Thursday, May 12, 2016

Plant Tags Can Educate Garden Shoppers by Paula Hamm

Photo by Donna Duffy
It’s that time of the year when many of us have the impulse to rush to our favorite garden center.  When you go, take a good look at the plant tags.  Take the time to examine them and learn about the specific requirements of the plants they accompany.  Using symbols and pictures, growers pack many facts and details to help you successfully grow and nurture your plants.

Typically, the front of the tag lists the plant’s common and scientific names and icons or symbols indicate light, water and soil requirements, mature size, and hardiness zones.  An accompanying close-up color photo usually shows the plant’s flowers and foliage as they appear at maturity.  Sometimes the photo shows the entire plant in a garden setting to help you judge its relative size and potential use in your garden.

Photo by Paula Hamm
The reverse side of the tag is usually devoted to more specific details on how to transplant and care for the plant.  For a new generation of tech-savvy gardeners, a smartphone will come in handy on some plant tags.  Scanning codes, or QR (quick read) codes, link consumers to websites where they can view videos and access specific gardening advice.

The tags that accompany the plants you buy will be a valuable reference over many seasons as the plants grow and bloom.  Save those tags.  You can write the date and location of purchase on them.  Save, date and store the tags somewhere handy.  Some avid gardeners keep plant tags in their garden journals for quick reference.

No matter where you buy your plants, be sure to read the label.  These informative, gardener-friendly tools can help you make wise gardening decisions.