Top-quality bedding plants are best purchased from a well-respected nursery or garden center. When visiting the seller, observe the conditions in which the plants are kept and if the plants are in good condition. Do not assume you can bring a plant of poor quality home and nurse it back to health.
Avoid buying plants from a supermarket or discount store. Plants are not their specialty and plants sold there have been put through undue stress. The supermarket or discount store my have a lower price than the nursery or garden center but there is no guarantee the plants will survive or be fully prepared to be planted into your garden or flower beds.
When you do finally decide where you will make your plant purchase, don’t buy the largest plants because they will suffer the most shock when transplanting them into your garden. It may be tempting to buy vegetables or annuals that are already bearing fruit or blooming, but they may actually take longer mature than a smaller plant.
Another bit of advice, turn over the container in which the plants are displayed and check to see if the roots are growing through the drainage hole. If you see a large number of roots, it means the plant is root bound. Make another selection.
If you can’t transplant your newly purchased items immediately, keep them in a well protected area, out of the sun and away from the wind. Check the soil and when the surface is dry, provide water.
Check back again for Basics of Gardening Part VI – Mail Order Plants and Bulbs