Garden Tips

Plant Zone

Moss Garden Center is located at 5853 feet in the city of Ketchum, Idaho. Our USDA planting zone is 4. This means that our extreme winter temperatures may get as cold as -20 to -30, but there are several microclimates in the area ranging from zone 3 to 5. Many other factors affect cold hardiness, including snow cover, wind, drought and summer temperatures. Some plants may also do better in a protected area, close to a building and out of the wind. At Moss Garden Center we try to only sell perennials that are hardy for our area, but we may sell a perennial that will perform all summer long but won’t come back as a perennial. We encourage our customers to always ask if the plants they are buying is likely come back next year.


Our soil in the Ketchum area is most often rocky, clay-like soil that is a little high in alkaline. The best thing you can do for clay soil is to add organic matter to help break down the clay. There are a number of soil amendments to provide organic matter to your soil. Compost is the best thing you can add to your soil, whether clay-like, rocky or both. Compost will also add nutrients, increase moisture retention and aerate the soil. Other soil amendments that you can add to improve your soil are steer manure, chicken manure and peat moss.

Container Gardens

There are all types of containers you can choose to plant all kinds of flowers, vegetable and herbs. Plastic pots, wooden containers, terra-cotta pots, wine barrels, buckets, crates, wire baskets, and the occasional wheel barrel. The most important factor is that you have good drainage. Whether there is or is not a hole where the water can drain you need to fill the bottom layer of the container with bark, rocks or old pottery shards. Always start with fresh potting soil. This will help provide proper drainage and moisture retention. Think about where you will put this container. Full sun, morning sun, afternoon sun or shade. This is important so you can plant the right plants for the right sun requirements. Are you going to put the container against your house or is going to be sitting on its own? You want to plant taller plants in the back if it is against a wall or only viewed from one side. Plant the taller plants in the middle if it will be seen from all sides. Fill the container fairly full because our growing season only lasts for three months. As you get to the edge look for plants that will cascade or ooze over the sides. When you are finished, water the container with a root stimulator to help prevent transplant shock. Finish by spreading a slow release fertilizer that will feed your plants every time you water.