Help With Your Home And Garden

How to Choose the Best Plants at a Nursery

by Carolyn Fox

When shopping for plants at a nursery, you want to ensure you opt for only the best, highest quality plants, as it's not likely you can return them once you get them planted in your yard and give them time to grow. Plants that are not healthy when in the nursery may thrive with a bit of care after being planted, but it's not good to count on this happening. It's much better to take your time to shop for plants that are already healthy in the store. Note a few tip for doing this.

Leaves, not flowers

You may be drawn to plants that have colorful, full blooms, and this may make you think that they're very healthy. However, note that flowers may bloom erratically even with unhealthy plants, and the bloom you see today may be gone tomorrow. A better choice for understanding if plants are healthy would be the leaves; note if they are firm and stand up on their own, or if they seem wilted in any way. Wilted leaves usually means plants that are overwatered, and brown and brittle leaves indicate plants that are getting ready to die. These are much better signs to look for when shopping for plants, versus their flowers alone.


Along with leaves, stems are a good indication of how healthy flowers are; soft stems often mean an overwatered plant or one that is not healthy and is not getting nutrients through the stem. A stem that seems brittle can also indicate a plant that is not getting enough water; the plant may or may not react to your soil and fresh watering when you get it home, so it's good to think twice about plants with unhealthy stems that are dry.

Signs of infestation

You don't want plants that have been infested with bugs of any sort back home on your property, as the plants will likely die off very quickly and can also mean spreading that infestation to your other plants. Look for webs along the leaves and holes chewed through them, as this often means the plant has been home to bugs and insects. Look for signs of what insects leave behind; this can be small eggs on the leaves, which often resemble tiny white spots, or speckling along any part of the plant. Even if plants are up on a shelf and seem to be safe from insects, these telltale signs indicate you might opt for a different choice rather than risk an infestation at your home. Read more for more advice.