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Survival Of The Fittest In The Plant World: Some Plants Refuse To Die

Updated on April 16, 2015

The Rose I Thought Would Never Grow

My Yellow Rose that has survived.
My Yellow Rose that has survived. | Source

Survival Of The Fittest In The Plant World

Plants will survive if they are placed where they are better adapted for their local environment. I make this statement not from a scientific fact that I have proven, but simply as an observation in my own limited knowledge of the plant world. Plants of all kinds have always held a fascination for me: from the tallest trees all the way down to the tiniest plant that peeks above the ground.

Survival Of The Fittest

According to Wikipedia, “Survival of the fittest” is a phrase that simply means “only the fittest organisms will prevail”. Herbert Spencer first used the phrase after reading Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species in his Principles of Biology (1864). Darwin meant it as a metaphor for “better adapted for immediate, local environment”.

In the plant world I believe this definition is well suited. Just for an example, I have bought an African Violet that is full and green and loaded with blossoms. I place it on my kitchen windowsill because that is where I can see it and enjoy it. After a few days the plant will lose its blooms, and it will look very sad. If I move the Violet to another location in my house where it will receive the morning sun, it seems to say “thank you”, and it will perk up and begin to bloom again in just a few days. It just didn’t like the environment I placed it in. In the new location it will not only survive, but it will reward me with its beauty.

The Red Rose Bush Now

This is how my Red Rose bush looks now.
This is how my Red Rose bush looks now. | Source

My Red Rose Bush I Never Thought Would Live

When I moved into my present home in 1984, I brought with me a rose bush that I planted in 1980. I went to great expense to buy topsoil in which to plant the tiny rose. I carefully planted it. I fertilized it with special rose food. I watered it when it probably didn’t need the moisture. I babied that rose bush for 4 years. It did not die. It did not grow. It never bloomed. The label said it was a red rose, but I never saw any color. It wouldn’t grow let alone bloom for me. I was so disappointed. There was nothing else I could do for it. Just before leaving that property, I took a last minute around the yard. I couldn’t bear to leave the little rose bush. I dug it up and took it to my new home.

I live in South Florida. Our soil is very sandy. If you want a lush, green lawn and beautiful plants in the garden you have to build up the soil with good top soil. I just refused to buy dirt to go on top of dirt! I chose a spot in my front yard for my little sad rose plant. I dug a hole and planted it. I was so busy with my newly moved and restored house, I forgot all about the little rose. Several months went by, and all of a sudden the rose began to grow. The branches seemed to be reaching out for the sunlight. I saw some buds! This is a cluster type of rose. Not only did I see a single bud, but within the cluster, there appeared more buds. In just a few weeks, the rose bush was full of blossoms, and it had grown at least three feet. This rose bush has rewarded me ever since with it’s never ending blooms and growth. It seems that the more I try to trim it down, the more it grows toward the sun. It loves the environment I placed it in, I guess. It is very happy to be in the sandy soil, and it seems to like its location.

The Red Rose Bush Now

My Red Rose bush has survived moving and relocation.
My Red Rose bush has survived moving and relocation. | Source

The Rose That Would Not Die

This Yellow Rose refuses to die.  It is a survivor!
This Yellow Rose refuses to die. It is a survivor! | Source

My Yellow Rose

I have a beautiful yellow rose that I moved at the same time. I didn’t save the label for this one, either. When I first got it, it was just what they call a “rootstock”. I got it from a mail order nursery. These arrive with just a root. You plant the root, and hope for the best. This rose, unlike the other one, just took off! It grew very fast and bloomed the most gorgeous yellow rose I’ve ever seen. I was really afraid if I moved it, I would surely kill it. I replanted it in the new yard, and it didn’t even seem to notice it had been moved. It continues to grow and bloom after all this time with no help from me. It must like its environment!

How To Transplant Old Roses

The Plumbago Plant

This Plumbago Plant was moved and relocated, but it survived.
This Plumbago Plant was moved and relocated, but it survived. | Source

The Plumgago Plant

I also moved a Plumbago plant at the same time. It was quite large and bloomed all the time. I was afraid if I moved it that would be the end of its life. I dug it up and replanted it in my yard. It didn’t seem to notice I had moved it. The plant never even dropped a leaf or went into shock from being moved. I still have the plant in my old restored house yard, and it continues to grow and bloom.

The Plumbago Plant

My Plumbago Plant with pale blue flowers.
My Plumbago Plant with pale blue flowers. | Source

The Poinsettia Getting Ready To Bloom

My Poinsettia plant bloomed again in time for Christmas.
My Poinsettia plant bloomed again in time for Christmas. | Source

My Poinsettia Plant

Last Christmas I received a big beautiful Poinsettia plant in a large pot. After a few weeks the plant seemed to die. I almost threw it out, pot and all. Instead, I moved it to what I call my Plant Graveyard. This is where I put plants that are beyond saving (I think). I will be amazed at these plants, because sometimes they will recover and grow again even though they are not getting any help from me. I just neglect them. My theory is that they will either come back or they will die. Here again, I have been amazed to see the Poinsettia not only regrow, but now it is going to reward me by blooming in time for Christmas! It seems to like the environment that I placed it in.

Plants Are Like People

I think plants are like people in a lot of ways. I have been a gardener all my life. There is nothing more rewarding to me than watching plants and flowers grow and thrive. My advice to other gardeners: If you have a plant that is not doing well, consider moving it to another location. It just might like its new environment and reward you with beauty for years to come.

Do You Think Plants Can Survive Against All Odds

See results

My Other Articles On Gardening And Plants

I invite you to read more of my articles on plants and gardening. Comments are always welcomed!


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    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 3 years ago from Florida

      Hi, poetryman6969 I love my yellow rose! I have never tried to propagate this one, and I really should. I'm lucky with plants, I guess. I really have a "green thumb". A lot has to do with just plain luck, I think.

      Thanks so much for the visit today, and reading my Hub, Mary

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 3 years ago from Florida

      Hi, tillsontitan Oh, it is wonderful your little red rose bush is doing so well. My rose grows so fast, and like yours, the more I cut it back, the faster it grows!!

      Thanks for reading, commenting, and the votes, Mary

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 3 years ago

      Most of my arcane horticultural experiments were doomed to failure at inception. However a few have survived beautifully. I have a yellow rose bush that I moved from the backyard to the front. The cuttings I took from it and used root stimulator on are doing well as well.

      Most of the time I tried experiments when it was either too hot or too cold for the plants to survive.

      Voted up.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      I tried to grow rose bushes here for years with no success. (Sandy soil and cooler climate in NY) Then I found one similar to your little red rose and that bush has been unbelievable too. Non-stop blooming all summer and I have to keep trimming it or it would be eight feet high or more!

      Thanks for sharing the tips you've learned. They are tried and true!

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 3 years ago from Florida

      Good Morning, pstraubie48 As you know, I moved from my old house into a small apartment a year ago, and it grieved me to leave so many of my beloved plants behind. I did take a couple of roses, including my beautiful Yellow Rose! It seems to like my new place as much as I do, because it is now in full bloom! I took many cuttings from my favorite old Tea Rose, and they have rooted now. I'm happy some of your Wandering Jew survived the mowing at your old home.

      Thanks for the visit this morning; always good to see you, Mary

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 3 years ago from sunny Florida

      "Plants are like people" you say. And I just want to say Plants ARE like people for sure, Mary. Sometimes a new location is just what is needed. And maybe just a new look at an old location...

      Plants are amazingly resilient..they do often begin to bloom and grow when we think all is lost. I went by a home where I used to live. I took most of the plants with me to my new home but some ground cover remained. the owner of the property mowed all of the gorgeous wandering jew up a few weeks back. I smiled as I drove it was back looking happy again.

      thanks for sharing your success stories, Mary.

      Voted up++++ shared

      Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      Good Morning, pstraubie48. I'm glad you found my Hub, too. Growing things is a real challenge, but I guess that's part of the reason we enjoy them so much.

      I know how much those plants your Momma planted mean to me, and it's wonderful you have them.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Mary

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      Hi Mary

      I so agree. It is having the right spot for the plant. Florida soil can be challenging. I happen to have some nice loamy spots mixed in with the sandy soil and my plants for the most part are happy happy.

      The yellow rose is so looks like our Mary Jane rose that Momma grew for my little sister.

      It is funny that I saw this tonight..I had just read of lilies on Peggy W's Momma had planted them at Mary Jane's grave...and now I see the rose she planted just outside our breakfast nook.

      So glad I found this tonight.

      Angels are on the way tonite :) ps

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      Hi AudreyHowitt. I do believe I have a green thumb. My family says I can put a stick in the ground and it will sprout!

      Thanks for the visit with me and my plants. Mary

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      You must have a green thumb --mine tend to die when I ignore them--

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      Hi, midget38. I have to admit flowers and I do get along well: we seem to understand one another!

      Thanks so much for the visit today, and for the share. Mary

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      I love your green fingers and these beautiful, yet hardy flowers! Thanks for sharing, Mary, and I share too!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      Hi, Phil. Yes, I'll bet you folks get some cold, cold weather! There are some flowering plants that do well indoors, i.e. African Violets, Bromeliads just to name a couple. I just wrote a Hub on the Bromeliad. They have a beautiful blossom.

      Thanks for reading and for the vote, Mary

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      It is absolutely true that plants will thrive best when they are in the best of environments. Living where I do there isn't as much to choose from in terms of outdoor plants, however, even indoors there are full sun windows, partial sun windows and no sun windows and different plants will take well to each one. Great hub, voted up and interesting.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      Hi there, umeraziz, I'm happy you thought my article great. Plants do seen survive sometimes in spite of how we treat them. You know some people sing to their plants???

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • umeraziz profile image

      umeraziz 5 years ago

      great article, it awakes the luv for plants..

      i was reading article in magzine and amazed to know that plants cry with pain too, but we can't hear them...

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      Hi there, thoughtfulgirl2. I'm so happy you like my Hub on plants and their survival. I'm always glad to talk to a gardener. I don't know what a french lavender is, it's probably something that doesn't grow here in S. Fl.

      Plants are funny, they grow where they want to, don't they?

    • thoughtfulgirl2 profile image

      thoughtfulgirl2 5 years ago from East Coast

      Loved this hub. I too am a gardener and you can learn a lot just from simple observation. I moved a french lavender plant because it was in the shade of a mimosa tree, it was doing fine, but I decided to move it. Ironically, I don't think it's as happy in the sunnier location that I moved it to. I'll wait and watch.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 6 years ago from Florida

      Hi,Peggy. Thanks so much for reading my Hub about my plants. I do love working in them. Thanks for the votes, too. See you again, soon, I hope.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      So very nice that your transplanted plants like their new environment. That red rose bush is truly a beauty! It must have been so exciting for you to see it finally grow and thrive. Fun hub to read. Voted up and useful.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 6 years ago from Florida

      Hello, Eddy. Wonder what the weather is like in Wales today? It got down to 35 here last night. I brought in my Orchids. They are like me: cant' tolerate the cold. I'm so pleased that you would take the time from your busy day to read some of my Hubs. I'm SO far behind in my reading. Thanks for the votes! I appreciate that. Hope you have a warm and wonderful day!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      Oh mary I am sure that the beauty in your hubs is a reflection of the beauty that is in our heart.

      This one is a true gem and has to be awarded an up up and away.

      I am just browsing through some of your hubs which I haven't yet read.

      What a beautiful task !!!

      Take care and enjoy your day.


    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 6 years ago from Florida

      You have a good attitude about your plants, and that's a good thing. People laugh at me when I say I "talk" to my plants, but I do. Plants are like people: they need sun, water and love. I wish you the very best at rebuilding your garden.

    • JEOrtega profile image

      JEOrtega 6 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you Mary! Yes everything died from lack of water. My herbs, geraniums, Australian Flax, purple statis, camillias, night blooming jasmine, and Hibiscus. I had a peach tree in a giant pot that I took with me when I moved but the shock killed it I'm afraid. But now, I have a clean slate with which to build an amazing garden. I will love every minute of it!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 6 years ago from Florida

      Hi JEOrtega, what a heartbreak that must have been to leave behind your plants! But if I understand you correctly, you are back in your house??? Too bad you lost plants, but they will come back, I'll bet. They just need your love and attention. Good luck with them.

    • JEOrtega profile image

      JEOrtega 6 years ago from Southern California

      Hi Mary! Happy New Year! Just read this article and I can relate so much to it. When I was forced to moved out of my home I left all of my fruit trees herbs, vegetables, and a plethora of other plants behind. I was so heart broken that I couldn't take them with me. But here I am, a year later back in my house with my fruit trees. The rest of my garden died due to lack of watering but now I have a clean slate to work with. My first project is the birdfeeders. Then the ROSES!!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 6 years ago from Florida

      Hi oceansnsunsets, I am one of the crazy people in the world who "talk" to their plants. Sometimes I think they understand. I know from your beautiful Hubs that you love plants, too. My Mother always said that when you plant something, be sure and touch it with your hands, no gloves!

      You might enjoy checking out my Hub about the huge poinsetttia I just received as a gift.

      Thanks for reading and for the nice compliment. Goodnight.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Mary, I love these stories of your plants that survived when it wasn't likely. What a great thing! I love it, and loved seeing the photos. Surely, they also were planted with love, which has to help a lot. Thanks for another great hub, loved it. :)

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 6 years ago from Florida

      Hi Gypsy, I don't know if I have a green thumb, but I know I love plants and flowers. Thanks for the compliment! See you again, soon.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 6 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Wonderful hub! Those plants all look so great. You certainly have a green thumb.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 6 years ago from Florida

      Hi drbj, I do enjoy "playing in the dirt"! Plants really can be a challenge, and I like that. It's such a beautiful day;I'm dying to get outside...hope you have a great day.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Hello, mary - based on your descriptions of your flowers that came back to life, so to speak, you appear to not only have 2 green thumbs but 8 green fingers as well. Happy gardening!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 6 years ago from Florida

      Good Morning, thelyricwriter! Good to see you so bright and early. I'm chilly this AM. Our temp. is 50, but the sun will soon warm us up. I, for one, could not survive in your climate! Thanks for the votes, and I wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season.

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 6 years ago from West Virginia

      Hey there Mary. A very interesting article you have here and you make good points in your references. Winter has really set in here in WV now. It surprises me also that some plants survive in extreme conditions and harsh climates. As you have stated, only the strong survive this constant battle. Votes up my dear. Best wishes and happy holidays.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 6 years ago from Florida

      Hi rebeccamealey, I grew up in Ga. and S.C. and I remember how cold it gets there! We're going down into the upper 50's tonight, and I dread it...

      Stay warm, regards, Mary

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 6 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      I loved looking at your pretty photos. I'm cold, 38 degrees in GA. We will have to concentrate on our evergreens to get us through this harsh winter.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 6 years ago from Florida

      Hi, there HBN, my plants pale in comparison to your gardens. I do the same about native plants, but sometimes I am so stubborn, I insist on growing something that I know will not take the cold, like the Hibiscus. First frost (if we have one) will kill it. I do love them though. Thanks for the votes.

      When are we going on another beautiful tour of flowers??


    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 6 years ago from Florida

      Hi Hiphenbird, good to see you! It's supposed to go down to about 50 tonight, and I dread it. I'm so spoiled. I could never live in cold country!

      Thanks for reading. Goodnight

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 6 years ago from Florida

      Hi writer20, thanks for reading and for the votes! We do have beautiful plants here in S. Fl. that grow very well all year long. Goodnight.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 6 years ago from South Carolina

      I loved the story behind the red rose bush and it was so gratifying to see it thriving and lovely all these years later. The yellow rose is truly stunning.

      When I choose plants for my garden I like to get ones which are considered "native" plants as they are the ones most likely to thrive in this environment and will need much less care.

      Thanks for sharing this lovely hub.

      Voted up across the board except for funny.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Mary, this is beautiful. The information is great and those flowers a true beauty and tough also. Everything here is colorless and grey, ready for a long winter. You have made me long for a warm, green climate where flowers bloom all year. Thank you dear heart.

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 6 years ago from Southern Nevada

      Hello Ms. Greenfingers, this a great hub about your wonderful plants and you lucky to live where they grow happily. Voting your hub up and beautiful.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 6 years ago from Florida

      Hi Rosemay50, I'm not an expert in roses. I just buy them, plant them, and hope they make it. I don't know what kind of rose the yellow one is. It has aways been small; not more than 2 feet high. Yes, I'd say you should put your plant back where it was happy. Thanks for reading...

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 6 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      How amazing that the red rose bush took off like that. The yellow rose is gogeous Mary, is it a Tea Rose?

      Earlier this year I took a plant from the garden and replanted in a wine barrel, as soo as spring arrived it bloomed, but very short lived and seems to be dying off, I guess it will go back to where it came from, where it was happy.


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