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PlantFiles: The Largest Plant Identification Reference Guide - Dave's Garden

PlantFiles is the largest plant database in the world, with information and photos for 206,371 different plants! View our 360,751 images and read our 133,419 detailed and helpful comments. Search for a plant by its common or botanical name using the green button below, or scroll down the page and browse through hundreds of popular cultivars, or search for plants by their characteristics (height, hardiness, etc.)

Discover which plants grow well in your area, and which plants to avoid. Join the 57,705 gardeners, PlantFiles Pioneers and Uber Gardeners who contribute to PlantFiles, and share what you know.

Browse the most popular cultivars in PlantFiles

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Azaleas and Rhododendrons
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Hardy Geraniums
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Onions and Garlic
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  The Latin word of the week  

Botanical names are designed to represent some specific characteristic of the plant, either identifying its country or area of origin, its preferred habitat, a namesake associated with the plant, or an adjective that somehow describes its form, bloom color, etc.

Dozens of species use the adjective "elegans" as the species name. It is easily translated from the Latin word to our modern-day equivalent term "elegant", and conjures up images of a plant distinguished with a refined style or particularly tasteful in its form or manner.

Among the plants that bear this epithet is the common garden zinnia. Zinnia elegans is the most well-known of the genus, and many of the modern forms were developed from the wild plant which is native to Mexico and described by Dr. Johann Gottfried Zinn, for whom the genus is named. Zinnias are a great plant for the garden and bouquet, but it does beg the question: What was von Jacquin looking at when he decided on this particular botanical name?

  The Plant of the Week  
Chinese Peony 'Festiva Maxima'
Paeonia lactiflora

'Festiva Maxima' is a fragrant peony that has been in cultivation for over 150 years. It is well loved by experts and novices alike as it produces a wonderful sweet-smelling show with very little effort. The soft white petals splashed with flecks of crimson are stunning in the garden or in cut arrangements.

Peonies are of the genus Paeonia and are native to Asia, western America and some parts of southern Europe. Chinese artists have used peonies in their works for centuries, with the ancient city of Luoyang reported to be the center of cultivation. The name 'Peony' loosely translates as "flower of riches and honor" in China.

Peonies can be planted in the early autumn, as this gives the plant a chance to establish a root system necessary for blooming. Place the tuber in the soil so that the eyes are no deeper than 2 inches below the surface. Peonies that are planted too deeply may fail to bloom. Give them room to grow, as some plants can spread as much as 3 feet. Peonies are long-lived and it is not unusual for them to live over 50 years.

It is also possible to extend your peony enjoyment by cutting peony buds when they have swollen to a size larger than a golf ball. Remove the leaves, wrap the bud in a newspaper cone and then in a cellophane sleeve and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Place in water at room temperature to coax the bloom to open up.

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Type of plant: Perennials

Bloom color: Scarlet (Dark Red), White/Near White

Bloom time of year: Late Spring/Early Summer

Sun requirements: Full Sun, Sun to Partial Shade

Cold hardiness: Zone 3a to Zone 8b

Height: 24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Spacing: 24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

  Bloom of the Day for July 24, 2014  

Shyleaf Jointvetch
(Aeschynomene americana)

Type of plant: Herbs, Perennials

Bloom color: Pale Yellow

Bloom time of year: Late Spring/Early Summer, Mid Summer, Late Summer/Early Fall

Sun requirements: Sun to Partial Shade

Cold hardiness: Zone 8a to Zone 10b

Height: 36-48 in. (90-120 cm), 4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

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