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  • Writer's pictureChris Jackson

Top Plant Buying Tips

Four Season Garden Maintenance have written some top tips for when you visit a Garden Centre in Bradford

Check for pests, insects and disease – if the plant has any leave it on the shelf you don’t want to invite these into your own garden.

Choose short bushy plants, they are more likely to grow and stay healthy – long lanky flowers and plants have been in their small pot too long.

Check the plants root system out and gently look under the pot and look to see what is going on – Put it back if the

* roots show above the soil

* roots are dry and cracked

* pot looks like brown spaghetti

* if they are no roots and the soil falls off

* if the soil is totally wet through and clogged

A healthy root system will have a balance of roots and compost and moisture. It is ok to have a few healthy roots poking through the bottom of the pot it means it’s ready to go outside.

Pick a plant with healthy green leaves that are not wilting or discoloured. Smaller plants will get established quicker. The biggest is not always the best deal.

One brown leaf can be taken off but if every other leaf is spotted or has brown edges leave it where it is. It is a sign of stress.

Pick shrubs and trees with a healthy strong trunk – no cracks or tears with four or five main stems around the same size not one large stem with lots of spindles. Larger trees should have one main healthy stem with unmarked bark no abrasions and a healthy looking top canopy.

Flowering plants should have healthy tight buds. Never buy a plant with no buds and all the flowers are out, it may look pretty that day but it’s probable at the end of its flowering cycle.

Read up on when things flower, some shrubs may take a two year cycle to come in to flower.

If you see lots of little beads in the soil don’t worry it will be slow release fertiliser. If there are lots of polystyrene looking balls these are to maintain moisture while they are on the shelf.

Mosses and liverworts on the surface of the compost are not good, don’t take them home.

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