Do’s and Don’ts for Choosing Plants at the Garden Shop

Garden centerIf you want the best success with container plants from your local garden shop, you’ll need to know how to choose healthy plants and how to acclimate them to your balcony garden. Here are some of the Do’s and Don’ts for selecting plants at your local garden shop.



  • Purchase plants that are actively growing. Make sure there is some new foliage or flowers blooming. Flower buds should be ready to bloom or already in bloom, while perennial plants should have healthy new growth in the foliage.
  • Plant your new plants in a larger container once you bring them home.
  • Put the plants in the sun or the shade (depending what it says on the tag*).
  • Keep the potting soil moist.


  • Buy dried-out container plants.
  • Purchase plants with broken stems or brown foliage.
  • Buy root-bound plants (where you can see the roots coming out of the top or bottom of the container).
  • Keep the plants in their nursery pots long-term.
  • Keep plants in inappropriate lighting conditions.

If you prepare yourself before making a container plant purchase (no impulse buys!), then you will have a better chance of success with your balcony garden. If healthy plants are given the correct care, they should thrive and provide you with a beautiful balcony container garden!

*Note: Many garden centers do not provide identification and information tags with their plants. If the plant you purchase does not have a tag, make sure you know what you’re buying so you know how to care for it. Ask an employee at the garden shop what the plant is if you’re not sure. Then look up care information about that plant (this is actually best done before you purchase any plant) so you know whether to keep it in the sun, shade, with moist soil, to let it dry out between waterings, etc.

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