How to buy healthy plants

The right plant in the right place is key to a healthy garden.

Credit: iStockphoto

Tips for picking healthy plants and avoiding blight in the garden

The right plant in the right place is key to a healthy garden, so take some time to consider the plants that will flourish in your yard.

Once you have a plant list, take care not to introduce any diseased or unhealthy plants into your beds and borders.

Here are some pointers on how to recognize healthy plants:
• Choose a reliable nursery that knows how to care for its plants. Their plant stock should be orderly and clean.
• Check the ratio of plant size to the size of the pot. Has the plant outgrown its pot, leading to roots that visibly circle or kink inside the pot?
• If you can, lift the plant from its pot and check that roots are symmetrically distributed. Check for frost damage, as well as death and disease.
• Look at the plant’s trunk and branch structure. Has it been topped or poorly pruned in some other way that will damage the branching pattern? Mistakes in potting or pruning at the nursery can never be corrected once the plants are in your garden.

Instead, choose plants with vigorous new growth and normal growth patterns, all important features when choosing healthy plants for your garden.

Find healthy plants at retail nurseries and garden centres. Go to the BCLNA page on this website for a list of retailers who are members of the BCLNA.