Caring for plants deals with more than simply fertilizing, watering and tending to them. Investing in a plant encyclopedia gives you an invaluable resource that will ensure that you have the knowledge you need to keep many different types of plants alive, ranging from medicinal herbs, common flowers and rare plants.
A good plant encyclopedia should contain several different types of information on each type of plant it documents. One important aspect is how the plants are named. Depending on region, a plant may have several different names. A good encyclopedia will include the most common references for each plant, so you can use that book to purchase your plants as seeds from the internet, and ensure that you are buying the correct type of plant.
In addition to that, the plant encyclopedia should have care information for every plant|tending information should be present for every plant, as well as whether or not it is suitable for indoor or outdoor growth. A good reference will include a legend showing the grow zones of plants, the temperature ranges that they survive in, and how the plants react to changes in the temperature. Watering information, required exposure to sunlight, tolerance, scale of hardiness, as well as difficulty of keeping should also be included. This is all knowledge that is needed to ensure the long life of your plants.
Referencing a plant encyclopedia will not be enough to guarantee the survival of your plant. Knowing how to use the information once you have it is key. Many people use these plant encyclopedias after they have purchased the plant. However, their proper usage is in referencing before you buy. Some species of plants, like uncommon varieties orchids, that are only suitable for those who are who are able to tolerate and tend to fickle plants prone to wilting.
Additional information that is useful in a plant encyclopedia is the history and breeding characteristics of the plants. As there are many hobbyists interested in the breeding of plants, and the creation of new varieties, having this information at your fingertips is invaluable. If you are interested in cross-breeding, the references that cover this data should include information on what types of plants can be bred against your plant, and the process of breeding.
In the case of herbs, a plant encyclopedia should include how they are used, information on the safe use of the herbs, and any risks that may be associated with improper usage of the herb. If there are plants that are poisonous listed in the plant encyclopedia, data on the toxicity of the plant should be referenced.