Tip: Double-check your species when purchasing from nurseries

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice…

It happened again. We purchased 4 Calendulas – or pot marigolds – at a local nursery. They are wonderful companion plants for all your garden veggies, helping with insects and other things. Unfortunately, although the 4-inch plants were blooming and looked like Calendula, and were in fact labeled Calendula, they are actually tickseed! Argh!!! Especially now that they are planted ever so precisely where I wanted my Calendula! Calendula officinalis, that is…

This is Tickseed, or Coreopsis
This is Calendula officinalis – Pot Marigold

Last year, when purchasing medicinal plants for our garden, I bought a 1 gallon Valerian plant. I asked the gardener for Valerian. He showed me Valerian. It was labeled Valerian. It turns out that my medicinal Valerian is actually Jupiter’s Beard – or “Centhranthus ruber,” also known as Red Valerian. How was I to know that  Red Valerian was not true medicinal Valerian which is Valeriana officinalis. 


What to Do: Know your plants by scientific name and by sight. I love my Western Garden Book with photos and illustrations by Sunset Publishing – the makers of Sunset Magazine. If I had consulted it before purchase, I would not have this problem!

Tip: Double-check your species when purchasing from nurseries

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