Houseplants forum: Plants from retail sellers (dept stores, supermarkets etc) any special care

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Name: Ed
Central ,NJ (Zone 6b)
Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Sempervivums Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1
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herrwood
Jan 20, 2017 6:36 PM CST
All of my indoor plants are either plants that were my wifes or from someone I know.
They are pest free and basically healthy unless I kill one out of carelessness.
Just wondering if I should pick up a plant from a store should they be sprayed with something or just put them away from the other plants for a few weeks ?
Plants are like that little ray of sunshine on a rainy day.
Name: Gita Veskimets
Baltimore or Nottingham MD-212 (Zone 7a)
Life is "mind over matter". If I d
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gitagal
Jan 20, 2017 9:22 PM CST
ED--
If all your plants are 100% bug free now--I would NOT introduce a store-bought plant in your collection.
You may be asking for trouble.
Depends on what store you bought hem from from too.. I would not trust any plant to be bug-free
if I bought it at any big store---eg Wallmart--HD--Lowes, Grocery stores, etc...
There are wonderful Nurseries and Garden Centers that sell nice plants. I would not worry too much--
but I would ask the staff where they get their plants from and IF they routinely spray their plants for insects.
Also--if they have a return policy if the plant you purchased turned out to have bugs and diseases.on it.
There are organic and safe sprays that will kill insects. You can even make your own.

BIG retail store's Staff have NO say about plant care, It is all up to the vendors that bring them to take
care of their plants in the store. Sadly--most of them do not have time to do this. Store staff is not
allowed to do this with their products.

Big Box stores get their plants from Florida. Many are grown in fields. need to know more?????
I would ALWAYS treat a newly purchased from a store plant for bugs.
Learn to know where to check for scale, Mealy Bugs, Aphids, etc....then treat them.
Plants shipped from FL are most likely treated for bugs--and "spiffed up" to look good.
2-3 months later--the new generations of bugs are just getting in their prime.

How do i know all this? I work in the garden Center of a Big Box store.
I see the vendors throwing away "nice looking" plants because they have bugs. No other reason.

Be smart! Ask questions! Carry a magnifier glass with you. Know where to look for bugs
and what kind of bugs they are. Then--if the plant is yours --treat it. GOOGLE is great for this info.

Best to you, Ed. Gita


Name: Ed
Central ,NJ (Zone 6b)
Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Sempervivums Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1
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herrwood
Jan 20, 2017 9:39 PM CST
That sounds like good advice and one of the reason I asked the question about the retail stores.
Thanks
Plants are like that little ray of sunshine on a rainy day.
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
Jan 21, 2017 2:10 AM CST
Just keep any new plant isolated from your present plants for a while. Spray them with Azamax. Yes, your new plants might have bugs but that's no reason not to try them out. Gene
Name: Ed
Central ,NJ (Zone 6b)
Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Sempervivums Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1
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herrwood
Jan 21, 2017 7:18 AM CST
My main concern was purchasing at the big box stores and Gita confirmed what I was thinking about them.
I will most likely make any future purchase at a local greenhouse seller which hopefully would be a cleaner operation.
I do understand the need to isolate any new plants I could keep them in my garage as it is heated and air conditioned .
The Azamax I think it is a basic kill a lot the bad guys spray which sound like a good idea.
Should the soil also be changed when bringing home a new plant ?

Plants are like that little ray of sunshine on a rainy day.
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
Jan 21, 2017 8:11 AM CST
In general, that poor plant has under gone a lot lately. Moving and all. I'd be nice and not do anything more than I have to for a while. Gene
Name: Rick Moses
Derwood, MD (Zone 7b)
Hostas Ferns Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Forum moderator Region: United States of America
Region: Mid-Atlantic Region: Maryland Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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RickM
Jan 21, 2017 9:09 AM CST
As far as the soil that the plant is in, it is usually high in peat. This allows the grower and distributor to water heavily before placing the plants in stores. If you think about it, some stores get in hundreds or thousands (think seasonals such as poinsettias) at a time. The store staff doesn't have time to water everything regularly, and they don't care. Sadly, both the growers, distributors and stores really don't care. If the plant has to be tossed, they write off the full value, so they lose nothing.

The first thing you should do is remove the 'pretty' foil/plastic' wrapper. They don't allow the soil mix to drain properly, which can easily kill the plant. That said, the best way to water these is from the bottom up. Set them in the sink and fill the sink with tepid water. Let the pots sit a while, then drain the sink. Any excessive water in the pots will drain and you can put your pots where ever. If this isn't practical, place the pots in a saucer or other suitable dish with a rim that makes it at least 1/2" deep. Gently water the top of the soil. If water runs out immediately, the soil is either very porous, or so dry that it can't take up water readily. If this happens, you need to use the water bath method above.

Something else to consider is whether or not the plant is root bound. If it is, the plant would benefit from being repotted into the next larger size. This is more of an issue with the potted rosemary trees that appear in stored in November.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jan 21, 2017 11:03 AM CST
I always quarantine new plants that I get. Just to be on the safe side and observe the plant for a few weeks. Pretty much I try to avoid getting very distressed plants.

Some I can experiment to see if it will survive with gentle care if it seems it was just bad watering issues. It does allow me to learn about the plant's resilience. But some are just too sick and a sick plant harbors more pests already.

Once I see the quarantined plant responding well to watering, and get to see if there are critters aboard then I spray. Too much spraying at times also adds more distress to an already sick plant. At the same time, do not apply fertilizer yet. Give it time to fully adjust to your growing environment. A lot of failure also comes from that, over eagerness to fertilize at the wrong time especially when plant is already looking sick after a few days of being brought home.
[Last edited by tarev - Jan 21, 2017 11:04 AM (+)]
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Name: Gita Veskimets
Baltimore or Nottingham MD-212 (Zone 7a)
Life is "mind over matter". If I d
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gitagal
Jan 21, 2017 4:30 PM CST
I always ask my customers--that are so eager to "fix" a newly purchased plant..re-pot it..fertilize it, etc...

I say--"If you were in a hospital and laying in bed--really sick would you like me to bring you a
nice, fat steak to eat? You probably would puke. Gets the point across...... G.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
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sallyg
Jan 21, 2017 9:58 PM CST
on the repotting question, I agree with what Gene said, and that Gita echoed with such imagery Rolling on the floor laughing don't
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
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Name: Carter Mayer
Houston, TX (Zone 9b)
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Carter
Jan 23, 2017 7:00 AM CST
gitagal said:I always ask my customers--that are so eager to "fix" a newly purchased plant..re-pot it..fertilize it, etc...

I say--"If you were in a hospital and laying in bed--really sick would you like me to bring you a
nice, fat steak to eat? You probably would puke. Gets the point across...... G.


Not really an accurate analogy unless you are always buying sickly, puny, nearly dead plants. Most plants people are buying are healthy growing plants. A closer analogy would be if you've been traveling a month for work and finally get to go back home, would you want to wear those same work clothes once you got home or something more comfortable?

I always repot my plants after bringing them home. Not something I think is critical, but may be more dependent on what type of plant you are buying, current health, what type of soil it is in, and what size of pot it is in, and should be considered on a case by case scenario. Most plants sold as "houseplants" are pretty tough and a repot may be more beneficial. *How* you repot would be the more critical factor.

I would only lightly fertilize until the plant has acclimated to its new location and shows signs of growth - although, depending on the size and type, a regular low dose of fertilizer may be better than a periodic regular dose of fertilizer, which might be more appropriate for outdoor plants.

Bottom line is that there isn't just one way to garden and advice can depend on so many different factors (type of plant, time of year, current health of plant to name just a few, not to mention the varying degrees even within those categories) and using a "blanket" or "umbrella" approach to giving advice can be just as detrimental to a plant as out right giving wrong advice.
Name: Gita Veskimets
Baltimore or Nottingham MD-212 (Zone 7a)
Life is "mind over matter". If I d
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gitagal
Jan 23, 2017 9:39 AM CST
Carter--Good advice.YES! HOW one re-pots and the soil they use is most important.

In case you did not know--I DO work at a Home Depot in the Garden Dept. 18yrs. and going.
Many customers that buy a houseplant do not really know how to properly re-pot a plant.
They will have a bag off potting SOIL and a pot wayyy too big in their carts for their 8" plant.
Most of them want to re-pot their new plants to get them in a prettier looking pot than the black ones come in.

That is when I try to "educate" them on soil, re-potting, fertilizing, etc. Most are very grateful for that.
My solution to the "bigger pot" situation is to tell the customer that they can just buy a one size bigger pot
and put the purchased plant in the bigger pot without re-potting....Pot-in-pot. So--they still get the "look" they want without re-potting. Yes--I advise them on watering--as most deco pots have no drainage.

Most Big Box stores do not have knowledgeable associates to advise them. Glad I am at mine...
I have been working in garden centers and stores for 30 years. Been on DG for 20+ years and it has been an education from all the DG'ers over the years as well.
Gita Thumbs up
Name: Rick Moses
Derwood, MD (Zone 7b)
Hostas Ferns Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Forum moderator Region: United States of America
Region: Mid-Atlantic Region: Maryland Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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RickM
Jan 23, 2017 9:59 AM CST
Hey Gita, here's an idea...

Why not try to convince your store manager to let you do a couple of workshops on re-potting? Who knows, they might even want to start having you do them at other store sin the area.
Name: Gita Veskimets
Baltimore or Nottingham MD-212 (Zone 7a)
Life is "mind over matter". If I d
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gitagal
Jan 23, 2017 11:55 AM CST
Hey, Ric...

I think that a workshop would be nice and I also think that management would have NO objections.
I love doing clinics--but there are so few of us in garden this time of year that it would be hard to
take away one or two people for this Clinic.
Over the years--I have done several garden-related clinics. Location is always an issue.
Management is either WITH you on this kind of an activity or NOT.
A couple years ago--I (we) ran a workshop on repotting. . "YOU (the customer) buy the plant and the pot
--and we will repot it for free--soil included....

Here is how one couple "abused" this generosity.
They bought a huge pot--like 1/2 a whiskey barrel--and 4-- 3" plants to put in it. Whistling
That big pot took 2 big bags of potting mix to put in it ~$15 worth. I did not even bother potting the small
plants in it--just left them on top of the soil. as it was obvious that they were pulling one on us.

They got 2 bags of potting mix for free--for paying about $10 for the small plants.
Theoretically--there was nothing we could do. That IS what we advertised...
Gita
Name: Rick Moses
Derwood, MD (Zone 7b)
Hostas Ferns Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Forum moderator Region: United States of America
Region: Mid-Atlantic Region: Maryland Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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RickM
Jan 23, 2017 12:05 PM CST
Someone always has to ruin it for everyone else. Grumbling

I was thinking more along the lines of showing people how to do it, not doing the work for them. They might as well learn from the beginning that gardening is not a spectator sport.

But, if you wanted to stay with doing it for them, have firm limits on the size of the new pot and number of plants for it. Nip that abuse crap in the bud, so to speak.
Name: Gita Veskimets
Baltimore or Nottingham MD-212 (Zone 7a)
Life is "mind over matter". If I d
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gitagal
Jan 24, 2017 9:45 AM CST
I will see what the new season brings.

Most of the time--I will be watering tables full of plants. Don't know who else will be assigned to do this.
There will be a couple people--I am sure. I only work 3 days a week. Tue. Wed, and all day Sunday.
Right now I only get one day a week. There is nothing in garden yet.

Kind of looking forward to summer....flowers everywhere.....
Gita
Name: Deborah
midstate South Carolina (Zone 8a)
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff!
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Deebie
Jan 24, 2017 9:48 AM CST
Gita, it sounds like you have the ideal job. Thumbs up

rogersmithiii
Feb 22, 2017 7:06 PM CST
I too re-pot as soon as the plant arrives. So many that I have bought from Big Boxers have been seriously root bound, and in need of new soil. All of them that I've re-potted have done fine.

And the only plant that had bugs was a Myers lemon that has scale. I've been spraying it with insecticidal soap, but have not yet eradicated the pests. The four, huge lemons are turning yellow.



Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Herbs Annuals Hummingbirder Butterflies Garden Photography Cactus and Succulents
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gasrocks
Feb 22, 2017 7:51 PM CST
Azamax is what you need to use. Gene

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