When you visit a plant nursery, you are faced with a wealth of options. But no matter how healthy or beautiful a plant looks, make sure you take the time to examine it carefully. Sometimes, just taking an extra minute to look a plant over can help you to avoid taking home an unhealthy plant.
If you are planning to add some plants to your home or yard in the coming weeks or months, use the following tips to help you choose the best possible plants.
1. Examine the roots
What's below the soil is more important than what's above the soil when checking the health of a plant. For instance, a plant that has spent too long in its pot will have pot bound roots that circle around the pot or protrude from the bottom of the pot. Pot-bound roots struggle to grow outward in soil when transplanted, and eventually, the plants become stunted and die.
2. Check the stem for wounds
If you notice any cracks or breaks in the stem of a plant, that plant may have suffered damage in the past. Healing wounds in the stem leave plants at the mercy of pests and diseases. Choose plants with strong, healthy stems.
3. Check the health of the leaves
Avoid buying plants that have yellowing or wilting leaves. These are signs that a plant is stressed. Either stressed plants will take time to recover, or they will eventually die, leaving you disappointed.
4. Look for weeds in the pot
If you see weeds growing in a plant's pot, don't buy that plant. Weeds indicate neglect. And if you take home a plant with weeds in the pot, even if you remove the weeds, you could end up with weeds sprouting everywhere in your garden.
5. Look for signs of pests or disease
Check plants for signs of pests and disease. If you find areas of stickiness, bumpiness, discolouration or distortion in a plant's foliage, then avoid that plant. If you bring home a diseased or infested plant, your other plants could suffer too.
6. Go for leaves and buds, not flowers
Although you may be tempted to bring home the plant with the most beautiful and prominent flowers, go for leaves and buds instead. Remember, plants put much of their energy into creating and sustaining flowers. Not only will plants with more buds and fewer flowers transplant better, but they will also produce more blossoms in the near future.
These tips will help you to choose the healthiest plants the next time you visit your local plant nursery.