Horticulturist warns some perennials may not survive this winter

WINTERVILLE, NC (WITN) - Plant shoots and buds are emerging thanks to the stretch of warm, wet weather across Eastern Carolina, but many people may soon start to notice that some perennials aren't returning as usual.

The horticulturist who owns Plant and See Nursery in Winterville says that while it may feel early, it's not unusual to see signs of spring this time of year.

"Plants are like people --- they want it to be spring!" said Tom Lassiter.

Unfortunately, the harsh winter weather we saw across much of the east in January likely damaged plants that can usually survive in the east from year to year. Lassiter says the temperatures were simply unusually low for an unusual length of time.

Lassiter's daughter, Lindsay Ryan, said "people will start to see some damage from that time here in the next couple of weeks on some of their shrubbery, things that usually make it through the winter here fine are probably going to show a little damage. Most of those things should come back out as it continues to get warm, but people may lose some things this year that they have not ever lost before."

Coming out of winter, business will soon pick up at the nursery and greenhouses where a variety of potted plants and landscaping options fill a number of large buildings. The family says that while Valentine's Day isn't a huge market for them, they do have some customers who come in looking for an alternative to cut stems.

"We have definitely had customers who love to get potted plants, we have some really beautiful choices of potted flowers and we have a great hydrangea crop we grow ourselves and the beautiful thing about that is after they're done blooming when the spring arrives people can plant those in their yard and they should come back every year for the person so its a lasting gift," Ryan said.

Along with hydrangeas, the nursery and greenhouses offer a variety of potted plants, air plants and succulents with a wide range of sunlight requirements and watering frequency.

They also have hundreds of 2-year-old rose bush canes that are ready for landscape planting now -- but be warned, they won't look anything like those fresh-cut stems for several months until they're green and flowering in the yard.