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6 Plant Buying Tips for Gardening Beginners

6 Plant Buying Tips for Gardening Beginners

Knowing the difference between a healthy and unhealthy plant will make a lot of difference in your home garden. Also knowing if a plant has already bloomed before you buy it is essential for gardening success. Use these plant buying tips so you can get your home garden started out right.

Buds Only

While it’s tempting, don’t buy a plant that is in bloom. The plant will use all its energy to sustain those blooms and not be able to establish a root system when planted in your garden. Select plants that have just begun to form buds for best results. This will give the plant time to adjust to its new home after being planted so it can use its energy to produce and sustain blooms after its planted.

Check Root System

Turn the plant container upside down and look at the bottom. A healthy plant will not have roots protruding from the drainage hole on the underside of the container. Protruding roots indicate the plant is pot-bound and will have difficultly becoming established after being re-planted.

Healthy plants have light colored roots that appear evenly distributed. Dark roots or soil that has a sour odor indicate the plant has been frequently over-watered and developed root-rot.

Inspect for Pests

Inspect top and bottom of plant leaves for signs of pest infestation. Look for black spots, tiny green specs about the size of rice (aphids) or sticky residue. If plant has any abnormality, it could indicate pest infestation or disease and should not be purchased. If you bring home a pest infested or diseased plant it has the potential of infesting all other plants, its best not to purchase a questionable plant.

Long Legs

Plants that have long ‘legs’ are stressed because they have not received enough sunlight and have grown tall and spindly (called leggy). While leggy plants may recover from their stressful start, the odds are not in their favor.

Pale or Yellow Plants

Pale or yellow foliage indicates that the plant has received too much or too little water. The stressed-out plants may recover, but the signs of over-watering and under-watering are the same and you won’t know whether to give it more water or less to help it recover.

Buy Local

Seed catalogs offer a huge variety of beautiful plants, however all of them are not suited to grow in your particular growing zone. A local nursery will only carry plants that are suited for your growing zone and that will provide you with a higher rate of gardening success.