Landscape designers almost always include symbols (and/or text) to indicate location and type of species for planting. Plant knowledge is one of the most valuable skills a landscape designer has to sell and most designers maintain some type of plant database to hold that information. There are a number of ways to access plant databases (lists) in order to choose an appropriate species when working with gCADPlus. These alternatives are discussed below. You could use ..

  1. An 'in-built' plant list delivered with gCADPlus and added to with your own local knowledge.
  2. A separate personal plant database application such as SppDb. while designing with gCADPlus
  3. An online database such as the massive species database developed by DeepRoot

1. Using the in-built plant database files

As part of the gCADPlus drop down menu, gCADPlus can also load, edit and work with its own internal plant lists. These lists are simple text files bearing the extension .gcp and a number are delivered with gCADPlus. The figure below shows a design with a database file called GardenCAD.gcp attached.

Attach list

These inbuilt lists are  accessed via the gCADPlus drop down menu as shown below. 

Access gcp file

The load list option allows you to browse to the gCADPlus folder where a number of lists for various localities can be found. A number are shown in the figure below. Note the very small file size. The EdiblePlant database file contains > 40 entries, but is only 2k in size. The GardenCAD gcp file has over 400 entries.

gcp choice

Spell checking

Note that many of the plant names are underlined in red. gCADPlus sets a flag indicating that the spelling of the plant name needs checking. Once the spelling is confirmed, right click on the term and select Add Word. The red underline is removed.

Add word

Correcting a plant species name is a once only step, once a gcp file has been checked and adjusted for possible spelling errors, the redline disappears in other design jobs as shown below.

Spell check complete

Database use

The gcp plant database file can be sorted in a number of different ways. When first loaded, the columns are sorted in alphabetic order governed by species name in the first column. However, there may well be occasions when you might like the data sorted in a different way - perhaps in alphabetic order of common name. To do that, simply click on the Common Name columns. As shown below, Sedum 'Abbeydore' becomes record 1 in the list because its common name is Abbeydore Sedum.

Sort on common name

Another useful sort is sorting on the basis of Type. If you have categorized species using terms such as SHRUB TALL, SHRUB SMALL, TREE TALL, the list becomes organized in a way that can help species selection.

sort type

The find tool at the bottom of the dialog box can be used to quickly locate a particular species when assigning a species to a symbol and is also used to edit data when maintaining a list.

It's also possible to add data on Pot Size, Cost and use the Custom column to add extra information. Clearly, those data are specific to a local environment. We have included tools to add and delete columns and to save (backup) these lists. 

pot size

Further manipulated of the lists can be made using Microsoft Excel

2. Using SppDb

An alternative way to locate a particular species to meet a need for a design is to use SppDb, a personal plant database that can be accessed via the Tools drop down menu.

Access SppDb

SppDB runs in its own window and the serach facilities can be used to find a species to meet a particular need.

SppDb running

3. Using the online version of DeepRoot

Finally, this massive database can also be accessed from the Tools drop down menu..


Choosing this loption starts your browser and starts an online version of DeepRoot.


Tip: We recommend purchasing DeepRoot and installing it on your computer in order to use many of the excellent photos in it.


Using plant databases with gCADPlus