Have we ever planted something we know is unlikely to thrive? Unfortunately, yes.

“There’s no such thing as a bad idea.” Well, in the landscape biz, there sometimes is. Like thinking deer will mosey right on past your hibiscus. Planting camellias on a beachfront property to honor your Aunt Sophie. Insisting on azaleas for a new-build that doesn’t have a stitch of shade anywhere.

ArtisTree landscape designers have worked with thousands of customers who believe they can sidestep the inevitable. These are folks who are willing to take their chances and accept their losses with the solace that they at least gave it a shot. Sort of like the lotto. You can’t win if you don’t play.

So let’s say your mind is set in stone about a plant that’s destined not to thrive in our area. Here are three responses you can expect from ArtisTree landscape designers.

ArtisTree never wants a homeowner to risk planting something that won’t survive in our area. That’s why we put certain protections in place. Here are three ways we respond:

1. It’s a bad idea.

If your desire for a specific plant just plain won’t fly, we’ll tell you so and explain why. We’ll address plants that do and don’t do well in our service area (Zones 9A-10B in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties). We’ll discuss nuances that make a huge difference in a plant’s ability to thrive – nuances like climate differences between Lakewood Ranch and Venice Beach or between gulf coast properties and those east of I-75. We’ll give you the dirt on soil composition and why it’s not all the same even though the zip code might be. And if you bring a book written by a California author showing west coast plants you want to plant here, we’ll educate. Same thing holds true if you’re working with a landscape architect in Tallahassee who may not know what very specific plants will do well in our area.

Most of the time customers find these discussions convincing and satisfying, especially when our designers recommend other options to meet their size & color needs. Options are based on our extensive expertise, horticultural knowledge and longtime familiarity with geographical locations we serve.

If you insist on planting a Norway Spruce “Christmas tree” in Sarasota, you’re taking a big risk. It’s ArtisTree’s responsibility to tell you why.

2. We’ll buy/install your plants if you insist, but…

It’s happened. We’ve had customers who still want what they want, even though we’ve explained why their desired choices will fizzle out in our area. Given the high probability of their plant’s low survival rate, we’ll include language in our contract specifying that their selection(s) will not be covered by ArtisTree’s plant warranty. This often turns the conversation around, where the customer will have second thoughts and agree to our informed recommendations.

3. We’ll install but you buy.

A third scenario is a derivation of our second one, providing for situations where customers want to select plants that don’t do well here and have even sourced them from growers located far outside our service area (think Georgia or South Carolina). If these customers insist, they can buy and we’ll dig the holes. These plant selections will not be covered by ArtisTree Landscape’s plant warranty.

We’ll dig the holes but your plants won’t be covered by ArtisTree’s plant warranty.


Essentially, all three of these responses are ArtisTree’s way of telling you that if you insist on planting a Norway Spruce in our service area of Zones 9A-10B, you’re taking a risk. It’s a bad idea, and it’s our responsibility to tell you why. (And we’ll likely recommend a viable option to achieve the look you want: a handsome Southern Red Cedar.)

Great idea! This ArtisTree-installed Southern Red Cedar is thriving in Lakewood Ranch. Right plant, right place, right choice.

Contact ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance & Design.

Ready to get your dream landscape off the ground? We encourage you to complete ArtisTree’s landscape design questionnaire and then give us a call at 941.488.8897, ext. 312, to meet with one of our award-winning landscape designers. ArtisTree proudly serves Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties.

ArtisTree Landscape

ArtisTree also provides landscape maintenance services for HOA communities . Contact Michael Casper at 941.488.8897 for your proposal. Our services include irrigation/water management, turf/ornamental maintenance, mulching and seasonal color.  

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