Finding the Perfect Plant Nursery
“Where do you recommend I go to buy plants? At a plant nursery?” This is one question that I’m often asked by desert dwellers. The choices that people have for purchasing plants range from a locally owned nursery, a nursery chain, or a big box store. So which is best? Well, that depends on the situation. So, I am going to give you my recommendations based on different factors.
Exploring the Local Nursery
You have just moved into a new house and want to add some plants. The problem is you have no idea what kind of plants do well in your new region, how to care for them, or what type of exposure is best.
Answer: A Locally Owned Nursery
I would highly recommend visiting a locally owned nursery, which employs people who are knowledgeable about plants. Also, the types of plants they carry are most likely well-adapted to the growing conditions of your area as well.
Local nurseries also sell a greater variety of plants.
The mature size of a plant often depends on what climate they are grown in. So your local nursery professional can tell you how large the plant will become in your zone. Also, what type of exposure it needs along with watering and fertilizer requirements the plant will require.
You will pay a little more at a locally-owned nursery or a small chain. Saving money due to the excellent advice and well-adapted plants for the region is a bonus.
Consider the Big Box Store Nursery
Big Box Store Nursery
You have a list of plants that you need for your garden. Best yet, you are familiar with the plants that do well where you live and how to care for them. Also, your budget for purchasing new plants is small.
Answer: The Big Box Store
When you know exactly what plants you need you are at an advantage. If you have a tight budget, you may want to check out your big box store’s nursery
Another important thing is to be familiar the plant’s needs in advance. While nursery personnel may be helpful, not all of them are knowledgeable about plants.
The biggest benefit for shopping at a big box store’s nursery is that plants are often less expensive than at your local nursery. Many also offer an excellent plant warranty as well.
One important thing to remember about shopping at a big box store nursery is that just because you see a plant there, does not necessarily mean that it will do well in your area. I have seen quite a few plants available in my local big box store that is sold out of season or very difficult to impossible to grow where I live.
Shop Wisely for Your Garden
So where do I shop for plants? It depends on several factors.
Parry’s Penstemon (Penstemon parryi)
For flowering annuals, I shop at the nearby big box store as it’s hard to beat their variety and amount plants available.
When I need perennials, shrubs, succulents, or trees, you’ll find me at my favorite local nursery. They grow most of their nursery stock, so I know that it is adapted to the climate.
While traveling to areas with similar climates to mine, I take time to see if they have any specialty nurseries and take time to visit.
I do need to confess that my favorite place to find plants is not at a nursery, but at my botanical garden’s seasonal plant sale. They have hard to find plants, and I know that whatever plants I come home with will do well in my garden.
Regardless of where you shop for your plants, I highly recommend researching plants ahead of time.
Learn how big they get, what type of maintenance they require, watering needs and how it will do where you live. You can find most of this information easily online by doing a simple search using the plant name + where you live, which will give you links on the plant and how it does in your area.consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."