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Buying Pots And Plants

It may sound obvious but when it comes to buying plants, but The Early Show's gardening guru, Charlie Dimmock, says it is very important to read the labels.

Do not be deceived by how a plant looks: Only the label will be able to tell you whether it likes sun or shade, how to look after it, and how big it would get.

Showing some plants as examples, she says, "This ornamental vine will reach 90 feet in about three to four years. Eucalyptus, it's very small but it's going to make a very big mature tree. While this conifer will only get to 18 inches in ten years. And this beautiful little rook rose is fully grown, so it won't get any bigger."

Also important, she says, is to look for leaves that are healthy. The leaves must have a deep green color, be glossy, and not be nibbled.

"Don't buy plants that are dry," Dimmock says. "By looking at it you can see that this is very moist, but the best way to test is to stick your finger in. The reason that you don't want to plant plants that are dried out is they've gone through a period of stress, and they'll probably lose some of their leaves and take a long time to reacclimatize to your garden."

Plants also have a face to them, Dimmock says. So consider the shape and color to go well with your garden. If the plant is flat in the back, it would go well against a fence, but not if you need it as a centerpiece of a flowerbed. And some plants, like the sundance plant(choisya ternata), are meant to have yellow leaves, so don't discount them; they are created to be that color.

Although Dimmock doesn't recommend buying plants that are flowering, she makes an exception when it comes to roses.

She says, "Most roses that you buy at a garden center today will be hybrids, and that's because hybrids are much more resistant to pests and diseases, and they're easier to grow."

So if you are buying the plant in bloom, just check out its scent and see if it is as strong as described in the label, and choose the one that has buds.

When choosing containers, just make sure they have holes in the bottom so the plant can drain properly, Dimmock says while adding you should, "Remember that terracotta containers are going to be porous, so they'll dry out much more quickly than glazed containers."

Also make sure you get the right size pot for your plant and keep in mind extra compost you may use so the plant will have enough room to grow. If the plant is bigger than the pot, it would be easily blown over by wind.

Other pointers:

  • Shallow containers are ideal for herbs and rockery plants
  • Tall plant containers with a narrow base are quite unstable, so keep low plants in them
  • Short, fat, dumpy containers are great for tall plants
  • Containers that have a pinched-in collar are going to be really difficult to re-pot
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