Hard to believe how time has flown, but the16th DG annual photo contest has begun! Find the details here. Best wishes to all the entrants!!!

How do you use PlantFiles?

(Zone 7a)
There are a total of 129 votes:

I like to check the zip code reports to see what will grow in my area.
(9 votes, 6%)
Red dot

I enjoy adding images to the entries. (if you don't add images, why?)
(17 votes, 13%)
Red dot

I find the member's comments useful.
(42 votes, 32%)
Red dot

I check the hardiness chart before I purchase a plant.
(8 votes, 6%)
Red dot

I use PlantFiles to get ideas for new plants.
(20 votes, 15%)
Red dot

I don't use PlantFiles at all. (why not?)
(7 votes, 5%)
Red dot

Other. (tell us!)
(26 votes, 20%)
Red dot

Previous Polls

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

I use pf for all the listed reasons, except the last one ofcourse. PlantFiles was how I was introduced to DG when I purchased a plant years ago, and wanted to learn more about the plant's culture to begin with. I've been a member ever since.

Kathleen, FL

I like to look up info about plants I don't know about, like how to grow, what conditions they like.

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7b)

I'm like you on this Lily. All the reasons listed except for "I don't use plantfiles." Plantfiles is how I ended up finding Dave's Garden. One of the things that makes this not just a social club with flower pictures and advertising.

central, NJ(Zone 6b)

Same here...looking up info for plant a discovered DG.
Always using Plant files

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

I'm like everyone else...All of the above, except for the 'I don't use PF' answer.

L.A. (Canoga Park), CA(Zone 10a)

All of the above, to a degree, but mainly I add pictures and use it to look up scientific names and correct spellings.

Cedarhome, WA(Zone 8b)

I voted for users comments. It is interesting to get some honest opinions complete with reasoning. I do find a lot of 'invasives' don't seem to bother me as much as others, perhaps because I have acreage to work with so am not confined to smaller areas that can be problematic with over zealous plants.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

I chose other ~ I use it when I've purchased a new plant or to research a plant I might want.
Then I link it to my journal in the appropriate category.
It is a worthwhile feature and it is how I came to DG initially also. I think it must be DG bait! lol

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

I use PF in a number of ways, including adding pics, checking hardiness zones, and reading comments along with countless others, but the main way that use it is to see what a plant/cultivar really looks like before placing an order. That's what I was doing when I found DG to begin with and that's still the most important thing for which I use PF. Because so many vendors use shamefully doctored photos, I look every plant up in PF before I buy. If I'm really lucky, there will be a number of photos so that I can get an 'average' of how it looks.

Royal Oak, MI(Zone 6a)

I voted that I find user comments useful, but like a couple other have posted, I found Dave's Garden by searching for plant info and being directed to a PlantFiles entry. I've active on DG about half the year, and probably use PlantFiles every day I'm here.

Melbourne, KY(Zone 6a)

Ditto to everyone else above! I haven't posted many pics, but I enjoy doing so when I have one to offer.

Big Pine Key, FL(Zone 11)

While I do enjoy adding images or new plants I use Plantfiles mostly for identification of plants that are new to me or plants that I want to identify.

Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

I use Plant Files for all of the reasons listed (except for the last one, obviously) plus some others.

I also love to look at the pictures that other members have posted, even if I already have the plant. If It's something I just planted, it shows me what I have to look forward to. If my plant isn't doing well, it shows me what it should look like. Since many of the plants have several pictures (and some have lots), it gives me a better idea than just looking at pictures in nursery catalogs where the speciman photograghed was grown under the best conditions and the picture may have been "touched up".

Royal Oak, MI(Zone 6a)

Nuts, I do the same! I especially like to see pictures of the overall plant. It's easy to get lured in by a pretty flower, but I want to see what it's going to look like in relation to the rest of my garden.

Sacramento, CA(Zone 9a)

Quote from DreamOfSpring :
I use PF in a number of ways, including adding pics, checking hardiness zones, and reading comments along with countless others, but the main way that use it is to see what a plant/cultivar really looks like before placing an order. That's what I was doing when I found DG to begin with and that's still the most important thing for which I use PF. Because so many vendors use shamefully doctored photos, I look every plant up in PF before I buy. If I'm really lucky, there will be a number of photos so that I can get an 'average' of how it looks.

Took the words right out of my mouth.

L.A. (Canoga Park), CA(Zone 10a)

Yes, that too, to see what the color really looks like.

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7b)

The pictures work for me to EXCEPT when there are 15 pictures of just the flowers and nothing else. Flowers are great, but I want to see what the plant looks like the other 9 months of the year too!

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Same as nuts.

I do enjoy adding photos and comparing how similarly my plants grow to other areas of the country as well as how different some plants are, like daylilies and their colors.

It's the way I found DG years ago and it's what led me to become a subscriber.

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

ditto to what dparsons01 said. i love when someone posts a picture of the whole plant so i can get an idea of form....and yes, PF is how i found DG.

Cedarhome, WA(Zone 8b)

I also like close-ups photos of leaves and emerging from dormancy, how it looks in fall, and in winter.

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

Remember to post images of your own plants during the various growing stages.

We especially need images of the stems, leaf axils, seeds, seed pod/heads, roots and undersides of leaves. There's always a new way to photograph a plant if you put your mind to it and your image might be very helpful to someone researching it.

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

melody, you've got it! I've been wanting to post some unusual seedpods, but have been undecided. Here goes!

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

Thank You!

Other things that we need...bark on trees, terminal buds on tree branches before they leaf out, silhouettes of mature trees in the winter (most have a distinctive shape) Seedlings of trees (or any plant!) Foliage in spring, summer and winter. Weeds and grasses...yep, them too! Folks think 'ornamental' and naturally take pictures of whatever they've nurtured, but plain old Johnson grass or crab grass has a place in PF too. Close-ups of thorns and milky sap from broken stems (if it has milky sap)and hollow stems.

Blooms are nice, but there are so many more aspects to a plant, that many folks are missing great opportunities to contribute.

Melbourne, KY(Zone 6a)

Excellent ideas, Melody, thanks!

Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

melody - you've got me brainstorming now! You're right, of course. There are so many other parts of plants that would be helpful to see.

I've posted buds & a couple of seed heads, but I never really thought about tree bark, for example . . .and what's funny about that is we bought our two River Birch trees mainly because of the beauty of the bark.

Guess I'm going to have to take a lot more pics . . .and at other times of the year, too. Wow . . .my mind is racing!

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

If you color outside the lines just a little, you can come up with many images to add to PF.
Even the veining in leaves is distinctive and an identifying trait.

Davenport, IA(Zone 5a)

You are so right about needing great photos of all aspects of each plants life cycle.

I voted "other", because I have always primarily used plant files to research plants. It's the very reason I joined DG many years ago.

PlantFiles just keeps getting better!

Kure Beach, NC(Zone 9a)

I use it for plant info, pictures and comments. I agree about needing pictures of things of than a plants blooms, so when I can, I post a picture of the seeds, seed pods, seedlings, etc.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

I definately use and contribute to plant files database! It is what brought me to Davesgarden.com

Menifee, CA(Zone 9a)

i think there is a need for a "more thanone answer" choice on these.

all of the above except the dont use one.

i am learning not to buy anything until i check it out on plant files.

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

and sherman, don't forget GW. once you decide to buy "that" plant, buy from a reputable source.

Oviedo, FL(Zone 9b)

Definitely other. I joined Dave's Garden to have unlimited access to the Plant Files. I consult them for all kinds of information and for plant identification. I utililize plant height, spread infomation, zone info etc. You're right about needing photos of various plant parts but you have so many plant photos that this is still a wonderful plant resource, especially now in the era of digital photography.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Oh, now I can put pictures in PF too! I take such lousy pictures that I'm usually embarrassed to upload them....but I ought to be able to get a coreopsis seedling or a balloon flower's milky sap or even than stupid burning bush when it's NOT burning. Gotcha!

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

A year or so back, I took a bunch of pictures of leaves from just ordinary trees around my area, closeups showing the veins and undersides, some just because I liked the abstract patterns they made and others to add data to my journal. I also took pics of bark from various trees to use as a reference for artwork. I took a lot of weed pics to request ID's. I'll have to go back and find some of those and see about adding them to PF. I, too, only thought you wanted the perfect, gorgeous pics of flowers and such, but now that you mention it, I can see how all of those pictures actually include a lot of data about the plants they represent. Such informaiton would add to the richness of PF and make it an invaluable tool for scientists, researchers, and hobbyists alike.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

And it looks like we need to educate 5 voters that don't use PlantFiles at all... hmmm.

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

how could anyone NOT use PF? hmmmm indeed.
speak up yee voters.

Belfield, ND(Zone 4a)

If I might add a little something to Melody's excellent suggestions....when you add a photo to PlantFiles, it's very helpful for both those that use PlantFiles, and the PlantFiles Administration if you add a little comment to the photo when you add it. Then that comment shows up in the photo caption and tells users that the photo is of the 'underside of the Populus deltoides leaf, or just put 'the underside of an Eastern Cottonwood leaf'. I know the photo should speak for itself, and most times it does, but that little bit of additional information is helpful in a lot of ways.

Marin, CA(Zone 9b)

All of the above, but also to see what a plant might look like in a different stage of life, a different season and sometimes the pix available by nurseries are too cute to be true!

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

The stock photo online of Purple Prince is typical of your message, Mrs. Colla. It hasn't been "that" purple for anyone yet. It creates only doubt for the vendor by gardeners who want to believe that what we see is real. I've faced it too many times. Here's a collage showing the stock photo (dark) along with reality.

This is just one great reason for posting photos on Plant Files.

Thumbnail by pirl

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