Defining Plant Terms
Scientific vs. Common Names
Common names have a tendency to vary from place to place; one name might refer to two completely different plants in different regions, and one flower might have wildly different names depending on who you ask. This is why it's always a good idea to pay attention to a plant's scientific name (Genus species). While they do sometimes evolve, they are largely consistent across regions, languages, and time.
Some plants are well-suited and commonly used in certain contexts. The plants in this database are categorized as:
- Container Plantings
- Hanging Baskets
- Beds & Borders
- Ornamental Grasses
- Specimen (interior)
- Floor Plant (interior)
- Pot Plant (interior)
- Permanent Color (interior)
- Rotational Color (interior)
Plant form refers to the overall shape or behavior of a plant. Here, we've characterized plants as:
Height & Spread
The measurements of a plant refer to its expected size at maturity. Not leaving enough space for plants to grow can result in over-crowding, so leave a bit of breathing room if the expected height and spread (width) call for it.
Based on the size and character of plants' foliage, they have been sorted into fine, medium, and coarse.
The USDA zone of a plant is one method of determining if it will do well in the climate conditions of a certain location. Zones are established "based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree F zones", and can be seen on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map. The majority of the Texas Panhandle is located in USDA Zone 7.
Many plants perform best in particular lighting conditions. The defined categories for exterior plantings are:
- full shade - 0-2 hours per day
- partial shade - 2-4 hours per day
- light shade - 4-6 hours per day
- full sun - 6+ hours per day
The sunlight categories for interior plantings are:
- low exposure - no direct sunlight necessary
- medium exposure - a mix of direct and reflected sunlight
- high exposure - direct sunlight preferred
- High/low pH
- High organic matter
- High nitrogen