Plant Basics

  • What Is a Herbaceous Perennial?

    Herbaceous perennials are any of the thousands of soft-stemmed plants capable of surviving the winter cold in their locations for three year or more years. Read More

  • Difference Between Cacti and Succulents

    Cactuses and succulents share common traits, but cactuses belong to a distinct plant family within the succulent group. Read More

  • Gardening With Melons

    Learn about melons and watermelons and how to care for your own melon patch without filling the garden with rampantly growing vines. Read More

  • Gardening with Heirlooms

    Use a variety of heirloom vegetables or flowers to build a garden filled with old-fashioned favorites. Read More

  • Can Stolon Plants Grow on Top of Weed Barriers?

    Weed barriers vary as much as the preferences of the gardeners who use them. Some gardeners rely on synthetic solutions such as impermeable black plastic or porous landscape fabric. Others… Read More

  • Is a Christmas Cactus an Acid-Loving Plant?

    Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera spp.) explodes into brilliant bloom between late autumn and spring, while most other plants enjoy a well-earned siesta. Also known as zygo, holiday, Thanksgiving or crab cactus,… Read More

  • How to Repot a Christmas Cactus if It Is Pot Bound

    With their waxy flowers and segmented stems, Christmas cactuses (Schlumbergera x buckleyi) are usually grown as houseplants, but grow outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through… Read More

  • Mushrooms of the Northeast

    Neither plants nor animals, mushrooms occupy their own kingdom as one of the mysteries of the natural world, and what little is visible of them above the soil is often… Read More

  • Are Gooseberry Thorns Poisonous?

    Gooseberries are close relatives of the currant, Ribes spp., and have a fruit that’s edible when it’s ripe. Both the American gooseberry, Ribes hirtellum, and the European gooseberry, Ribes grossularia,… Read More

  • When Do I Need to Fertilize?

    Adding fertilizer to your lawn and garden is a healthy practice that ensures your growing plants receive adequate nutrition. While plants make their own food through the process of photosynthesis,… Read More

  • Is Cordyline Fruticosa Poisonous to Dogs?

    Ti plants (Cordyline fruticosa or terminalis) add tropical beauty to almost any landscape -- indoors or out. Desirable for their colorful foliage, sweet-smelling flowers and hardy nature, ti plants are… Read More

  • Five-Pointed Star Flowers That Are Vines

    Star-shaped, five-petaled flowers are characteristic of many plant species, some of which also have a vining habit. When making an identification, it is important to focus on other plant features,… Read More

  • How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies on a Ponytail Palm

    Usually just a gentle indication to reduce watering, fruit flies rarely bother fuss-free ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata). Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 11, ponytail… Read More

  • Can I Use Grilling Charcoal in the Bottom of a Plant?

    Charcoal is often used to improve soil and drainage when placed underneath a plant in a pot. There are different types of charcoal, however, and grilling charcoal is not the… Read More

  • The Disease of a Cedar Tree Dying From the Top Down

    Cedars are evergreen trees and shrubs from several different genera and species. Their hardiness varies depending on species, but fragrant needles and pest resistance make cedar trees and shrubs a… Read More

  • What Can I Spray Hollyhocks With to Stop Bugs From Eating Them?

    Tall and showy, hollyhocks (Alcea rosea) add a splash of vertical color to any landscape, especially when planted along fences or walls. The effect is somewhat lessened, however, if the… Read More

  • What Stinging Nettles Look Like in Spring

    Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), also known simply as nettle, grows in moist, shady environments throughout North America. An herbaceous perennial, hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 2… Read More

  • How to Identify Chicory

    Common chicory (Cichorium intybus) is a weed that's often found along roadsides, pastures, disturbed open areas and undeveloped landscapes. It usually grows in areas with full sunlight and clay or… Read More

  • Natural Bug Destroyers

    When an insect pest moves into your garden, there are alternative methods of controlling it rather than reaching for the insecticide. Integrated pest control management calls for deciding what population… Read More

  • How to Transplant a Bougainvillea From the Ground to a Container

    Although frequently seen growing down walls as it cascades from balconies and hanging baskets, bearing prolific blooms in vivid colors, bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spp.) is no fragile wallflower. However, growing it… Read More

  • Where Is the Cotyledon in a Coconut?

    Coconuts (Cocos nucifera) are slow-growing, exceptionally useful, giant seeds. Coconuts, which grow on tall palm trees, provide everything from meat, called copra, and food-grade oil to durable fibers used to… Read More

  • Does Jasmine Attract Wasps?

    Jasmine shrubs and vines (Jasminus spp.) have tubular-throated yellow, white or pink flowers. More than 2,000 species are known, but only a few are cultivated. The blossoms of some jasmine… Read More

  • Are Passion Vine Leaves Poisonous?

    Passion vine (Passiflora incarnata) is a visually stunning plant from the genus Passiflora. The leaves, fruit and seeds of passiflora species have been used historically in the form of tinctures,… Read More

  • Why Do Grape Clusters Dry Out on the Vine?

    Growing grapes (Vitis spp.) remains an interesting challenge to many gardeners. Some grapevines' fruits can be eaten straight from the vines, but most are used to make jams, jellies and… Read More

  • What Type of Bug Infests the Dwarf Pine Tree?

    Most pine trees suffer from the much the same insect problems, whether they are dwarf pine trees or not. Popular dwarf pines, such as mugo pines (Pinus mugo), hardy in… Read More

  • Is a Large Lima Bean a Dicot?

    Seed-bearing plants are classified based on the number of seed leaves they have. Seeds that have only one seed leaf, such as corn, are monocots. Seeds that germinate with two… Read More

  • Mexican Petunia Disease

    The many names for the Mexican petunia (Ruellia brittoniana) include “common ruellia” or “wild petunia.” This herbaceous shrub grows as a perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones… Read More

  • When to Cut Back From Feather Reed Grass?

    A cool-season ornamental grass, feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora) breaks dormancy early in spring and is among the first grasses to bloom. With cultivars hardy in U.S. Department of… Read More

  • Are Tobacco Trees Toxic to Dogs?

    Tree tobacco (Nicotiana glauca) is a fast-growing plant that can shoot up to 10 feet tall in a single growing season. Hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones… Read More

  • How to Branch a Dracaena

    Dracaenas, numerous species within the genus of the same name, are evergreen trees and shrubs enjoyed for their sword-shaped leaves and a variety of different growth habits and leaf characteristics.… Read More

  • How to Prune a Cathedral Cactus

    Not really a cactus but a succulent euphorbia native to southwest Africa, cathedral cactus (Euphorbia trigona) has a number of common names, including good luck plant and African milk tree.… Read More

  • Watering Hibiscus with Vinegar

    There are several types of hibiscus (Hibiscus spp.), but across the genus they are known for their lovely, colorful blooms. If your hibiscus has lighter, unhealthy-looking or yellow leaves, it… Read More

  • Does Green Ivy Have a Lobed Margin?

    Ivies are climbing or trailing plants with glossy, evergreen leaves native to much of the temperate world. Though probably most often thought of in connection with their climbing abilities --… Read More

  • Is It Bermuda or Quackgrass?

    Bermudagrass (Cynoden spp.) and quackgrass (Elymus repens or Elytrigia repens) are both perennial grass species that have a spreading habit and can be unwanted or invasive. Knowing which grass you… Read More

  • How Long Can the Roots of a Succulent Be Exposed?

    Most plant roots die back quickly when you leave them exposed to drying air and sunlight; they only thrive in moist, nutrient-rich soil. Succulents, such as cactus species (Cactaceae), hardy… Read More

  • Can Ginger Be Grown in Pennsylvania?

    Culinary ginger (Zingiber officinale), also known as ginger root or Chinese ginger, grows as a perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 12. The hardiness zones… Read More

  • What is the Staghorn Adaptation?

    Not all plants can survive in all environments. For example, tropical plants will die in arid deserts. Adaptation is how one or more plant features may increase a species’ ability… Read More

  • How Fast Do Staghorn Ferns Grow During the Summer?

    Naturally grown as epiphytes, staghorn ferns (Platycerium spp.) harmlessly cling to tree branches as they hang downward in the canopy's shade. These bushy evergreens grow slowly, up to 4 feet… Read More

  • Mixing Succulents & Perennials in Landscape Design

    If you've pondered a landscape scheme that will stand out from the rest of the neighborhood, then a combination of colorful perennials and textured succulents may be the ideal solution.… Read More

  • How to Get Rid of Bull Thistle Naturally in Texas

    Bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare) is in the aster family and produces a purple flower -- but the pleasant similarity stops there. This invasive biennial blooms in its second year, and… Read More

  • Types of Ferns Found in New Mexico

    Although ferns are generally though to grow in lush, moist environments, there is a large group of ferns that tolerate the tough desert conditions of New Mexico. This arid to… Read More

  • Common Succulents

    Succulents make popular houseplants, due to their forgiving natures and low water requirements. They do well in arid yards as well, tucked into rock gardens or used as specimen or… Read More

  • Passion Vine Wilting and Brown Spots

    The passionflower vine (Passiflora edulis) is known for its unusual purple flowers and the edible large, orange-yellow berries it produces. The flower has a fringe of sometimes wavy and crimped… Read More

  • What Does It Mean When the Leaves of Vinca Flowers Turn Yellow?

    Annual vinca (Catharanthus roseus) is known for producing a riot of blooms from June through to the first frost. It makes an excellent groundcover or filler for beds, and its… Read More

  • Life Cycle of a Golden Barrel Cactus

    Golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii) is a spiny, ribbed cactus that grows in an unbranched spherical or cylindrical form. It is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones… Read More

  • Senecio Plants

    The plants of the genus Senecio often produce attractive flowers and foliage, and their appealing characteristics lead gardeners to bring the plants into their gardens. While some Senecio species are… Read More

  • Fun Facts on Sugar Cane

    Sugar cane (Graminae, Poaceae Saccharum officinarum L.) is a bamboo-like plant grown as a perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 to 11. Unable to withstand cold… Read More

  • Spiraea Douglasii Growth Conditions

    Spiraea douglasii, commonly called Western spirea, is a low-maintenance landscape plant with a relatively long blooming season and attractive foliage. It is relatively undemanding with its growth requirements. On top… Read More

  • What Is the Special Adaptation That Helped the Kudzu Survive?

    Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) is a perennial vine from China that is extremely invasive in the southeastern United States. It can grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5… Read More

  • Drought-Tolerant Ferns

    Ferns call to mind lush, moist, shady environments. But some ferns grow in environments where little water is available, like the desert. These ferns are called xeric ferns, and are… Read More

  • Does Spirea Grow in Shade?

    Spireas (Spiraea spp.) are prized for their sometimes colorful foliage and always prolific blooming, but their flowers come at a price: Spirea shrubs need a lot of sunlight. Although more… Read More

  • Difference in Perlite & Vermiculite

    Perlite and vermiculite are staples in soilless potting mixes. Their –ite suffixes denote their mineral compositions, but that’s where their similarities end. They differ in origin, appearance and uses. Although… Read More

  • How to Transplant Nandina Domestica

    Nandina domestica, commonly called heavenly bamboo, is a perennial shrub that grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 9. The plant has evergreen or semi-evergreen leaves… Read More

  • How to Prune the Corylus Americana

    The American hazelnut (Corylus americana), also commonly called American filbert, is a large deciduous shrub that reaches a mature size of up to 16 feet tall and 13 feet wide.… Read More

  • Splitting Staghorn Plants

    Staghorn ferns (Platycerium spp.) require little light or care to grow into large plants, adding interest to the home décor. Staghorn ferns can be grown outdoors in the filtered light… Read More

  • What Type of Plants Go Through Vegetative Reproduction by Tubers?

    Vegetative reproduction, or vegetative propagation, can occur through tubers, stems, stolons and bulbs. Some plants, such as the Irish potato (Solanum tuberosum), reproduce only through tubers while certain species of… Read More

  • Seaside Native Grasses

    Native grasses that grow near the seaside have to be able to survive under conditions that might damage or kill most plants. Soils tend to be sandy and drain very… Read More

  • What Do You Call Plants That Can't Make Their Own Food?

    Saprophytic plants are part of a group of organisms called heterotrophs, which are plants and organisms that do not make their own food. Fungi also belong to this group. Saprophytic… Read More

  • When to Add Vermiculite to Soil

    Vermiculite is a nonorganic additive that can help change the texture or moisture-retention ability of your soil. It doesn't add any nutritional benefits to your soil the way compost or… Read More

  • Is the Ranunculus a Dicot?

    The genus Rununculus includes among other species a wide range of buttercups, golden-flowered perennials that hail from parts of Europe and Asia. In the garden these cheerful plants provide a… Read More

  • Classification of Camellia Sinensis

    All tea plants are varieties or cultivars of Camellia sinensis, a species of Camellia, a genus that includes from 150 to 200 species, many of them known for their showy… Read More

  • How to Prepare Dahlias for Show

    Dahlias (Dahlia x hybrida) are single stem disbuds, meaning exhibition requires only a single flower at the tip of a stem. Judges rate dahlias in categories such as color, condition,… Read More

  • The Difference Between Carnations & Violets

    Carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus), African violets (Saintpaulia ionantha) and violets (Viola spp.) share very few common features or characteristics. Their differences are profound, including how they're commonly used and cared for.… Read More

  • Is Trillium Poisonous?

    Trilliums (Trillium spp.) are graceful woodland plants desirable for their distinctive, three-petaled flowers and ease of care. The plants thrive in cool, moist conditions and grow best in U.S. Department… Read More

  • Wilting of a Succulent

    Succulents are a prominent class of plants in arid areas with limited water use, and make beautiful additions to many types of gardens, from knot gardens to desert landscaping. Many… Read More

  • Controlling Disease on a Flax Lily

    Flax lily (Dianella spp.) is a group of about 20 to 30 plants that feature attractive grass-like foliage and grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through… Read More

  • Why Will Plant Roots Not Develop Out of the Container Shape?

    As you pull a new sapling or other plant out of its container for transplanting, you reveal the familiar root entanglement from being container-bound. Twisted and curling roots are usually… Read More

  • How to Prune Cycads

    Cycads, a prehistoric plant family, resemble palm trees with their large, green fronds and rough trunks. These tropical plants thrive in warm environments, growing easily without extreme coaxing or care.… Read More

  • How to Root an Aucuba Japonica

    Also known as Japanese laurel, Aucuba japonica is an attractive evergreen shrub with broad, shiny leaves. The plant grows best in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 to… Read More

  • Aquaponics vs. Hydroponics

    Because hydroponics and aquaponics.both relate to water, confusing them with each other is simple. Both are non-traditional methods to grow plants using a water source, but aquaponics has the added… Read More

  • What Is the Procedure for Rooting Yew Cuttings?

    Rooting cuttings from a mature plant is one way growers and gardeners multiply their supply of many kinds of deciduous and evergreen perennials, shrubs and trees. Success is not always… Read More

  • Full Sun Varieties of Moss

    Few moss varieties can withstand full sunlight. Two exceptions, Irish and Scotch moss (Sagina subulata and Sagina subulata ‘Aurea’) can both withstand full sun or partial shade. Their hardiness and… Read More

  • How to Care for Neoregelia

    Native to the Americas, Neoregelia bromeliads are interesting outdoor plants in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 11, but most gardeners grow the plants indoors. Neoregelia is… Read More

  • How to Germinate Ficus Benghalensis

    Ficus benghalensis, also called the banyan tree, can grow to around 100 feet tall outdoors, but it also thrives as a houseplant and makes an excellent bonsai specimen. Because this… Read More

  • How to Get Rid of Ants & Slugs in My Potting Plants

    Ants and slugs are a problem for plant lovers. They are not selective and will visit any plant that has beneficial resources, even potted plants. Slugs enjoy eating the tender… Read More

  • How to Keep Lettuce From Freezing in the Refrigerator

    It's a terrible feeling to start pulling out ingredients for your favorite meal only to discover that your lettuce is frozen solid; it takes awhile to defrost and the texture… Read More

  • How to Care for Agapanthus in the Winter

    Agapanthus, commonly known as Lily of the Nile, African Blue Lily and African lily is a native plant of South Africa. It has flowers from early summer until fall. Agapanthus… Read More

  • How to Make a Punnett Square for a Self-Fertilized Plant

    Often there is more than one variant of a gene in a given population; these variants are called alleles. Punnett squares are a simple visual aid to help you calculate… Read More

  • How to Hand Pollinate Dragon Fruit Flowers

    The dragon fruit cactus, or Hylocereus undatus, blossoms only at night. The flower lasts for one night before it perishes. The cactus depends on bats and moths for pollination. If… Read More

  • The Difference Between Wintergreen & Japanese Boxwood

    Evergreen shrubs provide color and textured interest during the winter months. Both boxwood (Buxus spp.) and wintergreen (Gaultheria spp.) display small, oval, broadleaf foliage, not needles as in the case… Read More

  • Hardy Zones for Birds of Paradise

    Birds of paradise are attractive, often colorful plants that get their name from their bird-like appearance. While most come from the Strelitziaceae family, there are other types of flowering plants… Read More

  • How to Care for a Black Rose Succulent Plant

    Black rose succulents are a variety of Aeonium known by the cultivar name of ‘Zwartkop’ and grow in United States Department of Agriculture growing zones 9, 10 and 11. The… Read More

  • What Kind of Plants Do Well in Containers and Provide Privacy?

    The root structures and growth habits of many plants make them candidates for container cultivation. Large shrubs, vigorous vines and small-to-medium trees perform well in containers when their cultural needs… Read More

  • How to Get Rid of a Tumbleweed Plant

    Russian thistle, commonly known as the tumbleweed plant, is a spiny non-native plant categorized as a noxious weed. Russian thistle is characterized by long, spiny green stems growing in a… Read More

  • How to Trim Heliconia

    Heliconia plants are known for producing colorful leaves, or bracts. The actual flowers produced by these tropical plants can be found within the bracts themselves. There are roughly 100 separate… Read More

  • How to Grow Pittosporum From the Seed

    The genus Pittosporum contains many different trees and shrubs, including cheesewood, lemonwood, matipo and channon, among many others. Most Pittosporum varieties have dark green leaves, with some dwarf varieties having… Read More

  • How to Grow Star Jasmine in Containers

    Although not a true jasmine, the star jasmine (Trachelospermum Jasminoides) has fragrant flowers similar to a true jasmine, so it's referred to as a jasmine. Also known as confederate jasmine,… Read More

  • How to Make Food for Plants With Epsom Salts

    Epsom salt gets its name from Epsom, England, where Epsom salt was most distilled from local spring water. Epsom salt has a variety of practical uses. Because it is a… Read More

  • Signs of CO2 Toxicity in Plants

    CO2, also known as carbon dioxide, is a necessary element to plant life. Plants absorb carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and use it to complete photosynthesis, making them very… Read More

  • How to Dry an Overwatered Plant

    Over watering is the leading cause of death in houseplants, according to university extension horticulturalists. In many cases, an over-watered plant begins losing new and old leaves at the same… Read More

  • Weeds That Look Like Cabbage Plants

    Many weeds resemble commercial cabbages. A number of these plants are from the same Brassica family as cultivated cabbage. Some are used as ornamentals, while others are wild-growing remnants of… Read More

  • How to Care for a Dwarf Spruce Tree Indoors

    Many varieties of spruce trees also grow in dwarf forms, such as the Dwarf Alberta Spruce and Dwarf Globe Blue Spruce. Dwarf spruce trees resemble their traditional relatives in every… Read More

  • Facts About the Jalapeno Pepper

    Jalapenos are small green peppers best known for their hotness and are used in a variety of savory dishes. Once only sold in Mexican specialty food stores or at farmers’… Read More

  • Triploid Plants

    Although it sounds like something from a science-fiction novel, polyploidy is common in plants. Chromosomes typically appear in the cell in sets of two. However, sometimes when the cell divides,… Read More

  • How Fast Will Phyllostachys Bissetii Spread?

    Native to China, Bisset's bamboo (Phyllostachys bissetii) entered the United States in the 1940s through the plant-collecting and evaluation efforts of David Bisset in Savannah, Georgia. Like other running bamboos… Read More

  • How to Care for Potted Mums Indoors

    When you purchase a potted mum (Chrysanthemum), you want to enjoy the plant for as long as you can. Although most mums usually bloom in the fall, they have been… Read More

  • Why Do They Glue the Rocks Down in Potted Plants?

    It is common to find plants with rock mulch on top of the soil or pot. This may be glued on, which poses a problem for transplanting. Glued rocks in… Read More

  • Tips on Bamboo Leaves Turning Brown

    Bamboo is prized for its lush, green foliage and stems. Keep leaves looking their best with a combination of cultural tips and natural pest control. Read More

  • Can Cactus Freeze?

    Even the most novice gardeners are aware that plants can and will freeze when weather temperatures dip below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Several different factors help determine how susceptible a particular… Read More

  • Using Coal Ash Fertilizer

    Fertilizers replenish nutrients in garden soil to nourish plants and encourage healthy growth. Different types of fertilizers provide different types of nourishment. Coal ash is one such fertilizer. Coal ash… Read More

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