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4 Tips For Choosing Your Plants At A Garden Center

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A trip to the garden center can be fun, but it can also be stressful if you aren't sure what you are looking for. Creating a plan and knowing what to look for in the plants you purchase can relieve your stress so that you can enjoy the act of planning and planting out your new garden.

1. Know Your Needs

Garden centers have a lot of plants in one place, making them great for inspiration. To ensure that the plants that inspire you will have a place in the garden, though, you need at least a loose plan of what you are looking for. Make notes of the holes in the garden and what general type of plant is needed to fill them. For example, if you are filling annual flower beds have a general idea of how many plants will be required. Or, if you are planting a border along the fence, then note how many perennial small shrubs you want to fill in the space. This way you only purchase the plants you need and have room for.

2. Note Garden Conditions

It's all too easy to fall in love with pretty plants that simply won't do well in your yard. To avoid this, take some time to survey your yard before you go so you can make notes on the soil type, sun exposure, and available space in the areas in which you are looking to add more plants. Then, use this information to choose the right plants for your needs. The label on the plants should show the conditions they need to grow well, as well as the expected size at maturity.

3. Consider Local Grown

Ideally, most of the plants in your yard are varieties native to your area, or at least well enough naturalized that they tend to grow well with little maintenance and they aren't invasive. No matter the native status of the plant, though, locally-grown plants often do better than those shipped into far-off places. This is because the plants are already adjusted to your climatic conditions, and in some cases have been bred specifically so they thrive in your local climate.

4. Check Plant Health

Any plants you bring home from the garden center should be in top condition. Choose plants with lots of healthy foliage and strong stems but with no signs of insects or damage. Plants that aren't yet flowering but already are setting buds are a better choice than those in full flower because they are young enough to establish new root growth quickly. Also, always check the roots to make sure the plant hasn't become root bound inside the pot. 

For more help, talk to the garden center staff for advice on plants for your area and needs.