Choose Wisely: Buying the Right Plant

These are some famous words from one of my favorite movies but the idea of making good choices extends throughout life and even into the garden.  When it comes time to choose a plant to put into your landscape, what should you look for?

Selecting the Right Plant

The first step in your choice is looking at what plants fit best in your yard.  Think about the type of soil you have, how wet the area is, the amount of sunlight for the

There are many options at the garden center; how do you make a choice? Source: UF/IFAS

location, and even how much time you have to put into the care of your landscape.  By picking plants that match the site, you are practicing the concept of Right Plant/Right Place.  This will lead to less water use, less plant health issues, and a more beautiful garden.

Also, know the characteristics of the plant.  Can it survive through the winters or summers here?  Does it have major pest or disease problems?  Does its mature size fit your landscape.  All these and more are important to consider.

Purchasing the Right Plant

Now, when selecting the plants from your garden center or nursery look for the best specimens.  Make sure they are healthy, unstressed, and disease, pest, and weed free.  Stressed plants do not establish well and you don’t want to bring any issues home.  Beware the discount section.

A good tip is also to check the plants form and roots at the nursery.  If the specimen is too big for its pot, if you see circling roots, or if it is broken or has poor form, choose another.  Issues like poor root structure can remain as the tree or shrub grows and will make a long life difficult to achieve.

For more information on this topic, check out my September 3rd, 2018 article in the Clay Today newspaper here.