Choosing The Best Plant
Choosing The Best Plant
April 21, 2014 | | Gardening Tips, Plants
Now that it’s finally planting season we have many customers shopping for great plants for their gardens. When faced with a nursery that’s filled with so many choices, how do you pick the best plant? Here are some general guidelines:
- Start with the size that you want. Some people find smaller plants easier to handle, and others want the instant satisfaction of a larger selection. Once you’ve decided which size plant suits your needs and budget, compare the shapes of those on display.
- If the plants that you’re considering are flowering varieties the advantage to choosing one that’s already in bloom is that you clear see what the flower color looks like. Sometimes tags are faded or not quite accurate when it comes to color, so if you have the flower in front of you there are no surprises. On the other hand, a plant that hasn’t come into bloom yet will be enjoyed through the entire process of bud and flowering.
- Look for plants that don’t have major wounds on their trunks or stems. Small scratches here and there aren’t a problem, but since wounds can be places where diseases can enter, it’s best to avoid a stem with a large gash or scrapped bark.
- When selecting a large-growing shrub or tree, look at the top of the soil for signs of a “girdling root.” These are roots that have wrapped all around the base of a plant early in life, and they are usually clearly visible at the soil surface. Most growers pull such plants out of their offerings, but it’s nevertheless good to check since girdling roots will ultimately end up killing your shrub or tree.
- A few leaf spots aren’t usually a concern, especially on trees, shrubs and perennials. Plants such as Hydrangeas are prone to getting leaf spot when watered frequently overhead, so they may have a dark spot or two when in the nursery. This is only a cosmetic issue and won’t be a problem, nor will it spread, once the plant is placed in the garden and watered less frequently. Some perennials such as Gaura naturally develop spots on their foliage. When in doubt, ask one of our employees what is natural for the plant you’re considering.
- One reason for buying your plants at an independent garden center is that those plants have been consistently watered. Plants on display at box stores are frequently seen wilted and under stress; such selections aren’t the best choice because their roots may have died back because they have repeatedly dried.
- We’re happy to help you choose “the pick of the litter” when you come into the garden center…just ask!
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