Itemized Plant Card Explanation

COMMON NAME The common local name for the plant.
BOTANICAL NAME The latin name for the plant. This name is universally understood.
HEIGHT DO NOT plant a tree that will reach 30′ tall next to power lines or alongside the wall of a one story house! Take in to consideration the dangers this plant may possess in years to come (Example: 30′ Silver Bismark Palm Tree could have expended palm fronds fall and drop, potentially severely injuring or killing someone if they are hit by it!)
WIDTH The key to plant spacing is to plant according to the desired appearance, while also not planting too close together or too far apart. For spaced plants, plant 70% to 100% of the plant’s maximum width. (Example: A plant with 10′ width to grow spaced apart should be planted 7′ to 10′ apart.) For plants forming a dense hedge, plant to 20% to 30% of the plant’s maximum width (100) 1.5 (50) .75 (25) .25 (083) If you plant too closely, your plants will look wonderful for the first few years, though as plants grow taller and roots go deeper, the demand for nutrient content will be higher and plants will begin to struggle. If spaced too far apart, either it will take some time for plants to grow close enough to for a hedge, (this is how you should do it, though this requires patience and understanding!) or if too far, they will never touch branches with each other!
MONOECIOUS OR DIOECIOUS If your plant is monoecious (has both female and male flowers), then it will be capable of self pollination. Of the many synonymous
 words for monoecious, a couple other commonly used words botanically are,  bisexual and hermaphroditic. If your plant is dioecious (separate male and female flowers), you will need one of each sex for pollination. That is, of course, unless your neighbor has a nearby tree of the opposite sex! The odds are slim.
DECIDUOUS OR EVERGREEN Deciduous trees lose their leaves during the cold season, while evergreen trees keep their foliage. Deciduous trees will have fallen leaves all around them, which may require some raking or leaf blowing. Deciduous trees aren’t desirable to plant around unscreened outdoor pools. Evergreens ARE messy sometimes though, so if you want a clean driveway or pool, do your research before you plant! A crape myrtle with beautiful blooms will drop flowers all over the ground below once flowers are depleted. An elegant Pygmy Date Palm produces a lovely cream-white pollen that can litter your pool, so be mindful! Sometimes a plant can be considered semi-deciduous. Semi-deciduous or semi-evergreen is a botanical term which refers to plants that lose their foliage for a very short period, when old leaves fall off and new foliage growth is starting. The live oak is a semi-deciduous tree.
LIFESPAN The longevity of the plant, or how many years it lives for. Of course, the better one cares for a plant, the longer lived the plant is!
Another classification of the plant’s lifespan. Annuals live for one growing season and then die afterwards. Biennials live between 2 to 4 years. Perennials have a lifespan from 2 years to indefinitely (and can sometimes live for hundreds of years!).
COLD TOLERANCE The coldest temperature tolerated by the plant. Some plants have a low cold tolerance though are sensitive to frost. One should cover cold sensitive and frost sensitive plants with frost cloth or blankets the night before a frost warning or when temperatures are forecasted at 32° F or colder. Keep covered for the few days that we Floridians have freezing temperatures, and remove once conditions have warmed to 33° F thereafter.
SOIL TYPE Plant preference for substrate can vary from dry to immersed in water; From sandy to loamy clay. One can amend soil with organic matter such as compost, farm manure, or shredded leaves to help enrich and increase drainage. Perlite, vermiculite, compost, and mulch are also good soil additives to mix in to soil to help with drainage. The pH of soil is another important factor one should know. Azaleas, camellias, blueberry bushes, and strawberry plants prefer acidity, while plants such as watercress, peach trees, and black currant bushes prefer alkaline.
WATER REQUIREMENTS Overwatering and underwatering are both bad. You should have plants with similar watering requirements under irrigation, or in the case of xeriscaping, without irrigation. During the hottest and driest months of the year it is good to supplement plants with water, even if they are drought tolerant! Some plants are capable of going in to a drought-dormancy when left without water for long enough, such as with turf grass, though this can be avoided with ample irrigation. Some plants, such as cactus, will do just fine without any additional water during the hottest and driest months! For dry areas without irrigation, material such as Terra-Sorb, a non-toxic hydrogel, can be mixed in to absorb 150 times it’s weight in water and slowly release the water back in to dry soils for roots. Overwatering can cause root rot, fungal growth, disease formation, and a myriad of other problems. Watering salt intolerant plants with a source that contains salt can also damage plants. Salty irrigation can have accumulated salt in the expanse of land affected by the irrigation if the area has poor drainage and/or lack of rainfall.
DROUGHT Does the plant’s description indicate tolerance for drought? This is not in effect until the roots have grown further down, accessing the water that is deep underground, which will take some time. Some plants grow very fast, some grow slowly; Some plants have shallow roots, others have deep roots. Keep in mind removing roots from the originating protecting pot is slightly stressful to the plant. Being planted in a new environment introduces altered factors such as slightly different pH, minerals and nutrients, water intake, etc. Be mindful that TOLERANT does not mean UNAFFECTED, your plants will still appreciate some water during the hottest, driest months!
SALT Plants have varying tolerances of salt; Some plants can tolerate salt on the roots more than on the foliage, others can tolerate salt equally well with both the roots and foliage, (Example: Amaryllis plant can moderately take salt spray on foliage, though does NOT tolerate in the soil!) ,etc. Plant roots are usually far more tolerant of high salt than the foliage is. Data for the salt tolerance of plants is usually referring to the tolerance of the foliage, not the root system. (Example: A citrus tree sprayed with irrigation that has a salt content of 2,300 ppm (parts per million) will drop all the leaves that make contact, while the rest of the tree remains okay). We have a tree field of palms, mangos, peaches, lychees, sapodillas, guavas, and bananas, all irrigated with a source that has a salt content of 2,300 ppm. Our trees are thriving with drip irrigation, with only the roots receiving water while the foliage never makes contact with the salty well water. St. Augustine grass and certain other plants do have foliage that will tolerate salt water that is 7,000 ppm. Recorded data in writing and online rarely explains the differing salt tolerances of plant root systems and foliage. If you have well water with salt, ask your neighbors if they also use well water for irrigation. If they do, inspect their yards to determine what compatible plants to use. If planting around beach exposures, salt content in the air is a major factor to consider when selecting plants. Planting on the dunes presents a salt content that is so high, salt crystals will form on the leaves. This very extreme location greatly limits one’s choice of plants to use. Blocking the ocean wind and spray greatly increases one’s selection of plants. Block by planting further away from the dunes, and by planting on the western exposure of a structure (when the beach is to the east). Again, look at neighboring landscapes and gardens to determine what compatible plants to use. Have you had your irrigation/well water tested for salt? You can have this done for free instantly at your local pool store. Salt in soil can accumulate from irrigation water containing salt over time in areas with poor drainage and/or lack of rainfall.
LIGHT REQUIREMENTS Some plants can only live in full sun or in full shade, while others can sometimes live in either or. Plants need sunlight to synthesize food from carbon dioxide and water. Too much sun might burn certain plants or newly emerged, sensitive growth. Plants that specifically require full sun that are in full shade will not have enough light to chemically create the food it needs. When acclimating an indoor plant to the outdoors, it is better to ‘wean’ the plant off the house and into the elements. At first, place your indoor plant on/under for at least 2 months. Over the next several months to 2 years, gradually move your plant to it’s final desired outdoor location that fulfills proper light requirements. This helps plants slowly get used their new environment.
FERTILIZING Mineral and nutrient content is essential for the health of a plant. There are fertilizers that are produced for specific plant types, like Azalea and Camellia fertilizer (slightly more acidic) and Citrus and Avocado fertilizer (Usually higher nitrogen content than the phosphorus or potassium.) Fertilizers have different N:P:K ratios (Nitrogen:Phosphorus:Potassium) Nitrogen is necessary for strong stems and healthy foliage. Phosphorus helps roots grow, and encourages flower and seed development. Potassium (also known as potash) is good for general plant health, and increases disease resistance. It is better to be sparing with fertilizer than to be overly generous. Follow packaging directions or plant nursery instructions for proper application.
COLOR OR FLOWER The delightful hues that we so love are depicted here.
MONTH OF COLOR This is where the time(s) of year colors of foliage or flowers are flourishing are listed.
FRUIT Description of the seeds and fruits, and whether they’re edible!
ALLERGENS, TOXICITY AND ANIMALS If we have information about the toxicity of a plant, we will list any details in this row. Allergens and other health related concerns can also be located here.
COMMENTS Here is where we list additional information about the plants, such as descriptive details, origination, suggested use in a landscape, etc.
PRICE Self explanatory!