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Beware of Plant Advertisements Misleading You

April 6, 2016

After a long winter indoors, gardeners yearn for spring and the growing season. Magazines fill with enticing pictures of flowers and sumptuous looking vegetables just waiting to be planted. It is hard to resist wanting to try that new variety. Some ads are obviously misleading with pictures of plants with unbelievable growth; whereas with other ads it may be more difficult to determine if the plant would be worth a try.

One way to help make purchasing decisions is to carefully check the zone that plant is supposed to be grown in. If the description is for a perennial in zone 2 to 8, you shouldn’t expect success in Colorado. Read descriptions carefully for words like tropical, heat and humidity, prefers humid moist soil, semi hardy, damp, or other indications of a different climate than that in Colorado. Special trees and lawn grass seed mixtures are also heavily advertised with hard-to-believe results. Check with your local nursery to verify the authenticity of these ads or call your local extension office for advice.

An often-advertised tree tomato growing 15 feet tall or more will not produce fruit under normal conditions in Colorado. The fruit is not juicy and it doesn’t taste like a tomato. Don’t be disappointed by expecting over-hyped plant advertisements. Exercise common sense and rely on the experience of other Colorado gardeners. If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.

There are many ways to find out more about the plants that thrive in our area and gardening methods that work best for our climate and soils. Many local garden centers and nurseries hold gardening classes on various topics. Denver Botanic gardens has an extensive course catalog ranging from basic to advanced and including specialty topics such as botanical illustration and horticultural therapy. Some community colleges throughout the state have horticulture classes and degree programs. Colorado State University offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in horticulture and landscape architecture. The University of Colorado at Denver also has a masters degree program in landscape architecture.

Most counties in Colorado have Extension offices. Look in your telephone book under “Colorado State University Extension” for a local number. The Extension trains Master gardeners who will answer your questions on the phone. There are Plant Diagnostic Clinics in Jefferson County and at the Colorado State University campus in Fort Collins, soil testing is available at Colorado State University and short courses on specialty topics are available though several counties. Contact your local Extension office for complete information.

There are display and botanical gardens throughout the state where you can see which plants do well in your area and which unusual plants are possible. Some examples are Denver Botanic gardens, Betty Ford Alpine garden in Vail, the Pueblo Zoo and the Western Colorado Botanical Society in Grand Junction.

The Helen K. Fowler Library at Denver Botanic gardens is the region’s largest library devoted solely to plants. The collection contains over 25,000 books, magazines, videos and slides all about the plant world.


For landscape materials and supplies for your garden and property in Arvada, Boulder, Broomfield and the entire Denver, CO. Metro Area you may click right here for a professional to answer your questions.

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