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Did You Know? Interesting Plant and Flower Facts

When it comes to gardening, greening and outdoor living, there are countless facts to be learned. We did some digging to uncover plant-inspired knowledge that you might not already know. At the Chicago Flower & Garden Show, we are always excited to discover new information, so feel free to spread and share your own did-you-know facts!

Chemical changes cause fall colors

The reason we see such robust color in the fall is because of a chemical change in chlorophyll, which gives leaves their basic green color during the growing season.

During autumn, the chlorophyll breaks down, the green color disappears, and the yellow to orange colors become visible—giving leaves part of their fall splendor. At the same time other chemical changes may occur, which form additional colors through the development of red anthocyanin pigments.

Leaf change

More trees = Less money

Planting just three shade trees around your home can save you between $100 and $250 per year in energy costs. Some of the best options for keeping the temperature down in your home are deciduous trees. These trees help shade your house from sun in the summer, but allow the sun to penetrate during the cold winter months.

Deciduous Trees

Some plants bloom at night

Although many plants bloom during the bright hours of the day, some bloom at night to attract night-flying pollinators. Common night-blooming species include Flowering Tobacco (Nicotiana alata), Moonflower (Ipomoea alba) and Angel’s Trumpet (Datura inoxia). Other beauties like August Hosta (Hosta plantaginea), Lemon lily (Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus) and Citron Lily (Hemerocallis citrina) are known for releasing pleasant scents into the evening air.

Lemon lily (Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus)

Fallen leaves help enrich the soil

Needles and leaves that fall are not wasted. They decompose and restock the soil with nutrients and make up part of the spongy humus layer of the forest floor that absorbs and holds rainfall. Fallen leaves also become food for numerous soil organisms vital to the forest ecosystem.

Fall leaves

Make a wish with a wishbone flower

Torenia, a shade-loving annual, is called the wishbone flower because of the tiny wishbone-shaped stamens that can be found inside the purple, blue or burgundy petals.

Torenia Wishbone

The rose family isn’t what you thought

Peaches, pears, apricots, quinces, strawberries and apples are members of the rose family. Other members include ornamental species such as spirea, mountain ash, goatsbeard and ninebark.

Rose Family

Chrysanthemums are the birth flower for November

With a history that dates back to 15th century B.C., chrysanthemum mythology is filled with rich stories and symbolism. Named from the Greek prefix “chrys-“ meaning golden (its original color) and “-anthemion,” meaning flower, years of artful cultivation have produced a full range of colors, from white to purple to red. Daisy-like with a typically yellow center and a decorative pompon, chrysanthemums symbolize optimism and joy. They’re the November birth flower, the 13th wedding anniversary flower and the official flower of the city of Chicago!


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