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The description of the mending cantrip says:

This spell repairs a single break or tear in an object you touch, such as a broken chain link, two halves of a broken key, a torn cloak, or a leaking wineskin. As long as the break or tear is no larger than 1 foot in any dimension, you mend it, leaving no trace of the former damage.

This spell can physically repair a magic item or construct, but the spell can't restore magic to such an object.

For the purpose of mending, are plants considered to be objects? If a patch of bark falls off of a tree, or a limb or branch, could it be reattached with mending?

I understand that living creatures are unaffected by this cantrip, as they are not objects, which is directly stated by Chris Perkins on Twitter. But, while plants are living, usually, could the cantrip be cast to restore them if they've been damaged?
It could be argued that once the plant has been destroyed, it is now an object. How would still living trees and other plants be ruled?

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By RAW, Mending cannot be used on plants.

The rules that define objects in D&D (as indicated in an unofficial tweet from January 2017 by Jeremy Crawford, the rules writer and arbiter) list these conditions (emphasis mine):

[...] an object is a discrete, inanimate item like a window, door, sword, book, table, chair, or stone, not a building or a vehicle that is composed of many other objects.

Using the "plain language" approach, we can use a dictionary to define any ambiguous terms that are not otherwise defined in the books.

The definition of inanimate is:

not alive, especially not in the manner of animals and humans

And the definition of plant is:

a living organism of the kind exemplified by trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses, ferns, and mosses...

Using these definitions, we can determine that plants are indeed not inanimate, and are therefore not objects, making them ineligible targets for the mending cantrip.

You might be able to get away with using a spell like druidcraft - but as a cleric, you wouldn't normally have access to that spell without multiclassing unless you are a Nature Domain cleric and learn it using the Acolyte of Nature feature (PHB, p. 62), or you take the Magic Initiate feat (PHB, p. 168) and choose the druid class.

If you want to get creative and bend the rules a little, you could reference Crawford's unofficial tweet from March 2016 about corpses and extend that logic to dead plants - but a recently smashed plant isn't necessarily instantly dead, either.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ There might be some wiggle room in the choice of the word 'inanimate' since plants (usually) don't move on their own (with notable exceptions). That would be the GM stretching the intent, but it's probably harmless to do so. \$\endgroup\$ – user47897 Jan 24 '19 at 15:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MarkTO if you want to get nitpicky, technically plants do move when they grow (it's just very slow), although the definition of "inanimate" says nothing about moving in the first place. \$\endgroup\$ – G. Moylan Jan 24 '19 at 15:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @G.Moylan - If the plants were cut and had faded (like in a vase), then then could be mended and brought back to vibrant colors? \$\endgroup\$ – VVilliam Jan 24 '19 at 15:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @VVilliam that would fall along the lines of the interpretation of a plant "corpse," as included in my edit. It also might depend on how long they've been dead/cut/faded. That one will ultimately come down to a DM decision, since I don't think there's a rule specifically regarding plant matter. That might fall more into the Prestidigitation category, although again it's a DM decision at that point for what "clean or soil" explicitly means \$\endgroup\$ – G. Moylan Jan 24 '19 at 15:29
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Yes, as long as they are not plant creatures

The Plant type description says, in part:

Plants in this context are vegetable creatures, not ordinary flora. Most of them are ambulatory, and some are carnivorous. The quintessential plants are the shambling mound and the treant. Fungal creatures such as the gas spore and the myconid also fall into this category.

emphasis added. If ordinary flora were creatures, they certainly ought to possess this type. Since the type calls out that it's talking about 'vegetable creatures', as opposed to 'ordinary flora', we can safely conclude that ordinary plants aren't creatures.

The rules expect that most things are creatures or objects. There are exceptions-- a fireball effect coming at you is quite possibly neither, for example-- but ordinary flora are ubiquitous and mundane and making them an exception here has really weird and counter-intuitive consequences, like making them immune to the disintegrate spell. It's much simpler and has much better consequences for verisimilitude and balance to rule that, as in previous editions, ordinary plants are objects.

And, of course, once you've ruled that ordinary plants are objects, it's clear mending should work even though they are alive-- the spell can target anything that counts as an object.

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