Posted By: Michelle Kuehler /
When you walk into a nursery for the first time in spring, it is tempting to just grab the first couple of plants that catch your eye. Everything in the nursery may look lush and enticing, but take a closer look before you buy. Choosing healthy plants can make all the difference for garden success.
Shape up or Shove it
Take a look at the overall shape of the plant. The plant should be compact and full, with multiple stems, not tall and spindly. Touch or gently shake the plant. Leaves, twigs and buds should not easily fall off; if they do it has not been taken care of properly. Also, choose plants with buds instead of blooms. They will transplant and grow easier.
Don’t Risk Unhealthy Roots
Check underneath pot-bound plants to evaluate the health of the plant’s root system. If its roots are sticking out from the bottom, the plant will be harmed when it is transplanted. It may recover slowly over time but may not reach its full potential. Also, take a look above the surface for girdling. If the plant’s roots are wrapping around the base, it will never have a healthy root system.
Leaf it or Leave it
The foliage should be green, lustrous and lush. If the leaves are wilting or yellowing, the plant may be stressed from too much or too little water, not enough nutrition or another issue. Stressed plants may never recover. If the leaves aren’t up to par, leave it.
Don’t Bother with Bugs
Look a little closer for bugs and disease. Their presence can be detrimental to your entire garden. Look on both sides of the leaves and check the potting soil. Evidence of an infestation can include black spots or holes on the leaves and any mushy or sticky areas.
Toss Broken Trees
If you are buying a tree, make sure that the trunk is straight with a flare at the bottom and wide, evenly spaced branches. If the tree is in burlap, check to make sure the root-ball is solid. If it breaks apart the plant has been allowed to dry out, which may cause slowed growth or even the death of the tree.
If You Just Can’t Resist
With a little TLC most plants will survive but evaluate if any harm can be done to other members of your garden. Make sure to read the label for best care and treat your new plant to some healthy nutrients. Try Grow Big 521, a lavender-scented fish emulsion product, packed with nutrients to help revive your ailing but loved plant.