- Any plant that lives year after year,
storing up energy in its roots during
its dormant period, typically winter,
and then renewing itself in the spring
using that stored energy. Trees and
shrubs have such life cycles, but the
generally refers to herbaceous (non-woody)
perennials (flowers and grasses). Most
perennials die back to the ground during
their dormancy, but there are some such
as Dianthus and Ice Plant that will
remain evergreen and provide winter
- Entire life cycle lasts only one growing
season. Because they rely on a short
life cycle to reproduce, annuals usually
produce prolific, showy displays of
blooms throughout one season. Geraniums
and Pansies are both examples of annuals.
- Grows foliage during the first year,
blooms during the second, then dies.
Biennials are often mistaken for perennials,
since they drop seed during the second
year to create new plants. Most Foxgloves,
Parsely, and Hollyhocks are examples
name - The Latin name
given to identify one specific plant
by genus and species. Every plant has
a unique botanical name. Botanical names
are in Latin, a dead language, so that
the same name can be used universally
for identification without requiring
translation. Botanical names are the
single most reliable way to correctly
identify plants by name.
- A family of plants marked by similar
characteristics. For instance, the genus
'Ilex' refers to all plants in the Holly
family. A genus is divided into subgroups
called species. The plural of genus
is genera. Example: 'Carissa' Holly
= Ilex cornuta 'Carissa' (Ilex being
the genus - cornuta being the species)
- A particular subgroup of a genus whose
members share certain specific traits.
Species names are usually descriptive
of the habitat, origin, physical traits
or even the person who discovered the
species. The species 'cornuta' in the
example above in latin means China,
name - Although not
entirely reliable, common names are
more widely used by gardeners. This
is why we use the common names of plants
more often than not on this site. In
our plant listings we provide both common
and latin names. If you want to positively
identify a particular plant the latin
name is the most reliable. Sometimes
a plant can be known by several common
names and this can become confusing.
- A naturally occurring subgroup of
one species, different enough from the
original species to require a different
name. Varieties can reproduce naturally
and remain true to form, without any
assistance from man. For instance, Ilex
cornuta was produced in nature, but
differs from the newer form in the species
known as 'Carissa'. Carissa Holly is
not the only Ilex cornuta, there are
many varieties of Ilex cornuta. 'Carissa'
is the variety name.
- Short for “cultivated variety”,
a cultivar is a plant selected by man
from a species for specific traits.
The cultivar Ilex cornuta 'Carissa'
(Carissa Holly) was selcted for its
dense growth habit and shiny foliage.
Cultivars are not able to reproduce
naturally and remain true to form; they
must be propagated by asexual techniques
like cuttings, layering or divisions.
Of one cultivar, there is very little
variation between single plants. All
Carissa Hollies grow to near the same
size having the same form.
- The offspring resulting from the union
of different species, varieties or genera.
- Living tissue, such as the trunk or
trunks, branches, etc., remains above
the ground throughout the winter. All
trees and shrubs fall into this category
known as woody ornamentals.
- Having little or no woody tissue.
The main classes of these fleshy, soft-tissued
plants are annuals, perennials and biennials.
- Drops all leaves every winter and
puts on new foliage each spring. The
spectacular fall color we enjoy each
fall is thanks to deciduous shade trees
and shrubs preparing to drop their leaves.
- Maintains its foliage year round.
Many hollies, azaleas, and all junipers
are examples of evergreens.
- Foliage is green only part of the
year or only part of the foliage remains
year round. Abelias are an example of
- Technically, any cone-bearing plant.
These include (but are not limited to)
mostly evergreen plants with needle-,
scale-, or awl-shaped leaves like Pine,
Hemlock and Juniper. Other popular conifers
are Cryptomeria and Leyland Cypress.
Conifers are useful in the landscape
as screens or hedges, but can also add
a distinctive ornamental appeal.
- Traditionally, any spreading plant
used to cover a specific area of the
landscape. There are many shrubs, annuals,
perennials, grasses and vines that would
fit that description – we generally
refer to groundcovers as any low-growing,
spreading, evergreen perennial. Ivy,
Lirope (Monkey Grass), and low-growing,
spreading Junipers are examples of groundcover.
planting - The basic
group of plants used to transition from
a house or building to its surrounding
natural terrain. Foundation plants should
frame the house and complement its architecture.
Foundation plantings usually consist
of a combination of hardy evergreen
trees, shrubs and groundcovers. Additional
plantings such as accent plants, corner
plants and seasonal color beds using
annuals or perennials build upon this
initial framework to create an attractive,
- Able to withstand extreme low and
high temperatures common to a local
geographic area. It’s important
to make sure your plants are considered
hardy for your area. The USDA
hardiness zone map shows the lowest
temperatures that can be
expected each year in various regions
- Not able to withstand extreme or low
temperatures. Most annuals are considered
tender. However, it should be noted
that some plants that are tender annuals
in our region are perennial in warmer
- The best environment or care recommended
for a given species. For example, Azaleas
thrive in a culture of acidic, well-drained
soil rich with organic matter and afternoon
rate - Generally refers
to a plant’s vertical growth rate
over a given period of time. While a
particular species may be designated
a slow grower, it is important to remember
that a plant’s growth depends
on many variables, such as moisture,
nutrition, light, etc. Some fast growing
shrubs might grow slowly if planted
in an undesirable culture.
- The manner of growth of a particular
plant. Common terms used to describe
plant habits would be spreading, creeping,
vase-shaped, broad, rounded, twining,
- Stands for “balled and burlapped.”
B&B plants are grown in the field,
then dug, cutting away up to 90% of
the plant or trees roots. With the availability
of container grown trees that have all
their root systems in tact, we no longer
sell B&B material. B&B trees
do allow for larger plant material to
be transplanted to home landscapes.
Problem is, it can take years for a
B&B plant or tree to recover from
the digging process. We have found that
a smaller, properly planted container
grown tree (1.5" caliper) planted
next to a larger B&B tree (3"
caliper) will catch up with and pass
the B&B tree within a year or so.