Plant stores and nurseries are full of temptations. When you go shopping for plants, you should have in mind the conditions at home in which you expect your plants to grow.
Do you have sunny windows or north windows? Are there great expanses of light-admitting windows or must you supplement the daylight with incandescent of fluorescent lights? Can you provide bright indirect light or filtered sunlight? What can you do to increase the humidity as needed?
Your selection of plants should be based on the environmental needs of the plants as well as on their decorative eye appeal for you.There is no point in taking home a plant whose light, temperature, and humidity requirements cannot be satisfied by the environment in your home.
Shop for plants at a place where you can get knowledgable assistance in selecting plants adaptable to your home environment, along with sound advice on care of the plant you select. You can find vigorous healthy plants in many stores, just as you can find a nursery or plant store that specializes in indoor plants.
If it is more convenient for you to shop in the supermarket or variety store, where plants are only a sideline to the main merchandise, however, a wide variety of well-grown plants is often available there. By asking a simple question you can find out when the store receives fresh shipments of plants. Plan your shopping to coincide with that date in order to be assured of the best selection.
The most expensive plant may not be the best plant: The cheapest may not be the best buy. If you see a plant marked down from its original price, ask yourself why. No matter what you pay for a plant, you want it to be a good healthy specimen. There are signs by which you can judge.
First, the plant should look healthy.
Select a plant that shows no signs of trouble. It should be shapely - compact or vining according to the nature of the plant. The leaves should be crisp and free of blemishes caused by disease or insects. Check to be sure that leaf tips have not been trimmed to remove damage, which is sometimes done on plants such as palms, dracenas, chlorophytum. Inspect the under sides of leaves for insects. If leaves are distorted or show signs of webbing underneath or have holes in them, insects are, or have been, present. It doesn't make sense to carry these problems home. Try another plant - or another store.
If you are buying a flowering plant, choose one that has a few blossoms showing and a a good set of buds for future bloom. Compare the blossoms on several plants of the same kind and choose the one with the best color and quality of bloom and quantity of buds.
Good substantial top growth is usually an indication of a healthy root system. Examine the bottom of the pot; if you can see the crocking over the drain hole, good drainage has been provided for; if roots are growing through the drain hole, the plant is ready for repotting which means a chore when you get the plant home.
Enroute home, protect the plant from the elements - icy winds in winter, burning sun in summer.
When you get the new plant home, the first rule is to isolate it form other plants for two weeks to reduce chances of introducing unwelcome insects or disease that may have escaped your eagle eye in the store.
Give you new plant a shower of tepid water to remove possible pests, to rinse off any film of insect spray, and to refresh the plant in toto. Set the plant in bright indirect light. After the quarantine period is safely passed, with a clean bill of health it can be given its appointed place with other plants, according to its need for light.
The change of light, humidity, temperature and air circulation from the plant shop to your home may put your plant in a state of shock: this is especially likely with large, mature specimens.
Common signs of shock are dropping a few leaves, dropping buds, and paler green color. These symptoms occur because the plant is no longer able to support he top growth developed under previous optimal (greenhouse) growing conditions. The symptoms may persist for a month. Plant growth resumes after the plant has become conditioned to its new environment.
If you are unsure about selecting plants, here are some suggestions on reliable plants for different light conditions in your home.
Plants for north window light: Boston fern, Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema), Snake plant (Sanseveria), Grape Ivy (Cissus), Syngonium, Swedish ivy (Plectranthus).
Bright indirect light or filtered sunlight, (east and west windows): Spider plant (Chlorophytum), Peperomia, Ivy, Kentia palm, Schefflera, Norfolk Island pine, Asparagus fern, Boston fern, flowering plants such as African violet and wax begonia.
Full sun (south window): Velvet pant (Gynura), Burn plant (Aloe), Coleus, Shrimp plant (Beloperone), Bloodleaf (Iresine), Hibiscus, Croton, Hoya.
Plants that will live in low light areas: Pothos, Philodendron, Chinese evergreen, rubber plant (Ficus elastica), Aspidistra (castiron plant), dumb cane ((Dieffenbachia), Syngonium.