Buying Plants in Pots
Potted chrysanthemums at
a nursery await planting before
Container plants should be planted outdoors as soon as possible after purchase. The longer they're kept in containers, the more likely they are to become pot-bound and dry out. If you must hold plants for a long time prior to planting, place them where they'll be under light shade and be sure to water them.
When you are ready to plant your potted perennials, thoroughly moisten the soil before knocking them out of the pot. You can do this by plunging the container into a pail of water (to above the pot's rim) for a few minutes. Remove the container, and cut off any roots sticking out of the pot bottom. Tap the pot on the sides, and then slide the plant out into your hand. If it is stuck, cut the pot open (assuming it is plastic) and peel it off, to avoid damaging to the roots.
Loosen and remove excess soil from around the roots. Most soilless potting mixes will fall away on their own. If the mix adheres to the roots, take away only what comes off easily or you could damage the feeder root hairs. Soilless mixes dry out faster than garden soil, so eliminate what you can without disturbing the root ball.
Always place the plant in the ground at the same depth as it was in the nursery pot. Pack the soil well around the root ball, eliminating air pockets. At the surface, provide a soil dam to hold water near the root area by making a mound of soil in a ring around the plant.
Another way of buying your plants is to order them from mail order catalogs. It may seem a little risky, as you will not be able to see and assess your plants first-hand, but you can learn the best methods for choosing and caring for plants that arrive by mail with the tips on the next page.
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