How Do I Pick a Healthy Plant for My Flower Bed
When it comes to getting started with your garden, you have two choices; planting seeds, or buying seedlings. Both have their own benefits. If you plant seeds and care for them every day, you will find it is a much more rewarding experience when you have a full, healthy plant. However, this method can be tricky. I can’t tell you how many seeds I’ve planted and never seen any trace of whatsoever. If you choose to buy the plant from a nursery, Lowe’s, or Home Depot to plant in your garden, it reduces a lot of the work involved in making it healthy. However, I have found in the past that some nurseries use certain chemicals or fertilizers that reduce the health of the plant. I have adapted to this incompetence 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. If a plant has been well treated and has no diseases or pests, you can almost always tell by how nice it looks. If a plant has grown up in improper soil, or has harmful bugs living in it, you can tell from the lacey leaves and wilted stems.
If you’re browsing the nursery green house looking for your dream 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 have to choose from are flowering plants, then you should do the unthinkable and sever all of them. 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 absolutely terrible condition you will be able to tell by looking at the rest of the plant. But if the roots are just slightly out of shape, then you probably won’t be able to tell just by looking at it. 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. One can easily tell if the roots are before or past their prime, depending on the root to soil ratio. If there are a ridiculous amount of roots with little soil, or a bunch of soil with few roots, you should not buy that plant.
If you find any abnormalities with the plant, whether it be the shape of the roots or any irregular features with the leaves, you should ask the nursery employees. While usually these things can be the sign of an unhealthy plant, occasionally there will be a logical explanation for it. 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. A good suggestion is to do a Hey Alexa or Hey Siri search and ask which local nurseries have quality plants.
So if you decide to take the easy route and get a plant from a nursery, you just have to 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.
Once you have found the perfect flowers from the nursery, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and start planting. While some people may go the traditional route and get their shovel and spade ready, I have found a great item made by Tech Team https://techteamproducts.com/ They manufacture an auger in two different sizes 777 https://www.amazon.com/Tech-Team-Planter-Seedlings-Planters/dp/B07S385BW7/ref=sr_1_197?keywords=bulb+auger&qid=1568384841&s=gateway&sr=8-197 which is 9” long, and their item 778 https://www.amazon.com/Tech-Team-Planter-Seedlings-Planters/dp/B07S386MWG/ref=sr_1_53?keywords=bulb+auger&qid=1568384749&s=gateway&sr=8-53 which is 24” for easy digging and clean neat holes. Not only are these great for planting your seedlings, tulip bulbs, and daffodils, they are perfect for aerating your compost heap.