By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter
Every spring, garden centers are swamped with perspective gardeners.
Some go right for the plants they want while others roam around confused and dazed.
Regardless of which one you may be, there are hints that can aid you in your plant selection.
Following these hints will not only help you become a better gardener but also a frugal one.
I personally like to grow my own plants from seeds but for some people this is not doable. And frankly, I do not have enough room to grow everything I put in my garden space. For those plants that I purchase, I like to go to businesses that grow their own plants. The reason for this is economical and biological.
Buying in my community keeps my local economy going and helps me build a relationship with the grower. I have been doing this for so long that I know them on a first name basis and they in turn know me. Also, it has been proven that plants grown in the environment that they are going to be planted in are healthier than those shipped in. For the same price, I am going to go with the locally grown varieties.
Plant quality is something else one needs to consider. Doing this starts with a visual inspection of the plant material. Never purchase plants that are in open or full bloom. Once you plant the material, the blooms typically will fall away. Also, never purchase plants with dead or yellowing leaves. This can be an indication of plant disease.
Next, look at the container the plant is in. If roots are coming out the top or pushing through the bottom, consider not buying them. This is an indication that the plant needs to be transplanted. Plants in this type of crammed environment can suffer from root damage, be malnourished, and stunted for life.
Also, take a look at how the plants are cared for. Plants that are watered with a spraying system, such as a watering hose or misting nozzle, can suffer from fungal and bacterial problems. The reason for this is the fact that the leaves of the plants get wet and may never have a chance to dry. This type of environment is perfect for the above mentioned issues. Hard watering is another problem that can dislodge soil and expose roots, which make plants under this condition vulnerable to root death.
Plants, regardless of where you purchase them, are an economic investment. Their quality can reward you or disappoint you. Following the tips described above will help your investment grow without disappointment. So until we blog again, shopping for garden plants should follow the same quality standards that one follows when they are shopping for a diamond for that special one. Consider your garden that special one that will reward you for years to come.