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Buying plants from a nursery can be expensive, especially if you are covering a big garden. To get the most out of your money, you must choose carefully when buying plants from a nursery, especially exotic and rare plants. Is buying plants from a nursery better than growing crops from seeds? What are the factors to consider before buying plants from a nursery? In this guide, we are dishing out essential tips to know before visiting a local nursery:

Things You Should Know Before Buying Plants From Nursery

man holding push cart with plants in a plant nursery

Check the Leaves

When buying plants from a nursery, you must choose only the healthiest ones to ensure their survival once planted in your garden. Start checking the leaves of each plant and look for signs of sickness or disease.

Choose only those with green, perky, thick, healthy foliage. If the leaves are turning yellow or brown, or have a bleached appearance, do not pick them. Plants with wilted leaves are either thirsty or suffering from a disease. If the plants have black leaves, they could suffer from fungal or bacterial infections, which must be avoided.

Check the Plant Shape

Many times, a pruned plant is a typical sight in plant nurseries. But watch out if the plant you are eyeing is the only one pruned, and the rest are left unpruned! Pruning may have been done to remove diseased, dying, or damaged stems. Some shops would prune unhealthy plants to make them look better and score a sale. Keep a close eye on newly pruned plants and focus on those with healthy, bright green leaves.

Check for Pests

Garden pests and plant diseases are common when plants are grown closely together in a space exposed to the elements. At the plant nursery, look out for signs of pests, which are typically hidden out of sight, under the leaves, or in the roots. Never buy diseased or pest-ridden plants because these will spread quickly in the garden and kill any weak plants you might have.

Aphids, scales, mites, etc., are common at the nursery. If the plant leaves look blistered, distorted, sticky, or holey, these are signs of pest infestation. If the leaves are ridden with black spots, the plants are diseased.

Check for Weeds

Only buy plants at a well-maintained plant nursery. If the nursery is ridden with weeds or individually grown plants have weeds in their growing pots, that’s a clear sign of neglect. Weeds steal nutrients from the soil instead of being absorbed by the plants. If by chance you didn’t see the weeds growing in the plant’s growing pot, pull these out before planting, or the weeds could end up spreading in your garden.

Avoid Leggy Plants

Leggy is a term used for plants with unnaturally long steps with only a few leaves attached. If a plant is too leggy or lanky, it’s a sign that it is not getting enough sunlight or is over-fertilized. Leggy plants are vulnerable to plant diseases and might be too weak to survive transplanting. These plants won’t grow vertically and will break easily in the wind.

Leggy plants must be handled carefully while in transit; otherwise, they might only live for a short time in the garden once planted. Only choose healthy plants with a well-branch structure. The plants should have bushy, green, pest and disease-free foliage.

Choose In-Season Plants

Exotics, rare, and even common plants that are in season might not survive your garden’s growing conditions. Buying local plants guarantees their survival after planting in the garden. Local plants have a higher chance of establishing well in your garden because they don’t have to adjust to the local climate to thrive. The best part is that local plants are resistant to common pests and diseases because they are acclimated to your local region’s growing conditions.

Check for Healthy Roots

You can tell a lot about a plant’s health by checking its roots. At the nursery, ask the sales rep to show the partial roots of a plant. Examine the color of the roots. When checking the roots, touch or slightly pull them apart to see if they are soggy. If the roots look soggy, soft, brown, or are falling apart, do not buy the plant! Root rot kills plants and attracts pests.

Avoid plants with roots growing out of the drainage hole or if roots are creeping up on the topsoil. These plants are root bound and might be too stressed to survive repotting. For plants with fine roots, examine closely and carefully so you don’t end up inflicting trauma on the plants. Plants with fewer roots will take more time to grow.

Prep the Garden Soil

Amend the soil with natural fertilizer and break up compacted soil to achieve a loose texture. If it rained or if you left the sprinkler running, give the soil a couple of days to dry out before planting the new plants. Transplanting can be stressful for plants, and prepping the soil makes the transition easier for your new plants.

Avoid Blooming Plants

Buying plants with fully bloomed flowers might seem like a good idea but don’t. Fully bloomed plants look good at a glance, but in many cases, they might not survive replanting. Also, most will lose their flowers after a few days. Plants with buds are more likely to thrive because they are not spending energy producing flowers just yet.

Also, you’ll enjoy longer flowering time in the garden if you plant flowering plants with buds than plants with full blooms. Instead of focusing on getting plants with fully bloomed flowers, focus on the plant’s health. Take home plants that look healthy to survive the travel and transplanting.

Ask Questions

It will be good to ask nursery employees which plants would grow best in your garden. By consulting an expert, you can figure out the perfect plants to take home. Ask what plants will thrive in your garden soil type, how often you should water the plants, what kinds of fertilizer to amend the soil, and so on.

Nursery employees are well-versed in plants that survive local or specific growing conditions. They can also provide information about potential issues with certain plants and their growing habits.

Factors to Consider Before Going to a Plant Nursery

                 holding cactus plants while browsing for another plants

Know what plants you’re looking for: Research what plants to buy before visiting your local plant nursery. Make a list of the plants you’d like to get, including their specific growing requirements, sizes, and names. This helps avoid impulse purchases.

Do your research: Don’t just pick a random plant in the nursery because it looks good. Do your research, find each plant’s growing needs and the amount of water and sunlight they need to thrive. This information will help you choose the best plants for your garden.

Check for the nursery’s reputation: Buy only from legitimate sources. Check a plant nursery’s reviews, About Us page, and other information online before dropping by to buy plants. This goes especially if you’re buying dozens of plants for a project. Only do business with nurseries with an excellent reputation to get your money’s worth.

Shop around: Don’t just buy plants in one store; never let the staff pressure you into purchasing a plant, either. Shop around and compare prices. Do your best to get the best deals and healthiest plants. Plant nurseries can offer different plant varieties, and you may have to visit each one to find what you are looking for.

Buying plants from a nursery is a great way to build a garden and enhance the beauty of your outdoor space. With the tips above, you can get the best plants for your needs and avoid wasting time and energy buying unhealthy or unfit plants.

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