may even die if they do not receive enough sunlight.

Walk in Your Garden Beds

Another mistake that many gardeners make is walking in their garden beds. This can compact the soil and make it difficult for the roots of your plants to penetrate. 

It can also damage delicate leaves and stems. If you must walk in your garden beds, be sure to do so carefully and avoid damaging any plants.

Ignoring Signs of Pests and Disease

One of the worst things you can do when planting is ignored signs of pests and disease. These problems can quickly spiral out of control, leading to a dead or dying plant. 

Inspect your plants regularly for signs of pests and disease, and take action immediately if you see anything suspicious. You may also want to consider hiring a pest control company or exterminators if things get a bit out of hand.

If you’re new to gardening, don’t fret: all you need to get started is a little inspiration and patience. These tips are an excellent resource for anyone living in the city who has ever wanted to start their own garden.

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