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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Sunday - May 04, 2014

From: Hartford, CT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Best of Smarty
Title: Learning to garden from Hartford CT
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello, I just recently found an interest in gardening, and have discovered "cultivars." I am having trouble finding what exactly a cultivar is, and if they are bad or not. Can culltivars ever occur in nature, or are they artificially made? How exactly are they made? Thank you!

ANSWER:

Previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on what cultivars are. Be sure and follow all the links in that answer for more information.

Now, since you are new to gardening, please allow us to introduce ourselves. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but also to the area where the plant is being grown; in your case, Hartford County, CT. We have a number of online resources to help you out.

Begin by reading all the articles in our How-To Articles and then go on to our Step-by-By Guides.  If you wonder if we have already answered a similar question to yours (and with over 9000 questions already answered, we probably have), go to Ask Mr. Smarty Plants and type a key word into the search line. Next, move on to our Native Plant Database. Remember, this will have only plants native to North America in it, and you can search both on scientific (Lupinus texensis or common names (Texas bluebonnet). If you get no results to this search, either the plant is not native or there is a misspelling.

As an example, Kalmia latifolia (Mountain laurel) is the Connecticut state flower. If you click on that plant link, it will take you to our webpage on that plant, where you can (usually) see a picture, learn its growing conditions, etc. Scroll down that page to the bottom where you will see links to the USDA Plant Profile Map on that plant, which will permit you to look at a map of Connecticut, where green areas indicate the plant in question grows natively. In that same area on our webpage is a link to Google for more information.

Okay, that is probably enough to keep you busy for the rest of the day. Happy gardening!

 

From the Image Gallery


Mountain laurel
Kalmia latifolia

Mountain laurel
Kalmia latifolia

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