When and Where to Shop for Plants

Here are a few steps to take while shopping to make sure you make it home with the right plant.
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• Have a good idea what you need — in terms of number and type of plants, the amount of sun exposure — before you go shopping.

• Window-shop before you buy. Research the health and conditions and prices at various nurseries and garden centers, and compare the prices and availability of plants from local vendors and mail-order catalogs.

• Check out the return policy of your selected vendors.

• If possible, avoid shopping at peak times — Saturday mornings, the day or two before holidays, etc.

• Get to know the nurserymen or clerks at your favorite garden centers.

• Carry plants home in a covered vehicle, if possible, to avoid wind damage. If you're using a pickup, place plants directly behind the cab to minimize wind. Lay trees and shrubs on their side and brace with a few bags of mulch or soil amendment to help secure them.

• If you can't get the plants into the ground (or in containers) right away, place them in a shady area and keep them well watered.

Next Up

Determining Plant Health

There are a few ways to make sure a plant is healthy before taking it home from the store.

Plant Labels

You can learn a lot about a plant simply by studying its label.

Picking the Right Mulch

Not all mulch is the same. For the best results, different areas require the use of different types of mulch.

Size Matters in Plants

The size of the plants you buy depends on the type of landscape you want to produce.

Tips for Buying Mail-Order Plants

Many catalog and internet suppliers offer excellent selection — varieties that are seldom available in local garden centers.

When to Plant Turnips

Turnips are cool-weather plants that can be sown in late winter, spring, or late summer to give them the two months they need to mature before it gets too hot or freezes.

When to Plant Radishes

Cool soil is perfect for planting radish seeds in the garden, so plan for spring and fall plantings for a robust harvest.

When Leaves Come First

There are few pleasures that gardeners look forward to more than the first flowers of spring. After the bloom fades, all that's left is the foliage. However, the foliage can come in an endless array of colors.

When to Harvest Turnips

Turnips can be pulled and eaten any time after they start growing really well but are completely mature and ready to harvest within six or eight weeks of planting. They can be stored for weeks or even months if harvested correctly.

More Items for a Nursery Shopping List

Learn about several plant varieties and zone information for each one.

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