If your goal is to transfer all files from
* wildcard does the trick:
$ scp ~/local_dir/* firstname.lastname@example.org:/var/www/html/target_dir
-r option means "recursively", so you must write it when you're trying to transfer an entire directory or several directories.
-r Recursively copy entire directories. Note that scp follows symbolic links encountered in the tree traversal.
So if you have sub-directories inside
local_dir, the last example will only transfer files, but if you set the
-r option, it will transfer files and directories.