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5 Ways To Identify Houseplants

Updated: Sep 4, 2019

Identifying your plant is an essential step – you will be able to learn its care requirements and take good care of it. If you have a houseplant, but you don't know the exact name, this guide is made for you!

5 Ways To Identify Houseplants

1. Learn About Plant Families

You can divide plants into six different varieties: woody plants, aquatic plants, grass-like plants, orchids, ferns, and non-woody plants.

Shrubs, sub-shrubs, and lianas are classified as woody plants and can be easily recognized from their thick stem.

Aquatic plants' leaves usually float or are merged/submerged in water. Plants in this category can be amphibious too and can survive on land for some time.

Grass-like plants have grass-like narrow leaves. Typically, their stem is covered with a tubular sheath and flowers are very small.

Orchids, monocots, and irises can be grouped together. The flowers of these plants grow in the multiples of three.

Ferns, lycopods, horsetails, and quillworts can be placed in the same group as well. They usually have frilly, highly sharp and dissected leaves.

The family of non-woody plants includes flowers that vary widely in characteristics, and it might become quite challenging to recognize the members of this family. Usually, asters and other plants have showy flowers in the multiples of 4-5 and don’t have parallel leaves.

2. Ask Yourself Some Questions

You can generally narrow down your houseplant into one of a few broad categories by asking yourself these questions: is the plant flowering? If yes, what are the flowers like? What shape are the leaves?

By answering these questions, you will understand if your plant is a small tree, a succulent-cactus, a vine, a fern, or another type of herbaceous plant.

3. Use A Mobile App

If you are still unsure of your plant's name, you can download a mobile app like Picture This, Plantsnap or Garden Answers.

Take a picture of the plant, and these apps will tell you the name right away.

4. Ask The Online Community

The online plant community is one of the best on the Internet: plant parents from all around the world are always ready to help each other, share information and advice.

Take a clear photo of the plant and some close ups and post the pictures in a garden forum or plant community. There are plenty of Facebook groups out there about plants: this group, for example, was explicitly created for plant identification!

5. Show The Plant To An Expert

Finally, you can bring the plant or a few leaves, flowers or seeds to a greenhouse or nursery that sells houseplants and ask if someone can identify it. If you prefer, you can also send some photos to a plant diagnostic clinic, a college horticulture department or other experts for identification.

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