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Plant Description Definitions

You might notice that some plants list light requirements as sun to part shade and others as part shade to sun - this is intentional and the ideal light (or soil condition) is listed first.


Light Requirements:

  • Sun: Direct sunlight for 6 to 8 hours per day

  • Part-Shade: Direct sunlight for 4 to 6 hours per day

  • Shade: Direct sunlight for less than 4 hours per day

Soil Requirements:

  • Wet: Low-lying areas that drain slowly or have high clay content

  • Average: Level or gently sloped areas that drain moderately or have average clay content

  • Dry:  Moderate to steep slopes often facing south or west that drain quickly. Soil may contain rock or gravel.

Suckering: The spread of roots outward from the center of a plant.  Dense suckering is where shoots come up close to each other (up to 1 or 2 feet apart).  Coarse suckering is where shoots come up far from each other (more than 2 feet apart).

If there are other definitions that would be helpful, please email us at  


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The Native Plant manuals developed in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Conservation are a great resource when planning your garden.  With everything from picking the right plant for the right place to finding plants that deer will avoid.

The manuals are available online here

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