Buying indoor plants: from obvious things to unexpected questions

The purchase of a houseplant is most often determined by desire and insight, spontaneous decisions. A balanced, organized and systematic approach is much less common. But it is he (the latter) who helps to save himself from mistakes and the disappointments and problems associated with them. And the main advice that can only be given is to abandon momentary impulses and always and everywhere rely on logic (expediency). Indoor pets deserve respect. And the first thing to be guided by when buying is their interests. In order not to regret the purchase later, you should ask yourself a lot of questions – both about your desires, and about your interior, and about the plant itself that attracted your attention.

Indoor potted plants. Farmer Samantha Okazaki

Difficulties in buying indoor pets

The proverb “only professionals are lucky” is very popular among flower growers. And this truth is more relevant than ever in the purchase of indoor plants. All buyers can be divided into two groups – spontaneous owners who choose the most spectacular crops, and professionals who understand that beauty is not always obvious, not always appropriate, and that there are dozens of more important factors than first impressions. And the transition from spontaneity to professionalism is very simple: you just need to change the approach.

Any houseplant you decide to buy should be treated like a living pet, not a pretty decoration for your home. This approach will help to avoid many mistakes, save yourself the hassle and save the plant itself from suffering. Even if you fall in love with a potty miracle at first sight, still ask yourself practical questions and put his interests first. And then any purchase will only bring joy.

In order to protect yourself from mistakes, you should evaluate two important factors that determine not only the purchase itself and the choice of a plant, but also its necessity.

The first factor is your desires and capabilities, including the specifics of the place where you are going to place the plant.

The second factor is the characteristics of the plant, which are worth paying attention to and by which it needs to be comprehensively evaluated.

But in the process of choosing the plant itself, there are many difficulties, because external attractiveness is only one of the criteria. How carefully you assess the condition of the plant, its health, developmental features will also depend on whether you save yourself from unpleasant surprises. There are even more criteria when choosing indoor plants than when buying seedlings of garden trees and shrubs. While there are many obvious signs of problems for large outdoor plants, things are not so simple for indoor plants. And the health and quality check is entirely in your hands.

Do not forget that the place of purchase also plays an important role. Reliable and slightly more expensive specialty stores, supermarkets, florist shops, markets are not the only options. Plants can be purchased at specialized exhibitions, and in flower growers’ clubs, and on Internet resources or from friends. And although all these sources differ in reliability, qualifications of specialists and conditions for growing plants, it is still the responsibility of the buyer, how carefully he approaches the purchase issue.

Buying a houseplantBuying a houseplant

Objective plant buying questions that need to be answered

The questions that everyone should ask themselves before buying any indoor plant include both the problems of the potential placement of the culture, matching the tastes and the interior, and the characteristics of the plant that determine its perception and influence on the atmosphere in the house.

When evaluating a plant according to the first factor – your tastes and interior – it is worth considering several important parameters:

  • the place where you want and can place the plant;
  • the style of the interior and the nature of the furnishings in the house in general and the room in particular;
  • room size;
  • functional purpose of the room;
  • color concept;
  • the most comfortable characteristics of the plant for you, which are lovely to the eye and heart – preferred sizes, leaf shape, growth shape, the presence of a beautiful flowering or variegated leaves, etc. – your tastes in indoor cultures;
  • lighting intensity (and its variations in the room) and temperature conditions;
  • the ability to provide high-complexity care;
  • your work and household schedule (including travel, which may lead to a disruption in the regularity of procedures);
  • your skills and experience;
  • a collection of your indoor pets – their common features or selection criteria, the number and characteristics of the plants presented.

When assessing the characteristics and characteristics of a plant, completely different questions “emerge”, many of which are directly determined by objective factors from the first list:

  • the size of the plant (at the time of purchase and the maximum possible), their compliance with the room and the place where they want to place the plant;
  • the influence of a plant on the perception of space – the ability to expand or narrow the space, change the perception of a room and its height, the ability to zone or accentuate, etc.;
  • compliance of the plant with the style of the interior;
  • the combination of the color scheme of the plant with the color concept of the interior;
  • the nature of the plant and its compliance with the functional purpose of the zone in which it will be placed;
  • visual massiveness or lightness;
  • the lighting required by the plant and its adaptability to lighting;
  • the temperature regime in which the plant should be in the phase of active growth and dormancy;
  • the need for cold or dry wintering;
  • sensitivity to drafts and temperature extremes;
  • the need for high air humidity or growing in flower display cases;
  • the complexity of care and whether the plant can forgive mistakes in care;
  • the shape of the leaves and their sizes, decorativeness in addition to the flowering period;
  • the ability to bloom, seasonality (periods of greatest decorativeness) and attractiveness during the dormant period.

Choosing orchids in the storeChoosing orchids in the store

Checking the condition of the plant

But even if you have firmly decided what kind of plant you need and found answers to all questions, a careful examination of the crops when buying is the main thing that should be paid attention to. It is worth ignoring one or two small signs – and the long-awaited acquisition will turn into sheer disappointment and hassle.

As part of a plant health check, pay attention to the following:

  1. The overall impression is whether the plant appears healthy, strong, robust, well-groomed and flawless.
  2. The presence of dust, signs of neglect and lack of basic hygiene measures.
  3. Number of shoots and leaves, traces of fallen leaves or cut branches.
  4. The condition of the leaves and their reverse side, the presence or absence of spots, dry areas, plaque, signs of pests, traces of trimming dry areas on the leaves, etc.
  5. The condition and flexibility of the shoots, bark and color, the presence of spots on the shoots or dry, elongated twigs.
  6. Uniformity and intensity of color and quality of patterns for variegated crops.
  7. The number of buds and blossoming flowers (for any plant it is preferable to buy a plant at the very beginning of flowering), as well as the size and quality of the buds.
  8. How “firmly” the plant sits in the substrate, does it fall out (indicates an unformed earthen coma or transplant), whether roots crawl out of the drainage hole, whether the plant was recently transplanted in an attempt to hide the problem.
  9. The purity and quality of the substrate, the absence of deposits, including salt, on the surface of the soil or traces of mulching to hide them (foam balls and fertilizers are permissible).
  10. The quality of soil moisture – whether it is overdried or overflowed.

Choosing ornamental foliage plants in the storeChoosing ornamental foliage plants in the store

Transportation of purchased plants

First of all, think about temperature contrasts. It is not worth buying plants in “extreme” weather – heat, frost, showers, wind, etc. – but if you bought a plant and the weather is raging outside, agree to pick it up from the store on another day. The ideal option is to buy indoor plants in a weather in which the difference between room temperature and air temperature is minimal – in spring and early summer.

At this time, crops are in the active growing season, rooting, recovery are faster. But the ideal is difficult to achieve, and many indoor plants go on sale only in winter, on the eve of the holidays, and if you miss this opportunity, you can completely be left without a new pet.

Walking down the street holding a small bunch in a pot in your hands is a great pleasure. But such a walk for a plant can become too stressful, especially if we are not talking about an annual from among garden-indoor or balcony plants, but about a room culture that is afraid of drafts. The plant must be protected from bad weather.

In order to protect the plants from temperature extremes, it must be properly packaged. In flower shops, even orchids are usually sold in simple plastic bags or protective sleeves – of course, this is not the thinnest film, but such protection is not enough for normal transportation. When buying a plant, be sure to ask it to be wrapped in paper. If you are buying a plant in the spring or fall, then one layer is enough.

If it’s hot or cold, then you will need a double or triple package, and in frosty weather you will also need additional insulation with warm fabrics or materials (both the crown and the pot are insulated). Paper is much better at protecting the plant from injury and wind. The flowers are wrapped so that the bush is tightly wrapped around, but not squeezed: the paper should, as it were, support it from all sides. If you buy a flowering plant, then only branches and leaves need “support”: it is better to avoid contact of inflorescences and flowers with film and paper.

For such flower bouquets, choose funnel-shaped sleeves that expand upward, and then wrap them with wrapping paper. Boxes, bags, bags and even boxes for plants are not the best option, unless there is a reliable fixing stand included in the kit. Large crops need a peg support (ladders and other curly supports are not suitable).

When carrying and transporting plants, you must be very careful. The likelihood of injury, loss of buds, flowers, twigs or leaves depends on how carefully you handle the plant. The calmer the transportation process, the better. Strong tremors, constant shaking do not go unnoticed even for us, to say nothing of plants that are accustomed to stable support. So the more careful you are, the better.

Choosing flowering plants in the storeChoosing flowering plants in the store

Don’t be afraid to ask for advice when buying plants

Before buying a plant, if you are hesitant about at least one parameter or do not know the answers to questions that are important for making a decision, do not hesitate to ask the professionals. Location, care, problems, characteristics of growth, development and even growth phases – ask about everything that interests you. And don’t forget to be interested in the plant’s habits, the conditions to which it has already adapted, and how it has been cared for.

Indoor plants need an individual approach, and you need to find your own for every handsome man. Even two identical varieties of the same plant, grown in different flower centers, can vary greatly in their requirements. And the only way to recognize the plant that you are holding in your hands is to ask about it from those who have cherished it all this time.

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Anna Evans

Author ✓ Farmer

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