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Purchasing a House Plant (what to look for)

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Learning the signs of a healthy plant is the first step in ensuring its overall success. Choosing healthy plants involves looking carefully at all parts of the plant, beginning with the most visible part – the leaves.

I live in a small town, and the plant selection is limited. When I first got into house plants, I exhausted every place I could think of that could possibly carry plants. I visited grocery stores, a plant nursery, and a local flower shop. I did extend my plant excursions to a nearby town but only found one place there – Home Depot.

I don’t want to call out stores and talk badly about them because, in general, these stores are excellent for other things. But I quickly learned who to avoid and who carried health plants. That doesn’t mean that I don’t backtrack to these places to “see” what they have in stock, though. Interestingly enough, I found several plant departments that didn’t know anything about what they were selling, which forced me to do my own research. Thank goodness for smartphones and Google. So, here are a few things that I learned along the way.

What to look for when purchasing a plant.

The overall health of the plant

Plant pests to keep an eye out for.

Look at the Roots

Dirty Plants

I know this may seem silly, but look at how clean or dirty the plants are. Dirty plants don’t always equate to bad plants but look at this way… when you go to a restaurant, and they set down a tall glass of ice water in front of you, and there are lipstick smudges on it, would you drink it? Clean plants tell me that the seller takes pride in what they sell and perhaps put effort into taking care of the plants.

White residue on plant leaves.

Common Bugs to Watch For

If you want to have healthy house plants, you MUST inspect them regularly. Every time I water a plant, I give it a quick look-over.  Bugs/insects feeding on your plants reduces the plant sap and redirects nutrients from leaves. Some chew on the leaves, leaving holes in the leaves.  Also watch for wilting or yellowing, distorted, or speckled leaves. They can quickly get out of hand and spread to your other plants.

IF you see ONE bug, trust me, there are more. So, take action right away. Some are brave enough to show their “faces” by hanging out on stems in plan site. Others tend to hide out in the darnedest of places, like the crotch of a plant or in a leaf that has yet to unfurl. Here are a few photos of mealybugs that I have encountered.

Well, that ought to get you going. I hope you gained some good information to take plant shopping with you. Please leave a comment below. Blessings, amie sue

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