Site Talk forum: Using the Plant Database

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Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
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ShadyGreenThumb
Apr 2, 2016 9:50 PM CST
I have a slight criticism and I mean this in the kindest way. Lovey dubby When I have a question about a plant new to me or a plant new to my memory, Rolling on the floor laughing I would like ATP Plant Database to be the first place I come to. I would love for it to answers simple questions so that I don't have to bother the forums for answers. I wish that that when you look up a plant that it also gives good information on planting i.e. soil, depth, etc. For example, no where in the database for orchids does it mention that the best soil is no soil at all but rather orchid bark. No where does it say to get rid of the moss found in most store-bought pots. And there is no explanation that a "special" orchid pot is best. (A lot of that info I learned on the forums)

Often I can find this information when I hit "edit" next to General information. I do this often because this type of info us usually lacking at first look. Often the information I need is not there and I have to search Google for the simplest things. Is there a way to include basic information for someone who is new to the plant? Also, I had to Google terms like "mesic" to understand that entry. Plain English for those of us who aren't Master Gardeners would be helpful as well.

While forums are most helpful, if a non-member just happened upon this site and database via Google Search, my guess the simplest information about a plant is what they are looking for (as I do). Just a thought. XXXOOO
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
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ShadyGreenThumb
Apr 4, 2016 1:12 PM CST
I got a couple thumbs, 42 views but no comments on this? How do you all use the database with its lacking of very general plant care info? @dave
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
Clematis Irises Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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zuzu
Apr 4, 2016 1:56 PM CST

Plants Admin

Our database is quite young (not even 5 years old) in the grand scheme of things. It's still a work in progress. Our database depends on the contributions of members. Some members have written hundreds of comments and have submitted thousands of data proposals. Others have not contributed much. The best way to ensure that this type of information is available is to add data and comments to the database. When you have to look up a plant on Google to get this information, please consider adding it to our database.
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Apr 4, 2016 2:53 PM CST
I use the database almost everyday, but I am mostly looking for the Id of a particular plant. I think that is the main reason people use the database here, so many excellent photos.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Apr 4, 2016 3:01 PM CST
I've learned to Google for information about how to grow plants. So many of our database entries are just names, or names plus photos.

Sometimes if you go to the "genus" entry or find a "parent plant page" there will be more general inromation.

But my impression is that any information on a parent Plant page that is not true for EVERY member of that genus, will be removed. Hence it will tend NOT to have "general advice" that would apply to most plants int hat genus, unless it applied to EVERY plant.

Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Charter ATP Member Spiders! Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Pennsylvania Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Ponds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey
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Ursula
Apr 4, 2016 3:17 PM CST
Cheryl, I hear you.
Now you used Orchids as an example, in this case especially, the answer is simply not that straight forwards. You can grow that same Orchid in bark, in Sphagnum, pebbles, Coconut fiber, mounted on wood, tied to a seashell and all are correct depending on where you live and what your growing conditions are.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
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greene
Apr 4, 2016 3:57 PM CST
How do I use the database? Hmmm? Shrug!

Sometimes I look for answers and information on the ATP database but other times I add information. When I have free time like on rainy days or during the non-gardening season I make it a point to select a plant with zero information, research and add as much information as possible. I also search for photos on the internet and obtain permission to add the photos to our database. If each person could spare a few hours a month to add information and photos our ATP database would become more perfect.

That being said I never rely on only one source when I am looking for information about a plant. The more sources, the better the overall picture will be. Getting information from folks in different climates, zones, countries gives a better overall picture of the possibilities for each plant. (Just my opinion.)

Looking on the ATP database is sort of impersonal; asking a question and receiving answers from the ATP community...well, that's what it's all about! Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Apr 4, 2016 7:13 PM CST
I save my nursery tags after planting out to add a particular plant to My List. I transfer whatever info the tag has that may be missing from our database and also check my go-to Western Garden Book for additional info, often added as a comment if it doesn't fit into the main template. Easy to do.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Apr 4, 2016 7:13 PM CST
I agree with Green. To much diversity in climates soil etc. to rely on what is posted in the data base. I live in So. California, USA, where our annuals often overwinter, and our perennials either fry in summer or rot in winter. If you consider Australia is in the southern hemisphere, where our seasons are reversed, there is no way we can give accurate info on how to grow.
Western Garden book is my bible!
[Last edited by ctcarol - Apr 4, 2016 7:14 PM (+)]
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Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
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greene
Apr 4, 2016 7:19 PM CST
I agree When adding information to the database I sometimes have a problem when filling in the fruiting time or bloom time etc. because the choices are by the seasons...which are not the same in all hemispheres.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Apr 4, 2016 7:23 PM CST
Another thought is don't ever feel you are 'bothering' the forums - that is where I get my best information - from those passionate about a certain plant. Orchids is a great example - they mostly smell like old gym socks to me ( no clue) but I sometimes follow a thread out of curiosity and have found all responses to be very helpful and non-judgmental. We all have much to learn, and much to share.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Apr 4, 2016 7:29 PM CST
That is so true. If I want to try a new type of plant, I can usually find a forum for it, and ask a question. So far , everyone has been very helpful.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
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ShadyGreenThumb
Apr 4, 2016 9:16 PM CST
RickCorey said:I've learned to Google for information about how to grow plants. So many of our database entries are just names, or names plus photos.

^^^^This.
I would love for the database to be the first place to go to find a plant or learn about a plant. Maybe one day ATP Database will be the first list on Google or BING? That's my worldly thinking. But for now, as an ATP member, I wish it were more useful to me as a simple gardener wishing to learn more on how to grow a plant and less about identifying a plant. However, if that was the intend of the Database, by all means, carry on! Thumbs up And after "just" 5 years, man! That is quite a large database! Kudos to ATP for that! Hurray!

The planting zones make it clear enough of the idea place a plant can grow as long as that fact is included in the plant description. But as some have learned, you can work outside of your zone and make it work.

As far as Orchids go, a Beginning gardener might mistakenly think that orchids grow in potting soil as a lot of plants do. Or worse, in the moss and solid glass container that it came with! This is one plant that is abused in the plant industry more than any! They set up the buyer for failure, speaking from my own experiences. I am still learning how to raise orchids right! I would think this would be a very important entry in the orchid section.

I used the Western Garden Book handed down to me from my mom. But I donated it. I found many of the West Coast plants and plantings did not pertain to me here in the South. It was a great book to peruse through while growing up. I learned a lot from it.

From now on, I will post as much as I can about the plant that I plant, how I plant it, in types of soil I have used, etc... I guess I didn't realize there was a "Comments" section and simply went by the check off list given when presenting a plant to be used in the DB. I think little hints and tricks that work for me might help others, i.e., "a tray of rocks beneath the plant helps bump up the humidity" or " This plant loves a good spray from overhead" etc.. We all want to be successful with things that grow. I hoped the ATP Database would be a good place to start. Crossing Fingers!


Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Apr 5, 2016 9:30 AM CST
And don't forget, that if you mention a plant by name when you're asking in the forums, that information will show up in the database for others to find. If you look at the Phalaenopsis entry, my question about how to care for my new orchid shows up in the related threads.
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Charter ATP Member Spiders! Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Pennsylvania Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Ponds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey
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Ursula
Apr 5, 2016 9:57 AM CST
Woofie, good point!

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