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What to look out for when buying plants

Click here to buy plants online

Buying Plants Advice

When buying, take your time and choose with care. Make sure that the plants are clearly labelled, not only with the specific name but also the variety, and check thoroughly for any signs of pests and diseases. Examine leaves and stems for rust, die-back, and any other kind of damage. The branches on trees and shrubs should be well spaced and the main ones unbroken. If they have been grafted or budded, check that all buds show signs of growth.

Choosing a healthy plant

HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN IN THE POT?
If you are buying a containerised plant, the container should be filled with roots. This shows that the plant has grown in the container and has not been lifted and containerised recently.
A sure sign of this is if the compost and plant are loose in the container.
Beware, too, of plants that have been in the same container for a long time, recognised by well-established perennial weeds in the soil, strong roots growing through the drainage holes, and thin, weak growth.
Ageing herbaceous plants can often be recognised by bare patches of soil in the centre of the pot where the original shoots have died out.
Alpines are usually sold in pots, and older ones may have moss and algae covering the compost, whereas young, healthy ones should be surrounded by small, clean chippings.

TELLTALE SIGNS.
When buying bulbs, choose the largest, and check they are firm and free of any mould. Any sign of growth on top indicates that they have been stored too long. In the case of lilies avoid any with shrivelled outside scales. Daffodil split bulbs were shown on a recent Alan Titchmarsh Gardener's World to produce flowers from both sets.
If you are buying trays of annuals instead of growing them from seed, choose plants that are sturdy, bushy and with no yellow leaves and no flowers.
Avoid plants that are overcrowded in their containers, that are spindly, look undernourished or have bent stems.
Buy plants in divided trays, one plant to each division. Don’t assume that plants have been hardened off when you buy them – play safe and acclimatise them to outdoor conditions for a week or so in a cold frame or other suitable place. Alternatively, postpone buying plants until all chance of frost has gone.
Biennials may be sold in divided trays or bare-rooted – lifted from the open ground. In both cases they should be bushy, well-branched and with plenty of healthy, well nourished leaves.

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42 Growing Plants - Advice and tips on all aspects of gardening and growing plants. From seed propogation through to siting the plants in the best position in your garden. Our seasonal section shows you what to grow and how to look after your garden thoughout the year.
   
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