Take care in choosing indoor plants

Plants in buildings are important as they help clean the air while adding some humidity.

Plants in buildings are important as they help clean the air while adding some humidity.

They also remind people of the natural environment outside the walls where they spend countless hours each day.

During the winter months plants lift peoples spirits and are reminders that spring will come.

Retailers are in tune with consumer’s wants and desires.

After the post Christmas sales they run sales on storage units as most people are in the cleaning mood after the chaos of the holiday season. At the end of January and the first part of February larger shipments of plants appear in stores.

They are bought to replace the ones that died over Christmas and to appease people’s the desire to for green plants.

Before making a purchase, know where the plant is going to be located. Choose a plant that will thrive in that location. Sun loving plants that are placed in dark corners will slowly die. On the other hand a Corn Plant, Dracaena, will thrive in a darker location.

This is a cold time of year. A plastic bag will do little to protect a plant when it is moved between buildings. Any leaves that touch the plastic are likely to freeze unless it is a mild day. The paper sheathes stores use are better protection especially if the plant is also wrapped in plastic.

It is best to purchase plants on days when the weather is mild but this isn’t always possible.

To make the transition easier have a warm vehicle available and purchase the plants just before heading home. Less time in cold transit, the better it is for the plants.

Look for houseplants at greenhouses and nurseries that are open year round, big box stores and grocery stores. The condition of the plants depends on where the plants were purchased, how long they were in shipping and how they are looked after once they reach their destination store.

Most wholesale greenhouses that grow and sell tropical plants monitor the condition of the plants that leave their premises. Plants will be green, shapely, and lush without obvious signs of insects or insect damage. If wholesalers ship substandard plants they would not be in business.

Ideally, live plants should be in transit in a warm vehicle for approximately 24 hours. Often this is not the case.

It is up to the employee at the store that receives the plants to examine the product and return anything that is not up to their standards.

Often employees that receive and display plants, also have many other duties and have little if any training in horticulture.

If this is the case the plants will look good when they arrive but will not stay on that condition. The most telling is wilting plants.

Make purchases from places where all the plants are healthy. The foliage should be clear of blemishes. The plant should be shapely with foliage from top to bottom.

Empty areas or dead leaves at the bottom of the plant means that the plant has wilted or it was grown too close to other plants. It depends on the type of plant if the leaves will grow back.

Check the undersides of leaves and where the leaves connect for signs of insects or eggs. Both will be very tiny often looking like a speck of dirt. Insects will move if nudged. If insects are found on one plant chances are that others will also be infected. Once insects become established it is hard to eradicate them.

Leave the plant and insects at the store.

Take time when purchasing plants to ensusre that they are healthy and appropriate for the area where they will dwell and they will last a long time.

Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturalist that lives near Rocky Mountain House. She can be reached at www.igardencanada.com or your_garden@hotmail.com

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