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INFORMATION ABOUT SEARCH CATEGORIES
When buying a plant, it is wise to use the full Latin name to ensure you are getting the exact plant that you want because common names can apply to more than one plant. Often there are several varieties/cultivars of one species. For example, with the common name “Yarrow”, Achillea is the Genus, millefolium is the species and examples of cultivars are “‘Cerise Queen”, and “Paprika” which have different colours and growth habits.
Plants in the database can appear in more than one category. For example a ground cover might also be a shrub or a vine or an ornamental grass. Plants designated as perennials, ground covers and grasses mostly die back with frost and re-grow from their roots the following spring. The foliage on those listed as evergreen does not die back during winter.
HEIGHT AND SPREAD:
The figures given are an average. They will depend on the amount of moisture, the type of soil and the weather. For grasses, the height is when they are in bloom. Spring bulb height is when the plants are in bloom. They will die back to the ground after blooming which leaves room for other plants to grow.
On average, the Central Okanagan receives about 12 inches (28cm) natural precipitation annually (Vernon, about 15 inches and Penticton, 11 inches). The amount of supplemental water a plant will need in the growing season will be affected by the type of soil it is growing in and whether or not the soil has been covered by mulch. The water recommendations shown in the database are for mulched, average, well-drained soil with good organic content. Plants in sandy soils will need a bit more water and plants in clay soils will do much better with less than the suggested supplementation.
It is important to water deeply and less often, allowing the soil surface to dry between waterings. The water will soak down into the soil encouraging growth of deep plant roots as they follow the water. A deep watering would be an application of one inch. (Measure how long that takes by putting out tuna cans in the watering zone and timing how long it takes to fill them.) Most of the supplemental water is needed in the dry summer months. The suggested amount of supplemental watering per year is:
1 raindrop 0-3” (7.5cm)
2 raindrops 4”-7” (10-18cm)
3 raindrops 8”-11” (20-28cm)
Full sun: at least six hours of sunlight, preferably including the hot midday and afternoon sun.
Part sun: areas that receive sunlight in the morning and/or late in the day with shade or filtered light during the midday and afternoon.
Shade: areas that do not get direct sunlight but may have dappled sunlight from deciduous trees.
LIGHT AND WATER:
Some plants will grow in more than one light condition. Generally their water needs are reduced in less sunlight. To reflect this we have combined the information for light and water in the plant profiles.
The zone rating on the plants is the coldest zone they will survive in. For plants that need good drainage, being in sodden, wet soil may be more likely to kill them than cold temperatures.
Bloom time is approximate and will vary with garden conditions as well as from year to year depending on the weather. If you want to find plants that bloom over a longer period of time, select all the months you want a plant to bloom in. For example, if you selected June, July, August and September, Purple Cone Flower (Echinacea) would appear on your list. Search results will only include plants that bloom throughout all the months you selected.
Colours in the list are general, while colour descriptions in the plant profile are more detailed. You may select more than one colour. The search results will only include plants available in all the colours you have chosen.
More detailed foliage colour is given in the plant profiles. Burgundy includes red and bronze foliage; chartreuse includes yellow and lime green foliage; and silver includes silver, blue/green, grey/blue. Coniferous trees will appear in the evergreen search.
Edible– only plants known to be safe to eat have this designation.
Poisonous– plants other than those designated may also be poisonous. Please let us know if you have further information.
Deer-proof/resistant– in general plants with aromatic foliage, or hairy foliage/stems or sticky sap are deer proof. Deer do not usually feed on ornamental grasses. What deer eat varies from one year/season to the next, how much pressure we are causing in a given area by destroying their natural habitat, and how much easily accessible food there is in their territory. If they are really hungry, they eat almost any vegetation. Take deer-proof lists from other areas with a grain of salt – your local resident deer may not have read that publication!
Spreader/self seeder– These plants tend to produce lots of viable seed, but are easy to control by removing spent flowers before they set seed or by mulching after seed has dropped and before it germinates or by pulling out unwanted babies.
Aggressive Spreader These plants are fast spreaders – generally by roots, sometimes also by excessive seeding. This quality can make them excellent choices for erosion control or a mass weed suppressing ground cover. Be aware of their habit and be careful of where you plant them.
We invite your comments on your personal experiences with any of the plants in the database. We also welcome information about other xeriscape plants that you have successfully grown in dry Okanagan conditions.