Planning to purchase some herbs or flowers for your garden or patio?Here are some tips on how to select healthy and vigorous plants. Purchase younger, more succulent plants that are not in bloom. Older plants look great and can catch your eye, but they will not adapt to your garden as quickly as a younger plant which is vigorously growing. Select plants that have a uniform growth habit and form. Misshapen plants can take time to balance out and appear normal in their growth. Branching should be evenly spaced. Carefully study the color of the foliage on plants you are selecting. Foliage color can be an indicator of nutritional problems. Pale green to yellow foliage generally means poor nutrition, especially in nitrogen, unless the plant is a variety meant to have yellow foliage. A good dose of fertilizer can often remedy the problem. Inspect plants carefully for insects. Common insects include aphids, scale, mealybugs, slugs or snails and spider mites. A thorough inspection includes looking on the underside of foliage and at the base and underside of leaf petioles. Also, shake the plant to see if any insects fly away. Don’t buy a plant with an insect infestation. Inspect plants carefully for foliar diseases or root diseases. Foliar diseases generally are brown to black but can be red and can be spots or dieback on leaf margins or flowers. Root diseases attack and kill the root system. Symptoms include stunted growth or wilted foliage. Knock the plant out of its container and inspect the roots. Healthy roots should be white to light-tan in color. Diseased roots will be dark brown to black and will break apart easily. The soil could have a foul odor as well. Purchase plants where the root system has filled the container but make sure the plant is not rootbound. Plants that are rootbound can be stunted and hardened-off due to a high demand of water and lack of root space. Select plants free of any mechanical damage such as scars, bruised bark or stems, and broken branches. Open wounds are an invitation to diseases and insects. Make sure that plants are snug and secure in their container. Wobbly, dry plants are an indication of broken roots around the base of the stem.... read the rest of the story by Subscribing now.