The great thing about garden centers is that they not only sell gardening tools and equipment but also plants. Visiting a garden center is a great way to find plants for your landscape, but there are a few guidelines you should follow in order to find the best plants.
Look for plants that are not yet flowering.
Yes, the plants that are already flowering look the best right now. However, if you take these plants home and put them in the ground, they will probably be done flowering soon, and then you'll be left with plain, green plants in your garden. It's best to instead look for plants that have not yet flowered but that have buds and are getting ready to flower. You'll plant them and get to enjoy nice flowers in a few days or weeks!
Check for root-bound plants.
The plants you purchase at garden centers are usually in small pots. This is enough space for them for a little while, but eventually, the plant's roots grow too large and extensive for the pot. This creates a situation known as being "root-bound." You can tell if a plant is root-bound by picking it up and looking through the little vent holes in the pot. Do you see loads of roots wound around and around? Then the plant is root-bound and may struggle to adapt once it is planted. Buy a different one, and maybe bring that root-bound plant to the attention of a garden center employee who can take it off the shelf.
Look at the tags.
The tags on plants in garden centers usually have more information on them than the plant's name. Read them. They'll tell you whether a plant prefers shade or sun, how much water it needs, how far from other plants you should plant it, and so forth. Reading the labels helps ensure you buy plants that are well-suited to your yard and needs.
Shop in the middle of the week.
Everyone and their mother heads to the garden center on the weekend! It's hard to shop for plants with fifteen other people standing around the same table of plants. Visit during the week so there are fewer people and you can take your time selecting the best plants.
If you follow these guidelines when buying garden plants at the garden center, you'll come home with plants you love — today and a few months from now.