Plant Buying Guide

Buyer Beware

Here are our top tips to buying smart when it comes to plant shopping:

House Plant Buying GuidePhoto Credit: @leoniechristine_visuals

Know your plant: Most nurseries and greenhouses will have proper labels on their plants whereas superstores and alike might not. Often your local big box store will have vague or improper labels on plants i.e. “tropical” but no specific plant genius or name. Care tips are often included on plant tags, but a quick google search should help confirm the plants needs.

Be realistic: Do you have the space and proper environment to house the plant? This can by far be the hardest tip to implement. We are collectors and we will yearn for the ideal dream plant. BUT we need to know that some plants are just unattainable and we have to spend wisely on plants that we can help thrive and love for years to come. 

Ask an expert: Your local nursery, garden center, or greenhouse should have well trained, knowledgeable staff who are willing to field any questions or concerns you have. They are also a great resource for asking about your growing zone, soil type, first frost, amongst other useful information.

Check for pests!: Know the signs of common plant loving pests such as miley worms, fungus gnats and spider mites. Avoid any plants with infestation signs in the soil or on the plant itself. Better yet, be extra critical of neighbouring plants, plants that appear to be from the same lot or shipment. If it seems to be a chronic issue stop frequenting the retailer. 

Signs of neglect: Fallen leaves, yellowing-browning or discoloured leaves, tattered, broken leaves or other signs of damage, dry, hard soil, wilted foliage, dry leave tips. These are all signs of miss-care and water neglect. That being said, some plants are worth rescuing; if the plant seems slightly limp or like its drooping, it could have gone a couple days past due on watering, but should perk up and bounce back with proper care if action is taken soon. 

How To Buy House PlantsGuide To Buying Plants From A Nursery
Photo Credit: @osa_fotos
Photo Credit: @srz


Signs of over-care: Keep an eye out for the following: fallen leaves, discolouration; browning or yellowing foliage, mold forming on soil, waterlogged soil or top-dress, plant feels too weighty when picked up. Unlike under-watered plants, the overwatered ones are harder to save. While there are some telltale signs of root rot, it might not be something you pick up on at the store. I would pass on trying to save these little ones; you can always come back in a few days to see if your pick of the lot appears to be on the mend.

Don’t be afraid to ask for discounts: You wouldn't pay full price for a picture frame with broken glass, or a toy set that has missing pieces. Damaged goods are damaged goods. If you think the plant is less than intended, ask for the price to be adjusted. There is no harm in starting a conversation about discount possibilities. Most reputable pant retailers are willing to make reasonable price adjustments when they know their product is subpar.