Online Purdue Plant Doctor: A Magical Journey into Plant Care

By Sourav - May-22-2023

Like many garden writers, I spend a lot of time reading about plants and searching for answers to questions from readers. They want to know what’s wrong with their plant. However, in some cases, they don’t even know what kind of plant they’re asking about. A typical comment is a question what’s wrong with my evergreen?

Last week (April 10th, 2023) I tuned in to Margret Roache’s weekly radio show and she was interviewing two Purdue Professors, entomologist Cliff Sadof and plant pathologist Janna Beckerman, who collaborated on the recent enhancements to the online website, Purdue Plant Doctor. You can visit the website here.

This photo-driven app is simple to use: Enter the name of the plant, plant problem, pest, or disease, or click your way to identify your plant and manage your pest or disease. It also gives possible solutions.

There are sections for evergreen trees and shrubs, also one on broadleaf trees, shrubs, and vines, just flowers and beneficial in all stages of development. And, there is a photo of each plant in healthy development for an accurate ID.

Cliff Sadof stresses an accurate diagnosis is the critical first step before taking any corrective action. But how do gardeners get one? And then where do they get guidance on what to do next? The online Purdue Plant Doctor does just that, plus offers possible solutions. 

A little bit about who’s behind the website:

Two Purdue Professors, entomologist Cliff Sadof and plant pathologist Janna Beckerman, collaborated on the recent enhancements to the online tool at They also have some advice on how to sharpen our diagnostic skills and learn how to do the homework it takes to plot a course of action when trouble strikes.

Cliff explained website users often don’t know the difference between leaves, flowers stem and roots so if you click on the thumbnail of a healthy plant then you’ll have the choice to look at images of different parts of the plant.

This is a handy tool to put on your phone to take plant shopping, walking in the woods, and garden hopping.


Margaret's weekly public-radio show airs on Robin Hood Radio in Sharon, CT, the smallest NPR station in the nation. Listen live at 8:30 AM EDT Mondays, to the replay Saturday morning, or stream the podcast anytime. Listen or subscribe for free at her website

Nancy Szerlag is a master gardener and Metro Detroit freelance writer. Her column appears Fridays in Homestyle. To ask her a question go to and click on Ask Nancy. You can also read her previous columns at