Investing in house plants

While the beauty and character of house plants is undisputable, many people still shy away from them claiming that they just don’t have the necessary green fingers to succeed when it comes to gardening indoors. While many plant lovers are convinced that they have a distinct knack for killing off poor unsuspecting house plants they are not always to blame, quite often the fatal damage has been done to the plant before it was bought. While shopping for new house plants should be fun and exciting, you should be careful about where and when you buy, as a plant that has been badly treated before you buy it may only reveal the damage after you get it home. These risks can be minimized however by carrying out a few simple checks when you are buying your prized specimens.
   When buying house plants there are a number of things that you should keep an eye out for. The first and most obvious thing to do when selecting a house plant is to take a good look at the plant itself. Look carefully at the overall shape of the plant, if its growth is lop-sided or it is missing leaves, leave it behind and choose another. The plant should also be checked carefully for any signs of pests or diseases. This check should involve turning the leaves upside down to check their undersides where pests can often hide. If you do not check new plants for signs of disease you may be putting your other prized specimens in danger of infection.
   When examining a new plant it is also very important to check the compost, if this has been allowed to dry out it could be a sign of neglect. When checking the compost you should also check the bottom of the pot, while it is natural for some roots to be showing through the bottom of the pot, if the plant has lots of roots coming out of the bottom it probably has been neglected and should have been re-potted sooner. If you are buying a flowering plant it is also a good idea to buy one that has plenty of buds that still have to open as a plant in full flower might be more spectacular initially but the display will usually be much shorter.
   When you have your plants bought and are leaving the shop you are still not home and dry. There are a number of simple rules for taking your plants home that should help you get the best out of them. The most important of these is to get the plants wrapped with a protective sleeve before they leave the shop as this will protect them from the cold wind and from any knocks that they might get. The timing of your purchase is also important. You should buy your plants immediately before you plan to go home as house plants placed in the boot of a car for long periods may suffer from the effects of excess heat or cold depending on the time of year.
© Copyright, Highland Landscapes, Letterkenny, 2008.