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Selecting Healthy Plants Cont.

If you find any abnormalities with the plant, whether it be with the shape of the roots or  irregular features with the leaves, you should discuss this with nursery specialists. While these things can be a sign of an unhealthy plant, occasionally there will be a logical explanation for it, such as recent replanting of a seedling. Always give the staff the opportunity to explain before writing the plants off as horrendous. After all, the staff members are (usually) professionals who have been dealing with plants for years.

So, if you decide to take the easy route and get a plant from a nursery, you just have to remember that the health of the plants have been left up to someone you don't know. Usually they do a good job, but you should always check for yourself. Also, taking every precaution you can to avoid transplant shock to the plant (when it has trouble adjusting to its new location), therefore alleviating health problems in the future. Usually the process goes smoothly, but you can never be positive unless you own most of the process.

An added benefit of purchasing healthy plants is getting "free plants". When buying perennials, look for ones that prior to planting  can be divided in to 2 or 3 plants.  They may look small for the first year, but after a couple of growing seasons they will fill in and be ready to divide again. Due to the additional shock involved, just be sure the plants are healthy before trying this division. 

As with everything, there are exceptions to the rule. As you become more knowledgeable and confident in your abilities, there is one section of a nursery you don't want to overlook. This is the section where plants that are not healthy are available for purchase at a reduced price. A sharp eye can usually spot a few plants that, with just a little TLC can become beautiful specimens in your garden. Many gardeners have a hospital section of their garden specifically for the injured plants. This is where the plants can get special care and recuperate before becoming part of the garden. If you have the time, this can be a frugal way to add plants to your garden.

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