How To Choose a Healthy Plant
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
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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
5. Root System: Donít
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 arenít many roots and the plant lifts
out very easily, it was probably recently repotted and could use
more time to become garden worthy.
6. 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.
7. Weeds: Weeds in the
pot are competing with the plant for nutrients. They also signal
some neglect on the part of the nursery staff.
8. Root Ball: When buying
a balled-and-burlapped tree or shrub, the root ball should feel
solid. If it appears broken, thereís a good chance the roots
have had a chance to dry out and the plant will suffer.
9. Buds & Flowers: Plants
in bud will transplant and thrive better than plants in flower.
10. When All is Said and
Done: If youíve 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.