Look For Two Plants In One Pot

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Korean lilacsI noticed a few years back that a new nursery trend had started. Many growers began to put two shrub plants per pot, rather than the usual, one. These plants are positioned so close together, on casual observation they appear as one. I haven't bothered to research this practice. Maybe it's insurance to guarantee a living plant, should one die.


I see this 'two per pot' as a buy one, get one for free, opportunity. I've no doubt that each plant would thrive more so, were it not in such close proximity to the other. I have separated many such plants over time and lost only one. If I have the occasion to buy another 'two fer', I will take pictures showing my surgical skills using a keyhole saw, and add them to this post. Often, when thoroughly wetted, these plants can be gently teased apart, eliminating the need for the more drastic, cutting.

The lilac, syringa pubescens, subsp. patula, has the common name, 'Korean lilac'. It is of more compact habit than its cousin, making it ideal for smaller gardens and landscapes. The 2.25 gallon size is available at Lowe's for the regular price of $26.98.

Last fall, I spotted one that had been marked down to $5.00. It happened to be a two fer. I bought and brought home the pot, separated the plants with my keyhole saw and repotted them.

Pictured are two, still small, but lovely Korean lilacs with a retail value of $54.00. My cost: $5.00!

The rose, Dark Desire, hybrid tea, is a dark red rose with a tenancy to produce flowers with a red/violet hue. It is much desired due to it's heavy perfume, and is often offered as part of a 'Perfume Collection'.

I spotted one at Lowe's mark down area. It, too, was a two fer. I don't remember the original price. Considering the size of the container, I'm guessing $25.00. I brought it home and separated it. The picture shows the separated plants, along with a piece I accidentally broke off and rooted, and a smaller stem I rooted, just to see if I could.

These roses are fast growers, so along with the division, resulting in a $50.00 value, add in the two rootings, and there is a potential value of $100.00. My cost: $5.00!

It is possible that severing through a mass of entangled roots would result in the loss of both plants. This is unlikely. If you should lose one, you still have what you paid for. If you think you can tease the plants apart, try that first. If not, start sawing, aiming for the area where you will not cut any of the above soil trunk. If you can salvage both crowns uncut, you more than likely will have both plants to survive.

Doug MD

Look For Two Plants In One Pot

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April 19, 20161 found this helpful

You're absolutely right Doug that if you look around and with a little effort, you can spread the pleasure. I used to buy single pots of red geraniums to add a burst of color to lonely spots where the soil or light wasn't ideal for many other plants but where geraniums seemed to thrive. Several years ago I noticed that the hanging baskets each had 6 small geraniums in them, way too many for a basket, but with a good soaking the individual plants came apart easily.


2 or 3 baskets gave me many plants for the price of only half a dozen single potted ones. Granted, the basket plants are smaller to start with but geraniums are hardy and grow very quickly.

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April 19, 20160 found this helpful


I am not stingy by any means. I have been generous to a fault, many times in my life. I understand that home and garden centers have to make a decent profit on plants or they couldn't sell them.

I also feel very good about every mark down plant I buy. Truth be known, they're about all I ever buy.

It goes like this: We live in a time, culture and society where instant gratification is paramount. If people such as you and I were to pay full price for a pot or basket, that price would include what the growers must do to supply that instant gratification for those who demand it.


Some people want it all now, and would never wait for you small geraniums to become full size. They want an instant beautiful display, and want it now.

When we pay full price, we pay for what they want, even if we enjoy working with smaller plants, nurturing them to full size.

We want a bargain and Lowes has less than perfect plants it must take a cut on or throw them in the dumpster. It works well for both sides. I go bonkers when they have a 90% off sale. Once, I bought $500.00 worth of plants for $50.00

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April 25, 20160 found this helpful

I agree with you about people wanting an instant beautiful display and I would agree with you that garden centers could not sell so many plants and so easily if they were selling plants not yet nice to look at but that will live on for many years becoming more and more beautiful because they have been patiently cared for before being sold, but do you think people would be stupid enough to buy plants at a high price if they they were honestly informed that the plant maybe nice to look at but will die soon ? Give people the right information and if they keep on buying then and only then you can say they are the ''immediate satisfaction'' generation. In my opinion most of the time people are just not aware of the tricks garden centers play on their customers.

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April 26, 20160 found this helpful

"but do you think people would be stupid enough to buy plants at a high price if they they were honestly informed that the plant maybe nice to look at but will die soon ?"


YES! That's the type society we now live in. We have too much money. We have acquired these funds primarily by exploiting cheap labor around the world.


The Tables Will Turn

and we Americans will be weeping like babies because we have to be more careful with less income and don't have enough to waste the way we use to.

(Most plants are now labeled 'annual' or 'perennial').

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April 28, 20160 found this helpful

Boston ferns are an annual craze where I live. People buy these things like there's no tomorrow. It is in bad taste to have a porch that isn't adorned with as many ferns as space allows. So, what happens come late Fall?


Everybody throws these ferns into the nearest dumpster. They don't try to keep them by planting them in the ground, and they don't try to give them away. Why bother? it's only money.

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