June 7, 2021

The easiest way to ensure you're choosing a healthy plant

Want to make your day a Green Day? Okay, you could run out and purchase a CD by the band Green Day, but you can only listen to one CD for so long and it won't provide added benefits like cleaner air in your home and a beautiful home decorating element. To keep the beauty of green in your life, why not add a lovely green or flowering plant to your home decor?

Now, for a florist, choosing the right healthy plant for your home seems pretty easy. But, I know that there are many people out there who feel they have a "brown thumb." For them, the thought of picking a plant that will work well in the space they have available and then caring for it to keep it looking gorgeous and green can be positively frightening. The easiest way to ensure you're choosing a healthy plant is to visit your florist and ask for help. However, if you choose to strike out on your own and find the green plant of your dreams, there are some things you should look for:

* Look for signs of insects. If the plant is infested with CPET food container bugs, you probably don't want to bring it into your house. And, since the insects are probably living off the plant, it may die quickly or develop an unhealthy appearance such as brown spots or holes in the leaves. Look at stems, leaves, and the undersides of leaves. Don't forget to check the potting soil for insects as well.

* Avoid plants that show symptoms of disease. If leaves appear yellow, brown, or crunchy, leave the plant on the shelf. Look also for brown spots on leaves and stems. Look for plants that are full, sturdy, and have an overall healthy color and appearance.

* Don't buy plants whose leaves are too shiny or that have been extensively pruned. Leaves that have an unnaturally shiny appearance have been treated with a chemical to make them appear more lustrous. This could be masking signs of disease and may lead to ill health of the plant as the chemicals sink in. Also, if the plant appears to have been pruned to a high degree, it's probably not very healthy. Store employees may have clipped off leaves and stems that showed disease.

* Buy plants that show evidence of new growth. If the plant is a flowering plant, choose one with a few opened flowers and lots of new buds. If you purchase one that is already heavily flowered, it's blooming period may be nearing the end of the cycle and you won't have the opportunity to enjoy the flowers for very long. New buds and leaves show that the plant is healthy and growing.

Of course, choosing a healthy plan won't be the only key to your plant growing success. You'll also need to choose plants that are best suited to the light available in your home and understand how to provide the best care for the plant. That's why I recommend that novice plant owners seek the assistance of their local florist who will be able to choose plants that will grow well, are easy to care for, and will be able to provide some information about how often to feed and water the plant. And, they're always just a phone call away if questions should arise.