Happy Houseplant Hunting
Let’s start with looking at the basics of buying and keeping a few plants to decorate our homes.
Houseplants, a loosely defined collection of species that is either inexpensive to produce and/or easy to maintain in our homes, are available for purchase at the grocery store, the home and hardware store or a myriad of other locations including garden centres and specialty plant shops.. In many of these locations, they are seen as a quick way to turn some dollars and any help or advice in the choosing of one is usually left to the little tag that might be in the pot. While it is quite possible to find some nice plants to share your home with in this manner, quite often, (as in most areas of life,) you get what you pay for.
Are There Houseplant Bargains? To be able to make a reasonable return for the grower and the retailer, and everybody in between, a 3' tall plant that is being sold for $14.95, couldn't have spent much time or received a lot of personal attention in the nursery before it showed up in your grocery store. It undoubtedly was grown under relatively high light, high fertility conditions to maximize its growth. It then enters your house and discovers about 10% of the light that it is used to and tries desperately to adjust. We see these attempts at staying alive as symptoms of a rapid death. Leaves turn yellow and drop off by the bucket load and any new ones are tiny and weak.
Buy Better Plants! At this point it's easy to give up and decide that you have a black thumb and nothing will grow in your house. Your horticultural abilities are not the problem; it's your desire to get Houseplant bargains that is leading to your failure. Choose your plants from a store where they have been unwrapped and allowed to adjust to the lower light levels for a period of time. The clerk in the store should not only be able to pronounce Spathiphyllum but should actually be able to recognize that variety and tell you that it is one of the best low light plants available. Yes you will pay more than at the grocery store but you are buying their time acclimating the plant and their knowledge that helps you choose a plant that will more happily share your home with you.
The Educated Shopper! You will also discover that this plant seller has a much wider range of plant species to offer to you. Plants that like to be in, (or will at least tolerate) the lower light levels of our homes, often need to be grown in similar conditions and therefore take much longer to become a saleable size. This nursery time costs money and that removes these species from the quick sale list of the mass merchandisers.
Are There Different Sizes? The Spathiphyllum that keeps popping up here as an example, actually has many different varieties that vary in size and leaf shape and texture. There are often a few of the easier to produce Spathiphyllums in the truckload that arrives at your grocery store and if you are one of the first to be there and can grab one, then you can, in fact, get a bargain. Like everything else, you really need to be an educated shopper in order to recognize a real bargain.
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