If plant recognition exists, can plants have an orgy?

Ongoing studies suggest (notice I say, suggest) that plants not only recognize their kin (their own species, not including a different cultivar) but act aggressive to “strangers”, or different species trying to grow in their root space. There are many articles to read on this subject which led me to staying in my office for far too long last night, freezing – but intrigued in the topic and debate. I scrolled through some pictures I took earlier in the day, and noticed all the botanical kin recognizing and un-recognizing  going on in my own garden. The pot of annuals, happily co mingling together. The lone Aloe – who’s roots expand frighteningly fast without another to crowd it out. And the Buddlea – that committed suicide last week from being associated with the Oxalis that reseeded in the same pot (or because it was really cold).

Stop and think about the relationships in your garden, I bet there are a plethora of plant liaisons. I can’t even count how many orgies I am hosting in my garden. For instance, the pleasure pot you see in the main image is a menagerie of Echeveria (not sure the species, it was a cutting/gift from a grower), Sedum (Sedum angelina), Arctotis (Arctotis acaulis) and the always fabulous Penstemon ‘Blue Springs’ (Penstemon heterophyllus). They grow wonderfully together and are clearly not recognizing that they are different species and should possibly be orgy-ing with only themselves (can you orgy with just yourself?). Maybe, kin recognition is limited to in ground planting, and the secret rule is when planted in a pot – all bets are off. It sure looks that way – that Sedum’s inhibitions are completely gone, it seems.

Adversely, the Gunnera is self loving (or self soothing… that’s a whole different post) in this wretched cold weather. No orgies for this prehistoric plant.

What kind of orgies do you have going on right now?

dirty girl clean dirty girl garden echeveria gunnera In the Garden kin recognition in plants organic garden blog orgies penstemon potted plants sedum

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