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Ask Dr. Hort: Resources for identifying plants

Pineapple guava, Acca sellowiana

Courtesy of Cortney King

Pineapple guava, Acca sellowiana

A few good resources for identifying plants

Q: None of my books on plants describe this. I saw it at an amusement park, Disney or Busch Gardens. Can you give me your sources to identify plants? That way I will not be a bother. I have had these and many others for a long time. Cortney King

A: I have an extensive library and years of experience identifying plants in Florida, but these are some of my top picks:

• Florida Landscape Plants by Watkins Sheehan is a great book, line drawings, no photos, but contains most of the plants in the average yard.

• Native Florida Plants by Robert G. Haehle and Joan Brookwell, A Gardener's Guide to Florida's Native Plants by Rufino Osorio and Florida's Best Native Landscape Plants by Gil Nelson are all great "native books," along with Florida Butterfly Gardening by Marc C. Minno and Maria Minno, a must for the avid butterfly gardener.

• Two great picture books, Cultivated Plants of the World by Don Ellison and Cultivated Palms of the World by Don and Anthony Ellison, are a bit more pricey, but excellent go-to books.

On the Web, edis.ifas.ufl.edu is the search engine at the University of Florida, our land grant college, for everything from gardening to orchard care.

Dave's Garden, davesgarden.com, is great for ornamentals.

Oh, and your plant is pineapple guava (Acca sellowiana new Latin name, Feijoa sellowiana old Latin name), and the flowers are edible, sweet as sugar.

Prepackaged mixes are just the ticket

Q: What are you using in the mix for house plants, patio containers, outside? Pete Dunn

A: I am a believer in the use of pre-packaged mixes because it is difficult to get a uniform mix when purchasing the ingredients separately. Plus, to save any money, you would have to buy the ingredients in bulk. Why not buy the prepackaged mixes in a larger size?

Products like Fafard #2, Promix BX, Metromix 300 in large loose fill bags or compressed bales are the ticket for the serious container gardener.

Garden & Hardware, a horticultural supply warehouse at 13195 49th St. N, Clearwater, carries bulk mixes. Carroll's Nursery, at 4950 38th Ave. N, carries Fafard potting mix in large bags.

If you still want to mix your own, follow this recipe:

• 6 parts Canadian peat moss • 2 parts perlite, 1 part sand and 1 part vermiculite per cubic yard:

• 1 to 1 1/2 pounds Terrazorb or equivalent wetting agent granule • 4 ounces S/A Essential Elements • 5 pounds dolomite • 2 pounds superphosphate • 1 concrete mixer

Now, you make the choice.

Need help? Dr. Hort (Greg Charles) answers questions about garden problems. Email him at drhort@tampabay.rr.com or mail questions to HomeLink, Features Department, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Describe problem in full, and include your name, city of residence and contact information. If possible, include a good-quality photo. Fuzzy ones won't do. Photos cannot be returned. Please do not send plant samples.

Ask Dr. Hort: Resources for identifying plants 10/06/12 [Last modified: Saturday, October 6, 2012 5:30am]

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