Gardening Tips

  Tip 1037


Research Plants Before Buying


Do a little homework before spending lots of money on plants this spring!

Spring fever is starting to affect folks just about everywhere, and the urge to "play in the dirt" is pretty strong. Haphazard planting now can mess up your landscape later! Before spending lots of money on new plants that "look really nice", take a little time to learn something about them. Do they fit your current landscape theme? Do you have the right places to plant them?

Choosing and Maintaining Healthy Indoor Plants 

One big secret to a green thumb is in knowing a plant’s needs for water and light. Before buying any plant for indoor use, know where you are going to place it in your home so you can select the appropriate plant for those growing conditions, which include temperature and the amount of light it will receive.

Tips for choosing a healthy plant and keeping it that way:



Hardy, Easy-to-Grow Plants

Some plants are easier to grow than others. The plants listed below don’t require a lot of attention and provide striking color and texture. No matter what your growing conditions are, you can find a plant that will thrive!




Corn Plant


Snake Plant


Peace Lily


(Epipremnum aureum) One of the sturdiest and easiest plants for indoor gardeners to grow. Slow-growing, it has trailing leaves and foliage marbled with either green or white.

(Dracaena) A great choice for a sunny spot near a window. It comes in several forms, one with a broad leaf and white trim, another with spikier leaves and color variations.


(Sansevieria), a succulent that needs very little water, can thrive in a variety of conditions.

(Spathiphyllum)  Broad dark green leaves and bears a beautiful flower.  Good beginners plants. It is very difficult to over-water! It does need more moisture than some of the others and does well in moderate light conditions.



Strawberry Begonia

Prayer Plant

Bright foliage that works in low-light conditions. It doesn’t flower, but the silver in its leaves offers a nice contrast in darker spots in the home.

Easy to grow and comes in a variety of colorful leaves, including red, silver, green and dark green and is easy to grow.

(Maranta) has dark green spots on its leaves with red or white veining. It does well in low-light conditions but needs consistent watering.










Recognizing Healthy Outdoor Plants                        



Observe the vein pattern in the foliage. If the veins are green, but the leaf tissue in-between is yellow, it may be an indication of chlorosis. This is not a serious problem, and can usually be cured.

Avoid plants that are dried-looking or exhibit dry-rot at the stem or base, or plants in which the foliage has become dried and yellowed -- as seen in this juniper.  

Black-spot is a disease that can destroy rose plants. It can easily be identified in the nursery by the tell-tale markings from which the disease gets its name. This type of disease can be controlled with fungicides, but it's best to avoid the problem.


Familiarize yourself with what your plants should look like when they are healthy.


Healthy golden euonymus, for example, has naturally yellow foliage.

Yellow foliage on roses, on the other hand, is a sign of serious problems.

Some plants such as liriope naturally shed leaves, so what looks like dead patches may simply be part of the plant's natural pattern growth. Brown foliage can be harmlessly trimmed away to enhance the look of the plant.



In addition to the foliage, carefully observe the root systems of the plants you're considering. If possible, pull the plant out of its pot and observe the root-ball. Make sure the plant is not root-bound or exhibiting root-rot or girdling.

Even if you can't pull the plant from the pot, as in larger plants, you can still observe the root structure at the base of the trunk or stem.

Small roots growing out of major roots above ground level may indicate trouble. Root offshoots may girdle and squeeze the lower trunk of the plant. Also, large plants that are loose and not sturdy in the pot may indicate a weak root structure.

Selecting the Right Plant !                                                     


When selecting plants for your garden, there are two important considerations. The plants? suitability for the conditions in your garden or landscape area is the first, and perhaps, most important. Read our Plant information signs for details and ask our Certified Nursery Advisors for more specifics.



Many plants are adapted to particular soils or situations, growing less satisfactorily, or poorly, when not given similar garden conditions. Our soils are generally poor draining and very alkaline and high in pH.  These conditions can be treated, but if you do not intend to do this type of soil correction, you will need to be that much more careful in selecting your plants.


You will find many plants tolerate “Full Sun?. This does not mean they “need? all day sun. If our Sign indicates a plant “prefers? or “needs? afternoon shade, make sure you do not intend to plant it somewhere that it will receive more than an hour of afternoon sun. Reflected sun is a location where a wall or window will add to the sun exposure in a significant way. Our signs often warn against this too.  Surrounding a marginally sun-adaptable plant with rocks is another way to induce heat stress, and ultimate plant failure.

Many plants are intolerant of the salt-laden soils and require deep watering to flush the salts away from the plant. This is a good practice for most all of your plants as our water is so high in salts and alkali.  Some plants may suffer winter damage in exposed inland areas.


Plant Quality (the other important consideration)

When buying plants always look for healthy foliage, good shape and balance, and good roots.


Importance of good roots

Avoid container-grown trees or shrubs which have thicker roots tightly curled around the soil ball (a condition termed ‘pot-bound?), indicating an older plant restricted for too long in its container. The roots are usually impossible to straighten and spread out, the plant often failing to establish and eventually dying.

White healthy roots visible at the base of the pot, are indications of a healthy root system. If you have any doubts about a plants root system gently slide the plant from the pot or ask to see a plant’s roots before you buy. Avoid purchasing plants which have been only recently put into their container, or where the compost or soil is falling away.


Importance of good foliage

Look for healthy, blemish and pest-free foliage. Aphids, spider mites or mildew are not friends of your new plant. If you are concerned about the appearance of a particular plant, ask one of our Certified Advisors. Our commitment is your continued satisfaction with the quality of our plants, not any immediate sale. Our personnel ARE NOT on commission.


Proper soil drainage, reflected heat sources like walls and asphalt, and plant habit -- height, width, dense or open foliage, small or large leaves -- all play important parts in successful transition from the nursery to your yard. Ask questions when you visit Star Nursery. Research plants on the Internet and read any articles and books you can find before you buy. You'll save money, time and aggravation in the long run, not to mention giving the new members of your "garden family" a proper home.    


A final reminder!



Copy Provided courtesy of Star Nursery

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