Determining Plant Health

There are a few ways to make sure a plant is healthy before taking it home from the store.
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• Choose plants with healthy foliage and no sign of disease or insects.

• If possible, examine the roots of a containerized plant before you buy. Healthy roots will generally be white or light-colored on most plants.

• Shrubs and trees that have spent a long time in transit or on display may have gone through extended periods of heat and drought. Reject any plant with dark, discolored roots or a shrunken root mass.

• The root ball of a balled-and-burlapped plant should be round and firm — not loose — and there shouldn't be roots growing through the burlap.

• Look for plants that are bushy and compact, with new leaves appearing close together on the stems (not leggy).

• Take an even closer look at plants on sale — they may be past their prime.

• Avoid plants with flowers that have opened, and opt for those still in bud.

• An annual or perennial with leaf scars indicates that the plant has previously lost leaves.

• Look for even and attractive branching from all angles.

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