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Your checklist for choosing new plants

Seeking new plants for your garden or allotment is always exciting, but the keen gardener might feel like a kid in a sweet shop. Here are some points to remember:

Plan before you shop

Consider the location first. Do you need shade-loving plants or those that thrive in full sun? What type of soil will your new arrivals be planted in? If you’re planting up containers or hanging baskets, be clear on the right mix of upright and trailing varieties.

For larger trees and shrubs, be mindful of the amount of clearance needed for full growth. All this information will appear on the plant label.

Check the health of plants before buying

You’re looking for strong, healthy looking specimens with even growth, no sign of disease and a healthy root system. Don’t be afraid to lift the plant from its pot to check. If it doesn’t come out easily, it may be an indication that the plant is rootbound. Avoid pots where the roots are growing out of the drainage holes, and check leaves for any evidence of pest damage or disease.

Try the plant in its proposed position before planting

Plants don’t like being moved too often, so don’t rush them into the ground as soon as you get them home. Arrange your pots where you think they’ll look best and relax for a while on your rattan garden furniture before committing to planting. The plant label should indicate if any soil preparation is needed, but as a rule of thumb, some fertiliser and a good water are always a good way to settle in your newcomers.

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