Buy good quality plants rather than unnamed, poor grade stock. Plants rarely fully recover from a poor start in life – check over the specimens you propose to buy, using the notes below as your guide. If you have to buy before you are ready to plant, keep the stock in a cool dark place. Do not disturb the soil,or peat around the but do keep it moist. If the delay is likely to be more than 3 or 4 days, heel in the plants in a shallow trench.
Dense weed growth
Small weeds or green algal growth
Dry soil Split
Thickgrowing through base
A container-grown perennial is a plant which has been raised as aor and has then been potted on until it is housed in the whalehide, plastic or metal container on . It should not have been lifted from the open ground and its roots plus surrounding soil stuffed into the container. Such lifted plants are sold and can give successful results, but they should neither be called nor be priced as container-grown plants. The true container-grown can be planted at any time of the year as long as the ground is neither frosty nor waterlogged. The most convenient of all the planting types, but also the most expensive.
Healthy and firm top-growth
A pot-grown specimen is a miniature version of the container-grown plant. It may be a mature rockery perennial or the juvenile form of a border perennial,or . This is the best way to buy a rockery perennial, and it is generally more economical for border perennials than container-grown plants. It is the dearest way to buy , but as there is no check after planting out the are earlier and larger.
Long roots growing throughholes
Make sure that the bulbs and corms you buy are firm at the base. They should not have started to grow and the surface should be mould-free. Large-sized bulbs- are usually the best choice, but buying a mixture of bulbs which you can growon is the more economical way of covering a large area. Outdoorshould be the medium and not the large grade. It is of no importance if Tulips have lost their brown skins. The outer scales of Lily bulbs should be firm and succulent – do not buy bulbs if they are covered with withered scales.
The pre-packaged perennial is the standard planting material sold by hardware shops, supermarkets and department stores; they are also available at garden centres. It is a bare-rooted plant with moist peat, sphagnum moss or compost around the roots and the whole plant housed inside a labelled polythene bag. Such plants are cheaper than their container-grown counterparts but there are drawbacks. You can’t see what you are buying and premature growth may begin in the warm conditions which occur in the shop. Planting time is the dormant season between autumn and spring.
Leaf buds beginning to open
Plant completely dormant
Shrivelled or diseased
Small white roots growing into the damp packing material Good signs
Small clumps and divisions of large clumps of perennials are sometimes lifted and placed in polythene bags for sale. The problem here is that some roots will have been broken during the transfer and so tap-rooted varieties may take a long time to become established in their new home.