Choosing plants for your garden requires care and an eye for detail. Before going to a garden nursery to buy plants for your garden, look around your neighbourhood for plants which seem to grow well. This is always a great indication of which plants will grow well in your area. You have to have some idea about what plants to bring home.
Plant soil. Make sure the soil in your garden is appropriate for the type of plants you have in mind to grow. Also, be sure the soil has been prepared and ready for the transplanting.
Garden layout ideas. It helps to already have an idea about the layout and the design you’d like for your garden. If you’d like more than one plant type, you have to know how many of each you need for the portion of the space you are planting out.
At first glance, everything in the garden nursery would look gloriously appealing. Be careful. Learn from the tips below how to choose plants which will perform at their best when you get them home. If it’s an annual plant, you want to see it covered in flowers all summer long and for a shrub, you want to see it making a bold statement in your garden.
Many nurseries will offer their plants in specific categories, which makes it easier for you to select a certain plant for that specific spot in your garden. You may find a ‘ground cover’ area, where you can select a ground cover plant from a range of plants offered, or a ‘drought hardy’ area, where you can find plants which don’t need much water.
10 tips for buying the best quality plants.
- Appearance. Any plant should be well established in its pot. If it is newly potted you will be growing it on through its ‘baby’ stages with an increased risk it won’t survive. If the surface of the compost looks loose and fluffy or the plant lifts from the compost when you gently pull on the stem it may mean it’s a plant to avoid. Don’t buy plants that obviously look unwell.
- Foliage colour. Look over the plant you pick. Check both sides of the leaves. The leaves should be shiny, green and healthy-looking. Make sure the leaves do not exhibit blackened areas, holes, spots, mush, distortions and discolorations.
- Plant height.Where plants are concerned, taller is never better. Go for the ideal – average height. Tall plants could mean a crowded lot where plants have to strain for sunlight and grown quite thin. If plants are grown too close together, they will stretch upwards to reach the light – what a gardener would refer to as being ‘drawn’. For a herbaceous perennial this may only affect this year’s growth but an annual or a shrub which is drawn will probably remain top heavy and never form an attractive shape.
- Pot bound. Check whether the plant has a thick mass of roots growing from the bottom of the pot. These plants have been in their pots way too long. Another sign of a pot bound plant is the amount of weed growth.
- Weeds. It is perfectly healthy to see a few small weeds around the top of a pot, but if a weed is well established then it may prove impossible to remove without damaging the plant. Look for weeds which have perennial root stocks (such as dandelions) and for anything growing within the central crown of the plant which will prove difficult, if not impossible, to remove.
- Pests and Disease. Any plant which has pests or disease will not only be unhealthy itself but may also infect or infest the rest of your garden. Look carefully at the growing tips for signs of aphid. A cloud of small flies which take flight when you touch the plant is whitefly. Twisted and contorted leaves could be one of a number of problems. Also look out for: cuts and holes in the foliage; white ‘powder’ on the leaves (powdery mildew) and orange ‘fluff’ under the leaves (rust). ‘Burnt’ leaves may indicate that a plant hasn’t been watered enough, or it could be a sign of serious disease.
- Pruning. Shrubs and trees will probably have been pruned by the growers, if so check that their work has left a plant with a clean, open shape, and that growth is not one sided.
- Stem Condition.You’d like to pick a plant with healthy stem. If its stem is woody or thick, make sure it’s smooth and clean and bears no signs or cracks or stress. Prior damage can weaken a plant. Also watch out for stems which are crossing or rubbing against each other as this may provide a path for infection.
- Root system. If it looks like the roots of the potted plant are too many or are sticking out from the bottom of the plant, this could indicate stress, resulting in the plant taking time to recover. If it looks like there aren’t too many roots, this could mean the plants were potted very recently; they could require more time to be ready for transplanting.
- Starved. If the leaves are turning yellow or bronze (and that’s not the natural colour for that variety) then the plant is probably starved of fertilizer and will take longer to grow.
Contact GardensinWonderland to help you identify plants if you do not know the name of the plant you would like to grow.