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Things to look out for while shopping for plants

[ Hanafiee Azlee, 1st September 2021 }

Don’t you guys get so excited to get yourself some new green babies, that are waiting to be nurtured and cared for under your hands or to just further amplify the aesthetic of your living space Well, I know I get those thrills whenever I make my way to a nursery. It is the neurochemical forces that run in my brain, that could pulsate my heart at a fast rate. I am being hyperbolic now, but it is true! I do feel happier when I buy a plant or just thinking about finally owning the plants that have always been on my bucket list.

However, there is a slight disadvantage of having those thrills, especially while I am in the nursery. I just cannot seem to stop spending and hoarding plants of different species and put them in my shopping cart. However, having too many plants with restricted space can be a problem too. Your plants need some space for them to grow and nurture. Cramping them together may lead to a huge problem if you do not inspect and monitor them regularly. So, what are the things that we should consider before entering a plant store, during plant shopping, and after purchasing them? I am learning a thing or two while typing this out as well. Sharing is caring they say.

Before entering a plant shop

  • The intention of purchasing a plant

- It is important for you to know the intention of purchasing a plant. Is it to further amplify the aesthetics of your living space? Is it for ethnobotanical purposes, such as for cooking, herbal tea, etc? Or simply buying them to test out your parenting skills? Nonetheless, having a fixed intention may help you out in the long run. It helps you to be equipped with the necessary knowledge to take care of the proposed plants, such as the optimum lighting condition, watering routine, nutrients, temperature and etc. I would suggest you to research about the plants you intend to buy, so you know how best to care for them.

  • Wear insect repellent

- The very one thing many tend to forget, especially myself, is wearing insect repellent! It is vital to protect yourself from the vicious insects that may lurk around in the store, especially mosquitoes! How to get rid of them? Get yourself citronella insect repellent! Citronella is the number one enemy of mosquitoes and many other insects.

While plant shopping

  • Roam around to see what other species they have

- Yes, as aforementioned, having a fixed plant in mind is preferred. However, some plants, that are of different species, may require the same treatment! Therefore, roaming around the store may help to broaden up your options. You may also be surprised to see new species that you have not seen online or in any other stores. Some other plants could be relatively cheaper than the initial plant you have in mind. You could save a few bucks

  • Look out for pests or diseases

- One of the factors that you should look out for is existing pest or diseases found in the plant. Bringing back a newly purchased plant can be quite anticipating but we tend to not look out for the critters that are loitering within the plant vicinity. This may spread to your plant collection. Make sure to thoroughly check the underside of the leaves and the cracks within the stems if they are being placed closely together. One of the signs of an infected plant would be bite marks within the leaves or the edges of the leaves, weaves of cobwebs, exoskeleton of an invertebrate.

Having said, some pests could bear diseases that may destroy the biological system of the plants. The virus will then disrupt the genetic of the plants, which may lead to plant deformity, such as wrinkling of leaves, chlorotic or necrotic leaves, leaf spot and stunted growth. Hence, it is vital to look out for these factors as it may affect the overall health of your plant and your environment.

  • Ask for assistance if have any enquiries

- Like they say, “stupid is the person who never asked.” It’s best to clear any doubts and worries if you have any, to avoid any regrets in the future. The people that work around the nursery can definitely help you with your enquiries. They are equipped with the right knowledge to ensure that the greens are ever-growing and healthy. Alternatively, you can search up at the internet for answers, but I would prefer to talk to the people in the nursery to better understand the plants I am getting!

After plant shopping

  • Place in a softly lit area to let plant acclimate to a new environment

It would be ideal to place your plants in a much softer environment to allow them to get used to your surroundings. For example, if the plant requires full sun, I will place them in bright indirect light for a few days to let them sink in with the environment. Then, slowly I will place them on the proposed location if there is not a sign of deformity.

  • Gently scrub off the top layer of soil to get rid of hidden pest

- Now, before placing the newly purchased plant with the other plants, it is ideal to gently scrub off an inch layer of the soil that the plant is in. It is even better to repot them out to a newly mixed soil. This is to prevent any pest that is hiding within the soil. We all know how malicious pests can be!

  • Monitor the growth of the plant

- Once your plants are all set in, always remember to monitor your plants, and inspect them to see if there is any pest or disease found in/on the plant. This is where the actual maintenance begins. To ensure that they are being optimally nurtured, look out for new shoots, or leaves, or even flowers, that are developing. It is such a relief to see them growing well under your care!

There are definitely more factors that you should look out for but here are some basics I figure that could you help out to go and purchase yourself a plant. Happy shopping! Just be aware of your spending. It can be quite addicting, trust me.

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