Buying Clearance Plants - Tips for increased survival

All of us come across what looks like a bargain on the clearance table at the local garden shop. But is it really a bargain? The only way to tell if it is a bargain is to properly check out the plant to determine if it is likely to survive and thrive when you plant it in your garden.

If you are familiar with the type of plant, you will know what a healthy one looks like. If you do not know about the plant, always check the visible foliage first. Examine it closely to make sure there are no bugs, fungus, or diseases that you can detect as you don’t want to take this home to infest your healthy garden. Even if there a few dead leaves the plant may still be healthy, look for new growth as this indicates it is still growing. The dead leaves could be from under watering or bad placement at the garden shop.

White healthy plant roots.
 If the top looks good, you need to know about the root system as this is where you can see stress. If you can not see roots from the holes in the bottom of the pot, then squeeze the pot to loosen the plant so you can pull it out a little. Pull out the plant about half way. If you see bugs crawling in the dirt, forget it you don’t want to take those pests home to your other plants. If there are no bugs, look at the roots – they need to be white in order to still be healthy. If they are not whitish (maybe brown or black) then the plant is already dying so do not plan to take it home.

Before deciding to take a chance on the plant, check out how big it might get to verify you have a location in your garden for it. This should information should be on the pot or on a marker inside the pot. If it is not, you can ask someone in the garden shop if they know what the plant is called and how big it gets. If the plant has experienced stress at the garden shop, it may temporarily stunt additional growth until after it recovers in your garden.

If you found a bargain plant and bought it. Remove any dead leaves and trim off any dead or oversized branches after you get the plant home. If the dirt in the plant was dried out, water the plant in a tray or bucket and let it sit overnight to let the roots take up more water. Take it out of the water the next day and let it sit for a day so the dirt can dry some. Or if it was soggy when purchased it, let it dry for a day. Dirt that is too wet may fall off the roots when you take the plant out of the pot and you need to keep the plant in its original soil if possible. If the plant is in peat verses soil, you may want to remove some of the peat before planting so the roots can get to actual dirt sooner. Plants in only peat will dry out faster even after being planted in the ground.
In an area of your garden that suits the plant needs, dig a hole in your garden a little bigger than the clearance pot size to plant it as soon as you can. Leaving it in the pot too long can add to the plant’s stress. Remove plant from pot and place it in hole. Press the dirt that was removed from the hole around the plant and tap it down well. Water the new plant well in its new location. Then water it a little everyday for at least 2 weeks so it will take to its new area. If you want to give the plant a growing boost, do not fertilize the plant until after the 2 weeks have past to prevent a new kind of shock to it. Then water the plant according to your regular garden schedule.
NOTE: If you know nothing about the type of plant you bought, check where to plant it by reading the instructions that came with the plant or researching it by name on the internet.

Let me know how your bargain plant does and if these tips were helpful.

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