How to Shop for Plants!

What To Look for When Shopping for Plants!

With sunnier days on the horizon and the growing need to perk up our spaces and our lives with one plant.. or five. Buying a new plant, especially one from your wish list can be over the top exciting. Before throwing down your money and peeling out of the parking lot with your new plant family member here are some things you want to look for to get the most out of your new plant baby and keep your current ones healthy and happy.


Research Research Research

How much light are you getting in your space during the day? How often do you want to water your plants? What kind of soil do you need? Is it pet safe? Will it require special care ? Having at least a general idea of some of these factors will help determine what to be on the lookout for, and what kind of plant parent you are going to be. For example, you’re not going to put a plant that needs a ton of sunlight in your windowless bathroom. On the road a lot? You should likely get some low maintenance succulent varieties, such as ZZ plants, cacti, and sanseviera. It's easy to get distracted and caught up in the whirlwind of plant shelves, and before you know it your shopping cart is over flowing with plants that MIGHT NOT be best suited to you. Do the research before showing up to your local plant store or nursery.

Read the Label or Talk To A Friendly Plant Specialist

The majority of plants will be accompanied by a small tag with instructions that include size, light tolerance, and how often to water. If you have any questions the info tag can’t answer friendly and knowledgeable staff are always on hand to answer any additional queries you might have. Google is also your best friend for quick "Is this toxic to pets" questions! Knowing the species name is a great first step.


No Bloom is Good News

When you’re looking for a flowering plant it’s best to look at the leaves first. Healthy leaves that are not wilted or damaged are a good sign of steady and sturdy root growth. This is fundamental in continued healthy growth and eventually better-blooming flowers.


Signs of Unhealthy Plants

Between transport from larger greenhouses, to smaller nurseries and over handling can result in some not so healthy plants in the mix. Here is a list of things to look out for:

Yellowing Leaves: Could be a sign of an underlying issue or overwatering.

Root Bound: Plants that have outgrown the grow pot and have matted or crowded roots at the bottom this slows the growth and can cause issues with root rot later on. You may not be able to take the plant out of it’s grow pot at the nursery a key sign to look for is roots growing through drainage holes at the bottom of the grow pot. While there are some species of plants that grow well root-bound (I see you Spider plants) most do not.

Weeds or Fungus: These can be detrimental to plant health and can affect other plants in the vicinity once brought home, it’s best to check the soil and ensure it’s clear to avoid future issues.

Pests: Look under leaves and check stems for places pests like spider mites could be hiding, these can infect other plants in your home and if not treated can damage or in worse cases kill plants.

Wilting Leaves and Crispy Leaf Edges: While these aren’t deal-breakers it signifies and plant that could use a little TLC, some more water or potentially less sun. Wilting leaves can usually be perked up after a big drink of water.


Signs Of Healthy Plants

Plants are talkers and if we pay close enough attention they have a lot to say, while now we know what makes an unhealthy plant what makes a super healthy plant? Supple growth, rich/deep green leaves, evident new plant growth (leaves, new stems, etc). Roots if you’re able to see them with the assistance of nursery staff should be hearty and white not discoloured and mushy.


Shop Local

Now more than ever is a good reason to shop locally to support local merchants and nurseries. However, there is another reason why. Outdoor plants planted within the same climate they were grown in have a higher success rate as they are already accustomed to the local climate and soil types. Plants imported from different climates may not have had time to acclimate to your current climate or growing conditions causing stunted or slow growth and can even result in plants dying off. Cacti from a desert climate in California would likely not fare as well in your front yard in Ottawa. Check out Plant & Curio on Preston Street, Richmond Nursery in Ottawa South, The Stalk Market in downtown Ottawa, and Ritchies Feed & Seed in the East end! There are so many amazing shops and experts in the city. Have any questions, email us any time!




Written by our very own,

Kathryn Thomson @_badplantmom

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