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Vendor Information on Plant Culture:  How Reliable Is It?

By LarryR
February 28, 2013

How reliable is growing information provided by mail order nurseries? Unfortunately, less than you might think.

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Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
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Xeramtheum
Feb 27, 2013 6:31 PM CST
Interesting comparisons .. I've noticed too that there doesn't really seem to be any consistent information about plants anywhere and tend to push zones. Considering we all probably have micro-climates in our gardens I pretty much consider the information suggestions and not the rule.
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
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RickCorey
Feb 27, 2013 8:34 PM CST
Thanks for chasing that down in detail! I had already started to think that when look some gardening question up in more than one place, I get differing answers. But you made it scientific!

Maybe some information truly is variable and depends on too many things to quantify easily, like height and bloom size.

I think other answers come from someone who tried it one way once, and the plants didn't die, so now he's an expert and knows the One True Way to grow something.

If I change two practices at the same time, and the plants stop dieing, I probably pick one of those things randomly and decide that was what made the difference and must be important!
Shrug!

Maybe some companies know that they have to list SOMETHING under "cultural advice", but their budget for getting it right isn't enough, so a lot of copy-and-paste is done.

Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
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valleylynn
Feb 28, 2013 12:51 AM CST
Very informative article Larry. I have found discrepancies in information many times when researching a plant. So far I have found our ATP database to be the most accurate. It is easy to see if someone in my growing zone and conditions has the plant. Then just Tree-mail them to find out what their experience is.

By the way, that is one beautiful iris.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Feb 28, 2013 9:21 AM CST
A great deal of plants and seeds are sold by marketers and NOT by gardeners.
I usually consult several non marketing sources.
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
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LarryR
Feb 28, 2013 11:05 AM CST
Thanks very much, all, for your input and for sharing your personal experiences. Thumbs up
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Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Feb 28, 2013 5:11 PM CST
Thank you for sharing your excellent research, Larry.

The color of your flower is beautiful, the picture keeps catching my eye! I'm starting to think I too need to grow the Louisiana iris cultivar, ‘Black Gamecock’ in my garden.
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cottage Gardener Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
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LarryR
Mar 1, 2013 10:19 AM CST
Thanks, Christine. It certainly is a spectacular flower. Thumbs up
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!

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