All living things have certain needs, including plants. Recently, my mother was in desperate need of plant care information. She received a lucky bamboo houseplant that she grew to love and care for over the course of a year. A month ago, within days of giving the bamboo plant a popular plant food, the stalks started to turn yellow. The yellowing started at the roots and slowly moved along the stalks. At first, it was barely noticeable, but within a couple days it was drastic enough that my mother started to panic. Out of desperation, my mother turned to me for help. I turned to the Internet. What I found was a wealth of free plant information online.
The National Garden Association
The first place I looked in my research was Garden.org, which is The National Garden Association website. This is a great resource for gardeners and plant lovers. The easy to navigate site offers a “Quick Search” plant finder that lets you search for plants by Type, USDA Hardiness, Zone, Light Level, etc. The best thing about the site is that it offers expert advice, how-to videos and reference articles to help you solve your plant dilemmas.
The PLANTS Database
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service provides plant information through its website, Plants.usda.gov. This website gives you access to over 40,000 plant images, hundreds of plant guides and fact sheets. The plant information is easy to find using the plant’s symbol, scientific name or common name. This website is a great resource for school papers, scientific study and in-depth plant information.
You can learn how to take care of thousands of indoor and outdoor plants at Plantcare.com. The website even offers a plant encyclopedia and plant forum that can provide plant care advice, tips and information.
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin operates the Wildflower.org website. The website utilizes the Native Plant Information Network to offer plant information about North American native plants and wildflowers. You can also use the database to submit questions or get landscaping tips.
Plant-Care.com helps you tackle some of your biggest gardening and planting woes. This website is a great resource for lawn care tips, plant care help and gardening solutions.
The Missouri Botanical Garden
State botanical gardens are great resources for plant and garden information. The Missouri Botanical Garden’s website, mobot.org, offers valuable information about plants, gardening and pest control. You do not have to be a state resident to access the online resources.
The New York Botanical Garden
After discovering the Missouri Botanical Garden’s website, I turned to my local botanical garden’s website, NYBG.org. In addition to the online resources, The New York Botanical Garden allows you to call and speak to a live person who will listen to your problem and give you expert advice. I ended up calling their Plant Information Hotline (if you are not in the New York area, you can call your local botanical garden for assistance). A kind horticulturist answered my question with expert precision and skill.
The plant expert at the New York Botanical Garden explained that the lucky bamboo plant was not supposed to have the popular plant food my mother gave it. As the expert predicted, the plant died within days of receiving the plant food. Although the plant that started this research did not survive, the best thing that came out of the experience was the discovery of the wealth of information and resources available online about plant care.