Buying plants is a thrill for most garden enthusiasts. But the excitement of a gorgeous blooming perennial can get in the way of some common sense and money saving strategies. Here are some tips for making wise decisions as you get ready to shop till you drop!
-Make a list of what you need and try and stick to it! Keep it next to you as you shop online, or bring it with you to the garden center.
-Naturally we are drawn to big, beautiful displays of blooming color. When it comes to picking out perennials keep in mind, if the plant is in full bloom in the store, it may have already seen its best days – at least for this year. Picking out a plant that is in bud and just about to bloom will usually give you a longer flowering season where you want it – in your garden!
-Pay attention to foliage. Leaves are the food making components of the plants and a plant with robust and thick leaves is likely to be healthier than one with sparse spindly leaves. You’d be surprised how many shoppers will grab Dianthus (for example) off the shelf that is in bloom even if the leaves are meager and sick looking.
-Inspect the plant for bugs or disease. Look at the bottom of the leaves for signs of pocking or excessive browning.
-Bargain with the store! If you see a plant that is in distress but feel you could nurture it back to health, why not ask the store if you could have it at a reduced price? Most store owners would rather get it off their shelves for something rather than have to throw it away and eat the cost.
-Perennials in general are bang for your buck plants. The fact that they come back year after year is an advantage over annuals when it comes to cost and labor. Many perennials can be divided after a few years which will mean you can transplant sections to other parts of your landscape – for free!
- When buying plants consider buying smaller sizes. For example, a one gallon plant will be less money than the same plant in a two gallon pot but will most likely catch up in size fairly quickly.
-Plant shows and plant ‘swaps’ are growing in popularity. If you have divided your perennials but do not want yet another Black-Eyed-Susan (or whatever!) in your yard, do a search online for a nearby swap or trade!
Implementing these strategies can lead to a healthier, more beautiful landscape at less cost to you!