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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

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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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