5 Common Plant Shopping Mistakes


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Plan shopping, either online or in person, can be a very difficult thing to do. It is really hard to be able to tell what kind of plants are going to grow in what way. How to tell whether they are healthy or not and if are you getting a good price. There are a lot of different factors that go into plant shopping. And these are just some common mistakes that happen all the time. Being aware of them might help you to able to have a better plant collecting experience.

1. Believing the tags and the labels

Believing the tags and the labels

 In many cases, especially if you are in big Box stores. Those labels on the plants are going to have the wrong name on them or they will have something like home décor or decorative foliage. They will not actually have the name of the plant on there and likely the care requirements. They have on those tags are not going to be accurate either.

Also when you go into some nurseries and some plant stores you might see things labeled as rare. This is especially common online if you’re shopping on Etsy or some other stores online. You are going to see things labeled rare. A lot of times what is actually labeled rare is very common. It is out there all the time.

 Just being aware and not believing the tags and actually researching the plant for yourself. Can actually save you quite a bit of money in the long run. Just because something says rare on it does not mean that it’s something that you should jump on. And spend a whole bunch of money right away. Research your plant. save your money and figure out what is actually going to be a good deal for you.

 Most of the plants that are actually really rare are not going to be listed on those particular sites. Most of the ones that are hard to find are not going to be out there using tags like “rare”. It is ironically, extremely rare if that actually happens. So just know that it’s not always going to be actually rare just because it has it on the tag and to pay attention to the tags.

2. Not checking for pests

Not checking for pests

 Before you bring your plants home you want to look under the foliage. You want to look on top of the foliage, stems, and under every little nook and cranny.  Mealybugs like to be hidden under a little sheath in there.

If there are any dry spots on your plant. If you notice any kind of fungus on there as well that can spread from plant to plant. So it can actually cost you quite a bit of money if you bring plants home that have a whole lot of pests on them. It can cost you money and treatment. It can also cost you a lot of time if it spreads to your other plants. And you can have issues with that as well. Just making a quick once-through and double-checking in the store can ensure that you don’t have a huge outbreak as soon as you get home you have a little bit of time to quarantine your plant just to verify that there is indeed nothing wrong with it.

3.  Not Knowing Growth Pattern

Not Knowing Growth Pattern

  If you don’t know how a plant grows you then don’t know if it’s a slow grower or a fast grower. They don’t know if it’s a climber or if it prefers trailing or creeping. You are not going to be able to accommodate it in your home or you will have some difficulty accommodating it in your home you can also end up spending quite a bit of money if it is a fast grower.

 It could get it as a small plant or a small cutting and eventually have a very big bushy beautiful plant for a very little bit of money.  If it is a slow grower and you get a 2 leaf cutting then you might be stuck with just 2 or 3 leaves for years at a time depending on the type of plant you get.

Knowing the growth pattern of your plant is very critical in order to be able to save you money and ensure that you are getting the plant that you want for that money. The other aspect of that is if you know that you want big, bushy, beautiful, leaves on a plant. However, you do not have a place for that plant to climb. Therefore it is probably not going to get those big bushy, beautiful, leaves. If you want a big beautiful trailing plant you may need to buy 2 or 3 of them in order to keep them full up top and able to trail for you.

One example of this would be Ceropegia Woodii they tend to be very bald up top and they tend to only have a few vines unless you chop and propagate. They do grow very quickly but if you buy a few of them and put them all in one pot it will look more full for you and you will get that full trailing look faster. You can also buy them small and then get that big bushy plant over time because they are quick growing.

 It just depends on what you want. And how you are going to be doing it which would be best for you. However, knowing how your plant is going to grow and the rate of its growth pattern can really save you a lot of time and money.

4. Buying Unhealthy Plants

Buying Unhealthy Plants

 Buying plants that are clearly suffering or unhealthy can cause many issues. They are generally in the clearance section. If they are overwatered to the point of rotting, have pests, or if they have a lot of various issues they will most likely be found in a clearance section.

It is not a mistake to buy them if you know the pattern of the plant. If you know it is going to thrive in your conditions and you know that you can take care of it it’s not a mistake to do that. However, if you are buying a brand new type of plant. You pay full price for that plant, and it has a bunch of health issues that you’re going to have. Try to learn to overcome when you get home, then you are setting yourself up for failure.

A lot of people end up doing this. They think they will just buy this $2 clearance plant without knowledge then bring it home and kills the plant. Then they are sad and they think that they can not take care of plants. 

That is definitely not the case at all. They can take care of plants! You absolutely can! You just picked the wrong one, unfortunately. They were a bad plant picker for one plant or you made a mistake and it’s OK! It happens. We have all done it and that is why they even put them there in the clearance section so that people will get them and take them home. Hopefully, save them sometimes and sometimes not.

Generally speaking, you should only get a plant that clearly has issues. If you are willing and able to take care of it with your skill level and if you are very knowledgeable about that plant. Otherwise, it is just going to be a waste of time, effort, and money for you usually. Unless you are knowingly buying the plant to increase. Test your skills with an understanding of the possibility of loss.

5. Mismatched Home Conditions

Mismatched Home Conditions

Buying plants that cannot survive in your home conditions is probably one of the most common mistakes we all make. If you live in a very hot and very dry area and you try to bring in something that likes very humid and very tropical conditions(like a fern).  It is not going to make it unless you make accommodations in your home for it. So if you don’t have the room for it to climb or grow and there’s not going to be a very humid location for it then it’s not going to make it.

 The opposite is also true. If you live in a very dark, cold, wet, climate and you try to bring succulents and cacti into that environment. Unless you have a way to reduce humidity and produce heat with a lot of light it’s not going to work out.

Just keep this in mind when you are purchasing plants. The conditions of your home are going to determine the health of the plant and we need to make sure that we are researching and aware of the needs of the plants before we bring them into our homes Otherwise, they are just going to die with time and money wasted.

Buying plants can be very fulfilling. Having a bunch of plants in your home can bring so much joy. It is an amazing hobby to get into and it is an incredible thing to learn how to grow all of these plants. Hopefully, these tips make it a little bit easier for you to have a better and more enjoyable plant collecting journey.


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