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Plant quality

isy315isy315 Posts: 11
Hello everyone, 
I'm relatively new to gardening and have been doing a lot over the last 18 months to create a garden from scratch (ie. from bare lawn and patio) . It seems to be a pattern that the plants I've purched through random little charity plant stalls, family run nurseries and country fairs all seem to be thriving. On the other hand, it seems that the losses I've suffered are all from expensive garden centre plants, which look beautiful in the shop but seem to wither away, or perennials that haven't come back this year. Maybe it's just coincidence, but I'd be interested to know if anyone else has found the same. Either way, from now on I think I'm going to try and support independent plant sellers more, and continue growing as much as possible from seed (though without a greenhouse yet and limited windowsill space this is tricky). 



  • LynLyn Posts: 21,342
    A lot of perennials are attacked by slugs as soon as they shoot up in the Spring, apart from that I can see no reason for it. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,688
    It all depends on the types of plants. Plants that are in larger containers and looking very healthy tend to go down hill quickly. This is due to their careful growing conditions, resulting in earlier flowering/growth. 

    You need to know the natural flowering times of plants as so many plants that look 'nice' tend to be nurtured in controlled warm surroundings lacking in wind and rain, so flowers start earlier. Also their size may mean they are harder to transplant into outdoors or natural garden surroundings in the ground. 

    That might be the reason larger and healthier looking plants may not adapt in the garden? However, some plants are harder to adapt over others, so it depends on the plants. 
  • CeresCeres Posts: 2,149
    Plants purchased from individuals tend to be those that are surplus to requirements. They will have been raised in a more natural way and hardened off properly (usually), and they will be the survivors in the race to germinate and grow healthily therefore it is hardly surprising that they tend to endure. Family run nurseries will tend to offer a superior product because to do otherwise would result in a bad reputation and loss of business.
    Large garden centres sell a lot of very good plants that can last for years but they also sell trays of forced annuals and perennials that are not necessarily ready to plant out in the great and unforgiving outdoors. Some of these offerings can harbour fungal growths that will destroy the plants in a matter of days but by then they have been offloaded onto an unsuspecting punter (she types bitterly).
    I agree that the smaller vendor may very well offer a superior product but large garden centres, and DIY chains, can also offer reasonable plants providing you make sure they are healthy (not harbouring spores and weeds), they are properly hardened off before planting out, and they are suitable for the position in which they are to be planted.
    It is sometimes best to look upon certain plants as a temporary filler even if they are labelled as perennial.....not all perennials last for years.
    One of my favourite gardening sayings is, "He reaps what he sows, except the amateur gardener".
  • Many centres sell plants which have travelled hundreds of miles from Europe. Such plants look good for a while, but do not always survive for long.
    Ask your local Garden Centre where they source their plants, and if you have a valid complaint let them know. I work in a Centre where we have  a 2 year guarantee on hardy stock. Obviously we do not guarantee  if adverse weather has affected a plant, but, provided the customer has prove of purchase, we willingly exchange or refund if there has been a failure.
    Our nurseries are given feed back if a plant is returned to us. We only buy in from British Nurseries, and where possible from those in the North of England to be sure of hardiness in the same region.
    A gardener's work is never at an end  - (John Evelyn 1620-1706)
  • B3B3 Posts: 24,450
    I tend to buy small plants and grow them on before I plant them out. This gives them time to acclimatise, but it is by no means instant. Any failures are cheaper and less annoying.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • Joy*Joy* Posts: 571
    Because garden centres buy their stock from far and wide, they have often travelled long distances. They might have been taken from sheltered polytunnels and put in cold and draughty places, not watered and generally spoiled,  I won't use the word neglected but that might be the case. They are forced into flower so that they look good so there's little wonder that they don't do well when planted.  Many people don't worry about them living long. Yesterday when I asked about a particular plant, I was told that they had them last year but this year some other plants were in fashion now so none of my choice had been sent. There's obviously a customer base who want a fashionable garden which they plant every year so plants with a short life are acceptable. What a waste. Not my way at all.
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