Buying Plants

Buying Annuals, Trees, and Landscape Plants

Young annuals are tender. If these plants will sit for a few days before you have time to plant them, be sure to attend to their needs for light, warmth, and water. Keep them outside in bright light but protect them from the strong afternoon sun and from high wind. Check the soil moisture daily; bedding plants dry out quickly and require regular watering. Each time bedding plants wilt, some of their strength is lost.

Picture of white magnolia buds.
Magnolia trees are very popular due
to their delicate spring blossoms.

Trees, shrubs, and vines that have been grown in containers may be purchased and planted any time the ground isn't frozen. Moving a plant from a container to the garden does not shock the plant as does digging it up from a nursery row. Look for plants with vigorous growth that are well rooted but not crowded in the container and have no visible signs of pests or damage.

Landscape plants that have been dug from the nursery and have had their root ball wrapped in fabric are referred to as "balled and burlapped" (B&B). Purchase B&B plants only during spring and fall -- their root systems are most actively growing at those times and are able to overcome the shock of disturbance. Pick plants that appear to have been freshly dug. A loose ball of roots indicates damage -- choose another specimen. Choose trees carefully. By the time they are big enough to purchase, their trunk shape and branching habit have been determined. If there is a problem, it may not be correctable.

Annuals are some of the most popular and decorative plants in the summer garden. On the next page, you'll find some great tips for selecting quality annuals that will endure and grow well in your garden.

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