Spring is in the air and flowers and plants are getting stocked up at the local nursery. It is planting season my friends! Gardeners around the world wait impatiently for the last frost date to pass so they can get their flower and vegetable gardens planted. A few have started their seeds inside and are ready to rock the gardening season. Then there are those that prefer to buy their transplants from garden centers and local nurseries. There is an instant gratification of going to the plant store, selecting out your babies then heading home and planting them into the ground. Knowing how to pick healthy plants at the nursery will help!
Here’s How to Pick Healthy Plants at the Nursery
When you are picking out the plants at the nursery there are few things to keep in mind to make sure you are purchasing healthy plants. Try to buy annuals that are just about to flower but are not in full bloom yet. This means that they have many more flowers to set out. I tend to buy the shortest plants on the table so that they will mature in my garden and not in the garden center.
When buying a 6-pack of plants you want the ones that don’t have a ton of roots sticking out the bottom. If there are, then you know that the plant has stifled roots and you could lose it to transplant shock. If you do buy one of these plants, you will either have to cut off the roots that are outside the container or gently try to get them to separate so you can pull the plant out. Make sure to water really well and that the soil you transplant into is full of ready to use fertilizer like compost or earthworm castings. Ideally, when you squeeze or tap the sides of the plastic of the 6-pack the plants should pop right out and the soil should be dark from good water retention. If the soil is dried out, then you will have to soak the 6-pack in a tub of water before you transplant these guys into your garden.
When you are looking at plants in individual pots, you want to use the same principles – always check the status of the roots first. Next look at the top and bottom of the leaves – do you see insects or eggs? If you do, put the plant back and move on. If there are a lot of bugs, go wash your hands so you don’t transfer the eggs to any other plants. Don’t take a plant that has bad bugs back to your garden or you could infest your entire yard.
If a plant has yellowing leaves that is a sign that it has not been watered properly and is need of fertilization. If the tips are burned then that means that there is too much salt in the water that the nursery has been using. Both of these the plant can recover.
Remember when picking out healthy plants in the nursery to look at the roots, underneath the leaves, and the moisture level of the soil. Those three areas can make or break the success of your garden.