Container plants are an easy and convenient way to begin gardening or add to your landscape. But not all container plants are created equally, so it's wise to learn what to look for before you head to your local garden center. And consider your long-term gardening goals. Are you willing to spend more on older, bigger plants in order to get an established look quickly? Or are you able to wait younger -- and more affordable -- plants to fill out? Either way, take a few steps to make sure you're buying healthy container plants and you'll soon have a lush and beautiful yard.
Most container plants are sold by size. Buy younger perennials, add a dash of patience and you'll have a great-looking landscape in a few years and save money. Keep in mind that very young perennials may take a year or two to bloom, and perhaps another year before they're fully grown.
Buying young annual flowers and vegetables is a better deal and also doesn't require as much patience, as they'll establish more quickly than mature plants. Make sure you choose ones that haven't bloomed yet. In a few months, they'll give you more satisfaction than the mature plants would.
Don't just judge a container plant by its looks. Before purchasing, dig a little deeper. Turn the plant on its side and gently tug it out of the container. You're looking for a full set of roots that fill the pot. If the plant is potbound, the rootball is a mat of thick roots with only a few white tips, pass on it.