Picking a Healthy Plant. When it comes to getting started with your garden, you have two choices; planting seeds, or buying entire plants. Both have their own benefits. If you plant seeds and care for them every day, you will appreciate the joy of a healthy plant. However, this method is a lot riskier. I can’t tell you how many seeds I’ve planted and never seen any trace of whatsoever.
When you buy plants from a nursery, it reduces a lot of the work involved in making it healthy. However, some inexperienced nursery workers an absolutely ruin the future of the plant by using certain chemicals or fertilizers. I have adapted to this by learning to choose the healthiest plant of the bunch. Here I will discuss some of the techniques I use in my screening process for plants.
It may sound superficial, but the one thing you need to check for on your prospective plants is how nice they look. As far as plants go, you can truly judge a book by its cover. Well maintained plants will look healthy with no visible disease or pests. If a plant has grown up in improper soil, or has harmful bugs living in it, you can tell from the holey leaves and wilted stems.
When browsing nursery shelves for a healthy plant, you want to exclude anything that currently has flowers. Plants are less traumatized by the transplant if they do not currently have any flowers. It’s best to find ones that just consist of buds. However, if all you must choose from flowering plants, then you should do the unthinkable and sever all blooms. It will be worth it for the future health of the plant. I’ve found that transplanting a plant while it is blooming results in having a dead plant ninety percent of the time.
Always check the roots before you plop down the money to purchase the plant. Of course, if the roots are in terrible condition you will be able to tell by looking at the rest of the plant. Inspect the roots very closely for any signs of brownness, rottenness, or softness. The roots should always be a firm, perfectly well formed infrastructure that holds all the soil together. It is easy to tell if the roots are before or past their prime, depending on the root to soil ratio. If there are a ridiculous number of roots with little soil, or a bunch of soil with few roots, you should not buy that plant.
If you encounter any abnormalities with the plant, you should bring it to the attention of nursery employees. Always give the nursery a chance before writing them off as horrendous. After all, they are usually professionals who have been dealing with plants for years.
If you decide to take the easy route and get a plant from a nursery, you should remember that the health of the plants has been left up to someone you don’t know. Usually they do a good job, but you should always check for yourself. Also, take every precaution you can to avoid transplant shock in the plant (when it has trouble adjusting to its new location, and therefore has health problems in the future). Usually the process goes smoothly, but you can never be too sure.
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