In the Garden: Choosing Plants

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Medford, Ore. — Choosing the right plants for your garden can be just as important as taking care of the ones you already have.

OSU Master Gardener, Jane Moyer, has a checklist to take to the nursery.

1. Avoid tall, spindly plants. They did not get enough sun when young and even if you give them lots of sun and TLC in your garden they will never be strong.

2. Look carefully for bugs and diseases. Turn over the leaves and look at the bottom of them to spot pests. Mottled, discolored, or chewed leaves are also an indicator of problems.

3. Pass up plants with yellow leaves — unless yellow is their natural color. Yellowing leaves are an indication of poor plant nutrition, among other things.

4. Steer clear of plants with roots growing out of the pot. The plant is already root bound and its growth may never be good. Even root pruning may not help.

5. Choose plants that haven’t bloomed yet. They will still be in the root producing stage.

6. Watch out for plants with wilted leaves. They could just need a drink of water or it could be a symptom of something worse.

7. Avoid shrubs and trees with broken or scarred branches or a severely lopsided shape. The plant may have received poor care at the wholesale growers.

8. Ask the staff at the nursery: “Does this plant grow well here?” It may seem to be an obvious question, but nurseries sell plants that have been requested by customers or shipped out from headquarters, even if they are not suitable for our climate. If you ask direct questions, you are likely to get a straight answers from the employee and a suggestion or two about what will grow well here.

For more information watch this “In the Garden” segment and call the OSU Master Gardener near you.

Jackson County – (541) 776-7371

Josephine County – (541) 476-6613

Klamath County – (541) 883-7131

Coos County – (541) 572-5263

Douglas County – (541) 672-4461