Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

Do you have additional gardening questions? Please contact us. Here's how.

Horticulture Questions and Answers

How do I collect a plant sample?

Guidelines for plant identification samples

To help us better identify your plant; please provide us with the following:

  1. Tell us where the sample was collected.
    Is it an indoor house plant? Was it most likely purchased at a nursery or garden center or is it most likely a native plant? Was the sample collected in a different state or country?

  2. Provide us with a good, complete sample.
    Bring in a complete branch with several leaves, ideally with flowers and/or fruit. Bring a picture of the plant with you if you can.

  3. Provide us with a good overall picture of the plant.
    In many cases knowing the size of the plant or what size the plant may attain is helpful. A picture of the plant can be very helpful but at least knowing if the plant is a tree, shrub, vine, annual, or tropical plant is often required.

Guidelines for plant problem diagnosis samples

To help us better diagnose your plant problem; please provide us with the following:

  1. Provide us with the name (identification) of the plant.
    If not know, please see above for guidelines.

  2. Provide us with a good sample.
    A good sample should be large enough to show the disorder, the stages of progression of the disease, and "diseased" as well as healthy tissue for comparison.

  3. Provide us with a good "picture" of the plant as well as the problem.
    To accurately diagnose some problems we may need pictures of the whole plant, close-ups of the affected part of the plant, and the surrounding area. Even then, some problems result from problems below ground, environmental conditions, or cultural practices. Information on the age and size of the plant, your cultural practices, and a history of the problems may be required to better narrow down the possible causes of the problem.