A Guide To Avoid Common Mistakes When Buying Plants

Updated: Jan 27, 2021

Buying a new plant can be a thrill! But who among us hasn’t impulsively purchased a rather expensive plant only to have it struggle or even die under our care?

Luckily for you, we've put together some common mistakes people make when buying from a plant shop. Here are some things to consider the next time you go into your local plant store:

1. Consider your personal plant owning preferences

Knowing how involved a plant parent you want to be will save you from making costly decisions. If you're the type who prefers only watering once every 2 weeks, or are frequently outside of your home, perhaps a Philodendron would be more your style. If you'd like to be more involved, you could consider a Fiddle Leaf Fig or an Orchid. Some plants may look more beautiful but they most likely will also require more attention and care. Take note of these considerations before you walk into a store.

2. Study your space

Lighting and geographical location make a big difference in the health of your plants.

We created a chart* below to consider the lighting you have in your space:

A few popular plants per lighting category:

For low light: Silver Pothos, ZZ Plant, Snake Plant

For medium light: Boston Fern, Moth Orchid, Christmas Cactus

For direct light: Aloe Vera, Areca Palm, Ficus Audrey

For bright indirect light: String of Pearls, Dracaena, Money Plant

*the chart we created was an inspiration from other plant charts, we turned it into our own :)

3. Go beyond the tag on the plant when learning about their care

If you've found a plant you like, do a quick google search on it. Find out what its needs are. Try not to simply rely on the care instructions found on the labels in those big box stores. dig deeper. Your plants will thank you for it.

4. Inspect the plant

Don't bring home a vector of disease or an otherwise unhealthy plant. Look for common visual signs of a struggling plant such as yellowing leaves, wilt and spots.

If you see some of the concerns above, it's also important to remove the root ball from the pot and inspect the roots. You want to find a well-formed and cohesive root ball. A "root bound" plant is a stunted plant, and will display a winding mat of roots at the bottom of the pot. A plant with root rot will likely have a loose and soggy root ball with ill-defined, overly fragile and dead roots.

It's also important to take a look at the soil, ask the attendant what percentage mix there is in the soil. You can google this to verify. Different plants require different mixes. You want to make sure there is a healthy mix of peat, perlite, shredded pine bark. One of our clients unknowingly bought a plant with far too much pine bark and not enough soil, this caused over absorption of water in the soil leaving their Ficus dropping leaves only a few weeks after the purchase.

5. Skip the flowers

If you see a gorgeous plant in full bloom that you just have to have, awesome! Buy the one next to it. In other words, if you're looking for color, don't buy plants that are already in bloom, buy the ones with buds yet-to-open. If you rush to purchase that plant with the most brilliant display of flowers, chances are it's almost done flowering.

If you're struggling with the plants you have, or looking to learn more about them, book an appointment with us, we're here to rescue them.

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