Buying Plants And How To Make The Right Choice

Close up image of a penstemon flower.

Buying plants and how to make the right choice is not easy. If you are a beginner there are a few pointers to consider. Not to mention, if you are a keen amateur it’s hard to resist buying a plant. For one thing when buying plants you might look for a certain colour, a type of plant or a plant for sun or shade.

Similarly there are other things to look out for too. The health of the plant, is it in good condition? Consider do the leaves look fresh and vibrant? As well as the top of the plant have you checked the bottom? Feel free to ease the plant out of the pot to see the roots. They should be healthy, white and growing well the pot. 

Without doubt the vibrant flower colours catch our eyes. Flowers full of colour and sparkle does attract the magpie within us! There is nothing wrong with that, just remember to stay on focused! By and large your aim is to buy plants that you know will work in your garden borders. Naturally we might fall for one which slips into the basket, one is okay but fall for it every time.

Vibrant colours of pansy flowers can tempt anyone to buy them, even though we might not have a place to plant them!

The story of two friends 

Here we see buy plants and how to make the right choice can often go wrong. If this has happened to you, I’m sure you will have a smile on your face right now!

Two friends arrange to visit a garden centre for morning coffee and to buy some plants. After coffee they begin to look at all the fabulous plants colours and textures of the plants on display.

Each point out what they already have and pop a few plants into their baskets. The two friends continue to explore and decide they are happy with the plants they have chosen.

Off to the checkout they go feeling all excited to be taking plants home with them. With the plants loaded into the boot of the car they say cheerio and head home. 

So this is where one might say the fun begins!

Buying plants and how to make the right choices is not easy. The image shows a person with a plant in their hand pondering on where to plant it.
How many times have you bought a plant and then pondered where can I plant it?

Wouldn’t you agree, most people enjoy a visit to a local garden centre or nursery. Everybody loves to buy a few plants to take home.

Then the feeling of where is this plant going to go, kicks in! You might experience this several time and  scratch your head wondering where can I put my plant?

When I have presented this scenario to gardening groups and gardeners they either laugh and admit it or reply “Yes, that’s me to a too!” You might be even thinking that with a smile on your face right now!

Taking your garden to the next level can also involve buying the right plants! The image shows a image of plants for sale at a garden centre.
Making the right choice when buying plants is an art in itself.

Buying plants and how to make the right choice?

So, how do we make sure not to keep repeating this time and time again? Here is my checklist to guide to making the right choices when buying plants.

  •  Make your shopping list before you go and visit a garden centre or nursery. What plants do you really need? Are you looking for flowers or foliage plants, large or small, perennial or seasonal?
  • If you haven’t made a shopping list that’s okay. As you gather your plants in your cart walk through the plant stands and look for the plants you currently have in your own garden. Do you see any suitable combinations between the plants in your cart and those on display? If you do that’s a green light, if you don’t then put it back and find another plant that’s a match.
  • Let’s be real here, everybody knows, the chances of you taking a plant home are high. The urge and impulse, especially if you’re a plantaholic, to buy is irresistible. So make better choices and you will see the benefits in your borders year on year.

This article in Gardens Illustrated covers a similar but slightly different approach. 

A display of plants for sale are displayed to tempt you. Buying plants and making the right choice comes with practice.
Buying plants and making the right choice comes with practice.

If you do come away empty handed this is a win too. You might be wondering how is that a win, I’m not bring a plant home with me. It means you are using the checklist wisely and discerning between the plants for your garden now. Bingo, you’re on your way to Taking Your Garden To The Next Level

Happy Gardening, Kristian

Have you subscribed yet? It’s the easiest way to delve deeper on this topic. The following articles in this series can be found in your free trial membership and I would hate for you to miss out on this! 

  • Plants for a South Facing Garden
  • Plants to a North Facing Garden

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2 Responses

  1. Very useful tips for me to implement next time I visit the garden centre. I will have to try and reign in my magpie ?

  2. You’ve given some very useful tips to make note of before I go plant shopping. I must admit I normally just go and buy something that I like the look of.

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