Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show: The dirt on plant shopping
When plant shopping, bigger is not always better. Tis better to bloom in your garden than in the garden center.
If you see a little wilting it could be a sign of a root problem. Look for plants with good color on the leaves. Look under the leaves for any possible insects. If you have a plant loupe, bring it with you! You’ll look ultra cool, I promise.
Seriously, in some of the big box stores where plants are shipped in from all over, it’s not a bad idea.
Your local garden nurseries are generally more reliable but always do a look see. I had a horticulturist from the U of MN tell me that, if she sees any sign of wilting, she’ll tip the plant out of it’s pot to see the roots. They should look white and plump. No yellowing or mushy spots and no wrapped roots.
Take a look at these root systems! Obviously you want the one on the right. The roots on the left are wrapped around and around and you can see the plant is not doing well. You CAN do some root pruning. Take an exacto knife and slice those roots! If you’re feeling like that’s too brutal, then shake the plant out. Just remember that it’s important those winding roots are NOT planted that way.
If you’re looking for rare plants, check out the smaller local nurseries. And check the paper for Charity Plant Sales. By the way, know what your needs are. Sun? Shade? Height? Color? Bloom time. In other words, make a list!