Online Plant Databases

leaf illustrations

People often ask where I search out new plants for my designs. Besides books, I enjoy perusing online plant databases. These are great for narrowing down choices by picking key plant characteristics. For instance I can search for a 24" tall perennial that likes sun, has purple flowers, thrives in zone five, plus has an upright form. A great way to narrow down thousands of plants to two or three.  Note that none of these are inclusive, so you'll have to use a combination of sites to find a good selection of plants.

Here are some of my favorites:

Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder

Midwest Groundcovers Plant Search

Monrovia Plant Catalog

Perennial Resource Perennial Encyclopedia


Here are some additional database suggestions from all of you!

Bluestone Perennials Plant Finder

Cal Poly Tree Selection Tool

Dave's Garden PlantFiles

Fine Gardening Plant Guide

Great Plant Picks (Pacific Northwest)

Jim Melka Plant Finder

LBJ Wildflower Center Native Plant Database

Learn to Grow Plant Search

Nursery Guide (Oregon)

Online Plant Guide

Plant Lust

Rhode Island Coastal Plant Guide

Royal Horticultural Society Plant Selector

San Marcos Growers

Shoot Plant Search

UConn Plant Database

USDA Plant Finder

Waterwise Database (zones 8-11)

Waterwise Santa Barbara

The database below actually helps you ID plants.  Love it!

New England Wild Flower Society Simple ID Key

This plant database is subscription-based. It has a wealth of plant information from Australia, but has spread into other parts of the world too.


Happy plant hunting!


Would you like to learn some great tips on garden design + landscape graphics? Subscribe to my free newsletter: THE PENCIL CASE. Trust me, it will be lots of fun. I'll even let you take a peek at past issues here.
Let's do this!