Everyone loves a bargain. We all like to feel as though we are getting more than our money’s worth. But when it comes to clearance priced plants at the nursery or garden center, it’s usually best to walk away from the bargain.
By mid-summer, the flowers, garden plants, shrubs, trees and houseplants that garden supply centers have remaining in stock are placed on clearance sale. The clearance priced plants are enticing to a gardener, and sometimes the plants are bargains that can be rejuvenated after languishing at the garden center for weeks, sometimes not. Here’s how to tell if the clearance priced plants are healthy and how to tell if it’s time to walk away from the bargain.
Inspect The Plant’s Foliage
The plant’s foliage will give clues to it’s health, whether it’s an indoor plant or outdoor plant, flower or vegetable. Inspect the foliage of a clearance priced plant, if the foliage is mushy, withered or has disease spots, walk away from the bargain.
If the topside of the foliage looks good, inspect the bottom side of the foliage for insects and insect damage. If insects on present, walk away. Bringing home a clearance priced plant with insects or disease can lead to other plants being infested or infected.
Check The Plant’s Roots
If the top half of the bargain plant looks healthy, check out the bottom half next. Gently slip the plant out of it’s container and check the plant’s roots. If the roots are soft and black or slimy, walk away from the bargain.
If the clearance priced plant’s roots are dense, tangled and fill the container, the plant is root bound. A root bound plant can be a bargain and can usually be saved, if the roots are smooth and white.
If the top half of the plant looks healthy and the roots are smooth and white, the clearance priced root bound plant is a bargain. The plant will need to be planted into a larger container or into soil immediately after purchase. Slice through the bottom portion of the tangled roots with a sharp knife before re-planting.
Plants at nurseries and garden supply centers are planted in containers that are not meant to be their permanent home. Combine that with the fact that many of the plants are not having their individual sunlight and water needs met for weeks at a time, and the results is often a sickly plant that ends up on clearance sale in mid-summer. That’s not always a bad thing, a little TLC will often rejuvenate the plant, if the roots and shoots are healthy.