Landscaping Tips: Which Is Better? Cultivars Vs Varieties
‘Cultivar’ and ‘Variety’ are two terms used by gardeners and horticulturalists that form a part of the scientific name of a plant that describes its characteristics. Asking which is better out of cultivars and varieties is a difficult question to answer, as they each have differing characteristics, which may or may not be suited to the gardener or landscaper who is using the plant.
In terms of how often they are used, and which is used more by landscapers today, some horticulturalists believe that there are more cultivars being planted than varieties but this cannot be easily verified. Additionally, when it comes to the naming of plants, sometimes gardeners and horticulturalists can be lazy in how they write this information, so this can be even more confusing. The best way we can assist you in answering this question is to provide an overview of each type, and perhaps you will be able to make a decision for yourself as to which you feel is better for your garden.
The word ‘cultivar’ is a shortened term for a cultivated variety, which is a plant that has not been propagated by seed, but rather through human intervention such as via stem cuttings. The offspring of a cultivar will maintain the characteristics of the parent plant for only one generation. This means that the seeds from this plant are not guaranteed to have the same characteristics of the plant from which they came.
An example of this is if the cultivar has a particular colour of flower that is sought by the landscaper. Rather than being able to save seeds from the plant at the end of the season, the landscaper would need to buy a new plant as the seeds that the current plant produces would not be guaranteed to produce offspring with the same characteristics as its parent plant. The advantage of using cultivars is that you may find plants with characteristics that are desirable, such as a particular colour of flower or aroma, which you would not find in a variety.
The word ‘variety’, which is often abbreviated as ‘var’, refers to plants that grow and reproduce naturally. The seeds of these plants are more likely to produce offspring that have the same characteristics as their parent plant, for example, if the parent variety had purple flowers, the seeds that are produced from the plant will most likely have the same. Because cultivated varieties are patented by the plant developer, they might cost a bit more than varieties that grow and reproduce naturally, which makes varieties often cheaper to buy.
For more information about the different types of plants that we have at Bacchus Marsh & Redgum Garden Centre, come in and talk to one of our experienced gardeners.