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Sunday, April 02, 2006

How To Select Houseplants

Foliage plants can be a beautiful addition to a home or office. They are often grown for their attractive foliage. Houseplants are sold in many different places, such as at florists, greenhouses, nurseries, home improvement centers, craft fairs, flea markets, and even out of a truck in a parking lot. Plant quality and guarantees, along with price are important factors to consider when making a purchase.


There are several things to look for when shopping for a healthy plant. Begin by inspecting the leaves carefully. They should have the right color, shape and size and be free of blemishes or brown edges. Also, the lower leaves should not be pale or yellow.

A good specimen should not look leggy or sparse. It should have a good, balanced shape and not be top heavy. Look closely at stems and leaves for any signs of insects or disease.

Finally, look at the pot and soil. If roots are growing through the drainage holes or are seen at the soil surface, the plant has probably outgrown its pot. If you choose this plant, special care will be needed when transplanting into a larger pot.

How to buy house plants

First take a look around your home. Make note of the air currents produced by heating and/or air-conditioning. Is your home dry or humid? Check for light from windows in each direction, north, east, south and west and where artificial lighting may be utilized.

When you buy a new house plant, look for a label containing growing and feeding requirements. If one is not available, find the most knowledgeable salesperson in the store and ask for the information. You need to know if a particular plant will be happy in your home. Light and temperature are most important for flowering plants; humidity for cacti and succulents. Does the plant need sun light through a window or a grow light or a constant temperature?

Inspect the plant carefully for signs of insects or diseases. Check the underside of the leaves for damage or spots. Look for dried plant parts such as dried stems and yellow, reddish or brown leaves. If you are doubtful about a certain plant, don't buy it. Buy only healthy plants from a reputable and established seller. Ask if the plants have been treated with pesticides. If the answer is, "Yes." Be sure to wear gloves when repotting and wash your hands after handling.

Some house plants are very particular about soil and fertilizer. Your plant may need to be repotted. You will need information regarding soil mixture. While you are in the plant store you might as well purchase a new pot and drainage saucer, the proper soil mix and fertilizer.

If you purchase your plants on-line, where you can find some of the best deals, e-mail your questions to the seller or supplier. Whether you buy on-line or from a store, check for return information and guarantees

Remember to keep your plant name and care instructions for future use.


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