Index of Plants

Cited by The Western Garden Book

Amaryllis ~ Hippeastrum
Amaryllis is native to South Africa. It is a perennial grown from a bulb that performs best in areas with warm, dry summers. They grow in clumps and are trumpet-shaped and fragrant. Blossoms arrive in fall and winter and die back by early summer. Clumps should rarely be lifted and divided as they may not bloom for several years if disturbed at the wrong time. They do best with full sun and very little to no water.

Bamboo ~ Gramineae
Bamboo is from temperate regions in China and Japan. Though some grow as tall as some trees, all bamboos are actually grasses. Plants consist of woody stems that are divided into sections by obvious joints. Upper nodes grow buds that develop into branches and leaves. Bamboos spread by underground stems. They are generally hardy plants and will grow in a variety of soils. Flowering of bamboo is one of the mysteries of this unique plant. Most species flower periodically at the same time all over the world for a period of two to seven years at intervals varying from 10 to 120 years, depending on the species.

Birds nesting fern ~ nidus
This tender fern is native to many tropical regions. It has undivided apple-green fronds and grows upright in clusters. It prefers partial to full shade and needs regular watering.

Boston fern ~ Exaltata
The Boston fern is tough and easy to grow. These are the most widely used of all ferns. It is a tropical species. The most well-known fern is the ‘Bostoniensis’, which has an arching habit and is quite graceful. The fern needs some shade and bright, indirect light with regular watering.

Bougainvillea ~ Barbara Karst
Native to tropical and subtropical South America, the Bougainvillea is reliably hardy and grows well in containers. It features evergreen shrubbery vines. The vibrant colors come from the large, papery, petal-like bracts. Bloom reaches a peak in summer. The plant requires full sun and moderate to regular watering.

China Doll ~ Radermachera
The China Doll needs full to partial shade and regular watering.

Dahlias ~ Astreraceae compostiae
Dahlias are native to Mexico and Guatemala. Through centuries of hybridizing and selection, dahlias have become tremendously diversified, available in numerous flower types, sizes, and all colors but true blue. The dahlia blooms contain many individual flowers called florets. The American Dahlia society has classified dahlias according to the flower floret forms. They need full sun to light shade in the hottest areas with regular watering.

Daisies ~ Coreopsis
Daisies are easy-to-grow members of the sunflower family, which can be deadheaded for longer blooms. They need full sun and regular watering.

English Lavender ~ Lavendula Angustifolia
The English Lavender is native to the Mediterranean region, the Canary Islands, and Madeira. It has lavender or purple flowers and aromatic gray-green foliage. Blossom spikes of some species are used for perfume, aromatic oil, soap, medicine, and sachets. Most attract bees and butterflies. They grow best with full sun and moderate watering.

Ferns ~ Asplenium
A widespread and variable group of rhizomatous ferns were once known for alleged medicinal value. These evergreen species resemble one another only in botanical details and in their need for shade and liberal watering. They require a rest period from late fall to early spring when grown indoors.

Hibiscus ~ Malvaceae
These beautiful flowers are great for western gardens. Some are very tender tropical species grown in Hawaii. Plants typically have funnel-shaped blossoms with prominent stamens. The many species offer a wide range of colors. They grow best under full sun with regular watering.

Hyacinth ~ Hyacinthus orientalis
Most gardeners are familiar with the hyacinths that are the highly fragrant, fat-spiked Dutch species. Large flower spikes are tightly packed with waxy blooms in white, cream, buff, yellow, salmon, red, blue, or purple. They are best for containers and forced flowers. These perennials grow from bulbs and require full sun and regular watering during growth and bloom, especially springtime bloomers.

Lantana ~ Verbenaceae
The lantanas are tropical American natives with tiny flowers in tight clusters. They are highly valued for their profuse show of color over long seasons. Heavy freezes may seriously damage or kill these plants. They should be pruned hard in spring to remove dead wood and prevent woodiness. Lantanas require full sun and light to moderate watering.

Lily ~ Liliums
Lilies are perennials that grow from bulbs. Around 1925, lily growers began a significant breeding program. They bred new hybrids from species with desirable qualities and also developed strains and varieties that were healthier, hardier, and easier to grow than the original species. Lilies are fine container plants and require full to partial shade with regular watering except as noted.

Maidenhair fern ~ Adiantum
The maidenhair fern requires ample water. Most are of tropical origin; some are western natives. Stems are thin, wiry, and dark. The fronds are finely cut and leaflets are mostly fan-shaped with a bright green, thin texture. They need steady moisture and full or partial shade.

Mandevilla ~ Alice du Pont
The Mandevilla blossoms feature five broad lobes that flare out from a tubular throat. They are unscented and climb by twining. This particular variety is most widely grown in clusters of pink. Their leaves are glossy, dark green, and oval-shaped. They need a frame, trellis, or stake for support and full sun with little or no water.

Mother fern ~ Bulbiferum
From Australia and New Zealand, the mother fern is graceful, with very finely cut light green fronds. It requires partial to full shade and regular to ample watering.

Primrose ~ Primula
Most primroses are native to the Himalayas and cool regions of Southeast Asia and Europe. These plants form a foliage rosette, and at bloom time, fragrant flowers with five petals rise above the leaves. Most primroses are spring blooming, depending on the climate. They fare best in areas with chilly winters and cool summers and are hardiest with full sun in cooler climates only. Their water needs vary by type.

Ranunculus ~ Ranunculaceae
Native to Asia Minor, the very large genus Ranunculus comprises about 250 species of widely different habits and appearances. They are tuberous-rooted plants with fresh green, fernlike leaves. They bloom profusely in spring and some semi-double ranunculus resemble small peony blooms. Exposure needs vary by species. All of them require regular watering.

Succulents ~ Sempervivum
Succulents and cacti thrive where other plants cannot – in rock gardens with nutrient-poor soil, on arid slopes, between paved stones, and in pots that do not get much water. Excessive moisture is a hazard. They need excellent drainage and just enough water to keep their stems and leaves plump. Most like full sun and minimal water.

Sago Palm ~ Cycas Revoluta
The sago palm is native to Japan and looks like a palm. They slowly grow up to ten feet and are tough, tolerant house or patio plants, which require partial shade and regular watering.

Index of Gardening Terms
Cited by The Western Garden Book

Annual ~ A plant that completes its life cycle in one year or less.

Bulbs ~ Plants that grow from a thickened underground structure. A true bulb consists of an underground stem base that contains an embryonic plant surrounded by scales and modified leaves that overlap one another. Bulblike structures include a true bulb, corms, rhizomes, tubers, and tuberous roots.

Deadhead ~ To remove spent flowers, neatening a plant, preventing it from setting seed and prolonging its bloom.

Deciduous ~ Any plant that naturally sheds all of its foliage at any one time (usually in fall).

Dormancy ~ The annual period when a plant’s growth slows down. For many plants, dormancy commences as days grow shorter and temperatures colder.

Evergreen ~ Plants that never lose all their leaves at one time.

Forcing ~ Hastening an out-of-season plant to maturity or to a flowering or fruiting stage. Usually occurs in a greenhouse, where temperature, light, and humidity can be controlled.

Frond ~ Fronds are the foliage of ferns. However, the word is used to describe the leaves of palms or any foliage that looks fernlike.

Hybrid ~ A plant that results from a cross between two species, subspecies, varieties, cultivars, strains, or any combination of the above, and less commonly, between two plants from different genera. Hybrids may occur naturally but more often they are deliberately bred.

Microclimate ~ A small area (such as a backyard or even a portion of it) with a slightly different climate than that of its larger surroundings. Microclimates are determined by factors such as hills, hollows, and the location of structures. Plants that might not survive in a specific climate zone may grow well in the right microclimate.

Node ~ The joint in a stem where a bud, branch, or leaf starts to grow.

Peat moss ~ A water-retentive organic soil amendment, peat moss refers to the partially decomposed remains of mosses. It increases soil acidity. Sphagnum peat moss is generally considered the highest in quality.

Perennial ~ A nonwoody plant that lives for more than two years (often for many years).

Rhizome ~ A modified, horizontally growing stem. It may be long and slender, as in some perennials.

Rootbound ~ Plants grown in the same container for too long develop tangled, matted roots.

Soil pH ~ Soil pH is a measure of how soil ranges from acid through neutral to alkaline. This characteristic is stated as a pH number. Soil with a pH below seven indicates neutral – neither acid nor alkaline. A pH below seven indicates acidity, while one above 7 indicates alkalinity.

Tendrils ~ Specialized growths along the stems or at the ends of leaves on some vines. Tendrils wrap around supports, enabling the vine to climb.

Tuber ~ A swollen, underground stem with multiple growth points, such as the potato.

Tuberous root ~ A true root, thickened to store nutrients.