More About Those Illiterate Plants

You probably wonder why on earth I keep saying “plants can’t read.” It was one of my favorite sayings when I worked in retail gardening–so far as I know, I made it up.

I would say it whenever a customer would ask me about plant height or width. I would give them the general range, followed by my favorite saying, and then say something like, so if the plant is very happy–or unhappy–at your house, what this tag says could be different.

Back then I didn’t realize how little new plants were actually “trialled” for the traits they were supposed to have.

And this summer, I came across another plant that just didn’t read its own press.


This is a “new” white mandevilla. Supposedly its claim to fame is that it is not supposed to vine. Oopsie! I guess mine didn’t read the press.

I don’t particularly care. I love the plant. It’s done exceptionally well for me all summer, despite our monsoon conditions.

I bought it in a hanging basket specifically so that I would not be tempted to try to over-winter it. Every fall, as frost nears, my mandevilla or dipladenia is still blooming so gloriously that on occasion, I have brought them in.

The next thing I know, in the low light of our Connecticut winters, they’re dropping all their leaves and sending out tendrils that are trying to climb everything in my house. No! Not ever again. Some plants are just meant to be seasonal joys for me.

4 thoughts on “More About Those Illiterate Plants

  1. tonytomeo August 27, 2018 / 10:45 pm

    I learned that plants can’t read back in the late 1980s from one of our professors who explained to us that the basic chemical composition of fertilizers is more important than the price or any fancy additives.

  2. gardendaze August 28, 2018 / 5:14 am

    Ah, so great minds think alike!


  3. Delia August 28, 2018 / 7:49 am

    Boy, your “garden” is gorgeous. You should post a video tour so we deadbeats can live vicariously.

  4. gardendaze August 28, 2018 / 8:40 am

    Oh my gosh, thank you! If you only knew! I will bet that your garden is every bit as gorgeous as mine, if not more so–but thank you so much for the thought!


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