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Is There A Perfect Plant?

The simple answer is, “No.” However, the more complete answer isn’t so simple. Identifying a perfect plant is like defining beauty. Both are in the eye of the beholder. In the case of plants, however, they are living organisms, so a plant that may be perfect in one environment may be totally out of place in another.

All this leads back to the landscaping mantra: “Right plant, right place.” If your idea of a perfect plant is one that is low maintenance, don’t plant a shade tolerant plant in bright sun and vice versa. Or don’t plant a drought tolerant plant in a swamp. Today, low maintenance plants are the most sought after because property owners don’t have the time to spend on their landscapes or in the garden.

Among the sought after plants in the public’s quest for the perfect plant these days are dwarf and compact plants and reblooming and extended blooming plants. Endless summer hydrangea is an example of an extended blooming plant.

I thought about including my list of perfect plants, but that would be just that – my opinion. I realized that when I wrote the last paragraph. I would have included Endless Summer hydrangea on my list. But, hydrangea is one of only a few plants that an avid gardening friend of mine absolutely does not like. Many other readers could also find fault with my list, so I decided to leave that out.

Rather than trying to find an absolutely perfect plant species or variety, look for the best plant you can find when you go to the nursery. When buying flowering plants, look for healthy leaves and flower buds. If you buy plants in full bloom, they may be all done flowering when you get them in the ground.

When shopping for plants, be sure they look as close to specimens (what the ideal plants look like) as possible. If they are balled and burlap, rootballs should be solid, firm and moist, not dried out or the twine too tight around the trunk. Rootballs should be 10-12 times larger than the trunk.

If the plants are in pots, be sure the roots are well established and in firm, moist soil. The roots should not protrude out of the pot nor should they be pot bound. Look for fat leaf or flower buds ready to burst. Also, look for living branches, and no skinned trunk or diseased leaves. In spring, new growth should be evident on conifers.

While we cannot identify a perfect plant, following these tips will help you come as close as possible to one.

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