People often ask where I search out new plants for my designs. Besides books, I enjoy perusing online plant databases. These are great for narrowing down choices by picking key plant characteristics. For instance I can search for a 24" tall perennial that likes sun, has purple flowers, thrives in zone five, plus has an upright form. A great way to narrow down thousands of plants to two or three. Note that none of these are inclusive, so you'll have to use a combination of sites to find a good selection of plants.
Here are some of my favorites:
Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder
Midwest Groundcovers Advanced Plant Search
Monrovia Plant Catalog
Perennial Resource Perennial Encyclopedia
Here are some additional database suggestions via those on my Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ streams:
Bluestone Perennials Plant Finder
Cal Poly Tree Selection Tool
Dave's Garden PlantFiles
Fine Gardening Plant Guide
Great Plant Picks (Pacific Northwest)
Jim Melka Plant Finder
LBJ Wildflower Center Native Plant Database
Learn to Grow Plant Search
Nursery Guide (Oregon)
Online Plant Guide
Rhode Island Coastal Plant Guide
Royal Horticultural Society Plant Selector
San Marcos Growers
Shoot Plant Search
UConn Plant Database
USDA Plant Finder
Waterwise Database (zones 8-11)
Waterwise Santa Barbara
The database below actually helps you ID plants. Love it!
New England Wild Flower Society Simple ID Key
This plant database is subscription-based. It has a wealth of plant information from Australia, but has spread into other parts of the world too.
Do you have a favorite online plant database not included above? Happy plant hunting!
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