At first glance, all the plants in the nursery look lush and glorious. Usually they are. However there are times when a few quick checks can prevent you from bringing home a lemon. Take some time to look over your purchase, before you introduce a problem into your garden.
Time Required: 5-15 Minutes
- Quality of Nursery: Take in an overview of the plant department. Look to see that the majority of the plants seem healthy and well cared for.
- Foliage: Evaluate the condition of your specific plant. Are the leaves green, shiny and lush? Steer clear of any plants that are wilting or yellowing. Stressed plants may or may not recover.
- Shape: Consider the shape of the plant. Is it compact and full, with multiple stems? Taller is often not better. It could mean the plant has been straining for light and has grown thin and spindly.
- Insects & Disease: Inspect closely for signs of insects or disease. Check both sides of the leaves and the potting soil. Signs can include: blackened areas, holes, spots, mushy areas, stickiness and distortions.
- Root System: Don’t neglect the roots. If the plant is pot bound and the roots are growing out of the bottom, the plant may be stressed and take time to recover. If there aren’t many roots and the plant lifts out very easily, it was probably recently repotted and could use more time to become garden worthy.
- Stem Damage: If the plant has a thick or woody stem, make sure there are no cracks or scars. Even prior damage can weaken a plant.
- Weeds: Weeds in the pot are competing with the plant for nutrients. They also signal some neglect on the part of the nursery staff.
- Root Ball: When buying a balled-and-burlapped tree or shrub, the root ball should feel solid. If it appears broken, there’s a good chance the roots have had a chance to dry out and the plant will suffer.
- Buds & Flowers: Plants in bud will transplant and thrive better than plants in flower.
- When All is Said and Done: If you’ve just got to have it, go ahead and buy the plant. With a little pampering, it just may defy the odds.
- Be especially careful of houseplants. Any pest brought into a confined area will spread quickly.