Identifying plants used to be a long, tedious process, but with the availability of free online plant encyclopedias, the information is generally accessible in just a few minutes. With the most rudimentary information, you can identify a plant and learn all about it without ever leaving the room.
How Free Online Plant Encyclopedias Work
Different free online plant encyclopedia websites have diverse steps and links to access information, just like many other free online encyclopedias and free online dictionaries. You have options to search for plants by common or Latin names, type, foliage color, alphabetically, geographic region or other characteristics of the plant. Each website is a little different, but all are easy to navigate and generally provide much more information than the average searcher may count on finding.
Better Homes and Gardens
This comprehensive website provides information on a wide range of topics that concern homes and gardens. The site's Plant Encyclopedia provides a search box to type in the Latin or common name of the plant in question or you can search by category. Just check one of the boxes to choose a category from Annual, Perennial, Bulb, Rose, Vegetable, Herb, Fruit, Indoor Plant, Tree, Shrub, Vine or Water Plant. You can further narrow the search by choosing the type of light the plant requires, how tall it will grow and how it will thrive in the zip code you provide. Full color photos are displayed for each plant chosen for exploration. Once you find the plant information you are seeking, other links can help you with data on edible plant gardening, container gardening and how to plan a garden to fit your space and needs.
Floridata finds plants and their descriptions in their database through searching by name or partial name of the plant. It cannot, however, search two-word names, which generates an error message. It recommends that users perform a Google search for multiple-word plant names. The home page can only search by the Latin botanical name and directs users to the Search Page to hunt by common name or to the Plant Tag Lists link to search by features, types or characteristics. To view an image of each plant, move your mouse pointer over the sunflower icon next to each plant description. For people who are savvy at reading and interpreting spreadsheets, an advanced search on Floridata brings up a grid that displays a USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Hardiness zone filter and options to view thumbnail photos of each plant.
The Power of Knowledge
Having these handy sources available is empowering. You can choose both indoor and outdoor plants with confidence, and rest assured that your choices will appeal to your aesthetic tastes, thrive in your particular environment and stay healthy if you follow the care and maintenance guidelines provide by these online encyclopedias. Being able to access this information from home also saves you money through avoiding the purchase of inappropriate plants and gives you more time to enjoy gardening.