One of the very best resources for Alabama gardeners is a local garden center in your community. Independent nurseries are full of quality plants in prime condition — and people who are passionate about plants.
Find local stores near you. It’s a good idea to follow your store’s social media accounts and sign up for the store’s newsletter for inspiration, advice and promotions.
Independent Garden Center Resources:
- Professional Advice
- Events + Seminars
- Follow on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest for Tips, Inspiration and Specials
- Book Signings
- Inspirational Displays
Alabama Nursery and Landscape Association (ALNLA)
The support of ALNLA brings these resources to your fingertips to get your garden growing and green up Alabama thumbs.
The Alabama Nursery & Landscape Association (ALNLA) is a professional trade association proudly serving Alabama’s Green Industry since 1951. Our membership is comprised of ornamental plant producers, retail garden centers, landscape installation and maintenance contractors, irrigation contractors, landscape designers, researchers, allied businesses and others who support our mission to improve the success and professionalism of the industry.
Our most recent Economic Impact Study indicates the green industry contributes $2.9 billion and nearly 44,000 jobs to Alabama’s economy each year. To maintain such a significant impact, ALNLA serves the industry by facilitating a business network for industry peers, offering professional development & CEU opportunities and providing members with legislative updates and advocacy efforts. Together, we can accomplish goals that might be impossible for an individual business alone.
And, together with you, we can ensure that Alabama is planted. Every day and every season, we encourage Alabamians to be an active part of adding plants to our landscapes, backyards, windowsills and community gardens. Get involved. Let’s plant Alabama together!
Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES)
Our Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) is a treasure trove of gardening resources provided by the State of Alabama. You may be familiar with services provided by local Extension Agents, published educational content, the Alabama 4-H organization, or Master Gardener activities in your community. ACES expertise is provided in cooperation with Alabama A&M University, Auburn University and a directory of experts and programs provided in each Alabama county. A valuable resource for both Alabama residents and commercial growers and farmers, ACES deserves a bookmark in your web browser.
The Lawn & Garden section of the ACES site is a robust resource with topics ranging from top tomatoes to grow to protecting pollinators to the best beekeeping tips. ACES continually publishes helpful educational documents on a variety of topics that help with managing your home and garden. Check local events calendars to see what seminars are happening in your county.
Alabama Master Gardeners Association
The Alabama Master Gardener group is a thriving organization of passionate gardeners who serve their communities through the beauty and power of plants. The program was created to increase the availability of home horticultural information through qualified volunteers and to improve community life through community projects.
In order to become a certified Master Gardener, interns participate in a minimum of 50 hours of Extension training and 50 hours of initial volunteer service. They offer the community reliable gardening information and educational opportunities. Find your county’s Master Gardener program online.
Our Master Gardeners also manage a toll-free helpline to answer your gardening questions. Call 1-877-ALA-GROW (252-4769).
Ask An Expert – Toll-Free Gardening Helpline
Free! A service of Alabama Master Gardener volunteers, the toll-free helpline is a great resource for answers to your gardening questions. Call 1-877-ALA-GROW (1-877-252-4769). You can also follow the Alabama Master Gardener Helpline on Facebook for tips, or to chat.
Discover both the beauty and bounty that using native Alabama plants can provide. While state-specific organizations are helpful, you may also find national or regional educational guides inspiring on the benefits of using native species.
- Plant Native, an organization dedicated to moving native plants and naturescaping into mainstream landscaping practices, provides a listing of Alabama and national resources.
- Another guide for learning the native plants for your ZIP code is the Audubon Native Plant Database. It is exceptionally organized with easy sorting, filtering and helpful photos to ensure you find fantastic plants.
- The American Horticultural Society lists a state resource guide of native plant societies, including one for our Alabama Wildflower Society.
Consult with your local garden center and look for information detailed on plant tags to learn what native plants can thrive in your landscape.
Alabama Resources for Invasive Species
Looking for answers on the “don’t grow” and no-no’s of Alabama? You probably know what a beast kudzu or privet can be, but learn more about plants that are better left outside the state lines.
- The Alabama Invasive Plant Council provides comprehensive information, such as Alabama’s worst weeds, and a list of shrubs, trees, grasses and vines that shouldn’t be planted in your Alabama landscape.
- The Nature Conservancy provides helpful tips on what you can do in your landscape or out and about to help identify and manage the worst invasive plants in our state.
Green Industry Careers in Alabama
Excited to be a part of a growing industry in Alabama? Alabama Green Industry is dedicated to growing your future. Check out the many resources online and contact the Training Center to learn more about educational events and job opportunities. Take a look at the career opportunities below and explore the many paths available in horticulture and agriculture today.
Plant Something™ is a national organization dedicated to encouraging everyone to grow a richer lifestyle by putting down roots. Research shows that the benefits of adding trees, shrubs and flowers to your landscape are vast, though we also know that much of the payback is priceless.
State-by-state, person-by-person and plant-by-plant, this nonprofit is educating and inspiring consumers to plant something that will carry forward a lifetime of benefit. For improved air quality, lower energy bills, increased home value and wider smiles, planting something in your landscape is a good idea. By spreading the word about America’s plants, trees, garden retailers and the growers who supply them, we showcase the benefits all of us enjoy when we Plant Something.
See how other states are encouraged and inspired. And get involved to help plant Alabama, starting in your own backyard.
While native plants can vary by region, state, and even ZIP codes, there’s a national surge of interest and resources on what each of us can do individually and collectively to plant U.S. species. The American Horticultural Society lists a state resource guide of native plant societies, including one for our Alabama Wildflower Society.
If you’re interested in learning both the basics and the beneficial details of using natives, consider reading the popular and respected book Bringing Nature Home by professor Doug Tallamy. Find beginner and enthusiast-level resources on his website, Bringing Nature Home, as well as a ZIP-code finder for woody trees and shrubs recommended for your landscape that he is developing in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation.
Birds can be a big part of your backyard. If you build it, they will come. And you probably have birds even if you haven’t intentionally welcomed them yet. Birds and gardens go hand-in-hand, as you can read about in Birds & Blooms magazine. You can also join the national initiative sweeping the nation each winter: The Great Backyard Bird Count. Once you’re smitten with the thrill of identifying a colorful feathered friend visiting your yard, rely on the top-notch resources of Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The Merlin Bird ID app helps identify birds by sounds, silhouettes and size, while AllAboutBirds.org is an online resource always at the ready to help you pinpoint the right species. Report your sightings in a community of bird watchers at Feeder Watch.
Pollinator.org is the home of Pollinator Partners, a national organization that answers all your buzzing questions about this burgeoning interest and important additions to our garden selections. They help people protect pollinators to ensure healthy ecosystems and food security.
The Pollinator Partnership’s mission is to promote the health of pollinators, critical to food and ecosystems, through conservation, education, and research. Signature initiatives include the NAPPC (North American Pollinator Protection Campaign), National Pollinator Week, and the Ecoregional Planting Guides. And they’d love for you to “bee” a part of the Million Pollinator Challenge, which has excitedly surpassed all goals to get Americans pledging to grow a pollinator garden. What is the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge? It’s a nationwide call to action to preserve and create gardens and landscapes that help revive the health of bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators across America. Be one of a million to make a connection between pollinators and the healthy food we eat.
What to plant for pollinators in your ZIP code? Check out the eco regional planting guide to know what natives in your neck of the woods are perfect for pollinators.
Ready to get bee-sy? Here’s a detailed list of precisely how each of us can help.
Pests & Disease
When in doubt, consult with a doctor. There are incredible PhDs in agriculture and horticulture who have seen it all when it comes to gnawed leaves or spotty stems.
Pests: If you’d like to consult an online guide for photographic evidence and clues for what pest could be bugging your home garden, consider the Insect Diagnostic Laboratory at Cornell University. The factsheets provided are great resources for all that could ail you, and options can be filtered by “Vegetables & Gardens” vs “Trees & Shrubs.” It’s a good place to start online before bringing it to your local Alabama Cooperative Extension System office or garden center.
For any insect identification – beneficial and pesky – you might find the Insect Identification site helpful with detailed photos sorted by type and U.S. region.
Disease: “What’s wrong with my plant?” is a common question that garden centers and extension agents often hear. To sleuth out what might be ailing your vegetable garden or landscape shrub, the University of Minnesota compiled a cool tool to help. While it’s a Minnesota resource, much of the information is helpful for gardeners nationwide, as What’s Wrong With My Plant? walks you through prompts and clues to find the culprit and solution.
Kids Gardening is a national nonprofit that gets kids growing. They create opportunities for kids to learn and grow through gardening, engaging their natural curiosity and wonder.
KidsGardening has been a leader in the school gardening movement since 1982. They envision happier, healthier kids learning in the garden and connecting to nature. This improves nutritional attitudes and educational outcomes, enhances social and emotional learning, and gives rise to environmental stewardship in youth across the country. KidsGardening works to inspire, support, and connect educators and families by providing garden grants and curriculum, and by cultivating a community of practice.
The website is a wealth of educational information, from tips on Gardening Basics such as how to plant a tree, how plants get their names and planting for pollinators. There are fun crafts and garden activities sorted by age group that are sure you have you planting a fairy garden or making tasty holiday ornaments for wild birds. Another robust resource is the list of planting guides, with in-depth information on how to sow, tend and harvest crops.
National Garden Bureau
The mission? Inspire. Connect. Grow. The National Garden Bureau is a non-profit organization that exists to educate, inspire, and motivate people to increase the use of plants in homes, gardens, and workplaces. Members are experts in the field of horticulture and our information comes directly from these sources.
Looking for inspiration and educational tips? The blog is a good place to start and let your ideas grow from there.
Old Farmer’s Almanac
Since 1792, The Old Farmer’s Almanac has spoken to all walks of life: planting charts for those who grow their own food; recipes for those who live in the kitchen; Moon and sunrise times for those who watch the skies; and forecasts for those who don’t like the question of weather left up in the air.
As they state, the annual guides and all of the abounding wisdom is “useful, with a degree of humor.” Look for the esteemed annual almanac as well as seasonal garden guides on store shelves, but also seek out the bounty of digital data at your fingertips, such as frost dates by ZIP code.
National Association of Landscape Professionals
The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) is a trade association and resource for those in the horticulture industry. But NALP also provides inspiration and education on the benefits of planting. Love Your Plants is a free resource for consumers looking to add a little TLC to the landscape, whether the help of a professional is needed or DIY is preferred. There is a media-rich idea center and a robust Expert Advice section to get you growing.
National Institute for Consumer Horticulture
The National Institute for Consumer Horticulture (NICH) is committed to growing a healthy world through plants, gardens, and landscapes. And they’re committed to get YOU growing more plants. In fact, they’ve pledged to increase the percentage of U.S. households participating in consumer horticulture to 90 % by 2025. So, get busy growing and plant Alabama. If you need convincing research on why you need plants in your life and your landscape, read this.
Books, Podcasts, Mags & More
Find these at your local library or book store. Seek out garden inspiration and know-how with:
- The many titles published by Timber Press
- The many titles published by Storey Publishing
- The Southern Living Garden Book
- The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast by Ira Wallace
- Easy Gardens for the South by Harvey Cotten, Pamela Crawford, Barbara Pleasant
- Container Gardening for All Seasons by Barbara Wise
- The Southern Gardener’s Book of Lists by Lois Chaplin
- Cooking Light Pick Fresh by Cooking Light & Mary Beth Shaddix
- The Old Farmer’s Almanac – each annual edition
Podcasts & Video Channels
Connect with garden experts and other garden enthusiasts just like you. Our picks for inspiring videos and podcasts to get you growing are:
A Way to Garden – Margaret Roach
Southern Living Plants – video library
Garden Answer – YouTube channel
Magazines & Media Sites
There can never be too many magazines and websites dedicated to gardening and landscaping! Enjoy these local and national media brands: