If you’re not happy with how the plants look or the selection of plants that you see at the local nursery, ask if and when they will be getting a new shipment of plants in. This will save you the frustration of buying picked over, wilty and sad looking plants. Or buying none at all if they’re sold out of the type you were looking for.
So I asked. And yes, they were able to pinpoint a date and time when a new shipment would be arriving. And you can bet I’ll be there.
- Have the plants been watered recently, is the soil wet to the touch? Look for a gap between the soil and the sides of the pot or plastic container [as seen below], it’s a red flag for infrequent watering! Uneven watering takes a huge toll on young plants.
- Are the plants standing straight up or drooped over? Are the plants broken? Do they they look tangled, slouched over and unkempt? Are the stems broken?
- A rack of plants displayed in direct sunlight or sitting on hot concrete doesn’t exactly showcase signs of care when the business is open. Just imagine how they treat their plants when the business is closed!
- Don’t ever settle. Look for the healthiest plants in a group. Sure, it’s easiest to just grab the plants just in front but do take the time to look over all the plants on the shelf and pick the ones that look the healthiest.
- Check to see that there is only one seedling per cell in the tray. At first glance double seedlings may seem like you’re getting a bonus spin, but it's really a negative, as both plants are competing for nutrients and water to survive in that small space.
- Look for signs of disease, like yellow leaves, black spots or stem rot.
- Do you see bugs or any insect presence? Run away. Are there any weeds growing in the pot? Walk away.
- Compare the size of the plant to the size of the pot. A large plant in a small pot could be root-bound and is in desperate need of being transplanted.
- Look for plants with dark green leaves and compact growth. This is more important than height, buds or blossoms.
- A few dead and/or scrappy plants at a nursery, okay, I can work with that. But if the majority of plants look bad, I would shop elsewhere.