How Do I Make Sure I'm Buying a Healthy Plant? - Ask BrightView


Ask BrightView: Episode 1

Before you buy a plant at any store, you should look over and inspect it using these three tips from BrightView Horticulturist Corine Ferre to make sure that the plant is healthy and will flourish once you take it home. The most important things to do are inspect it over for color, form, and foliage; check its stability; and examine the root system.

(For the full transcript, see below.)

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Video Transcription

How do I make sure I'm buying a healthy plant?


As a horticulturist and an educator, I am going to talk to you about being able to choose a good plant from an inferior one. Here are a few easy steps that you can take in order to determine whether your plant is a healthy one, or on the contrary, if there are a couple of things that could categorize it as unhealthy and you should not buy it.

Visually Examine

Let's take these two plants and examine them carefully to determine which one is the better one, which one is the healthy one, and which one is the unhealthy one. Let's start with this one. We always examine from the top down. We need to turn the plant around, look at it from all angles, look at the foliage, look at its color, its form, look at the flowers. Perhaps we are noticing blemishes like a rotten leaf or a broken one. And, after thorough examination, it would seem that this one is much better. It doesn't have any blemishes, the flower is very showy, the leaves are nice and wide and dark green, and this appears to be a very healthy plant.

Check Stability

Stability is very important. Stability has to do with the root system. The root system is the foundation of a plant. With a firm foundation, you should have a healthy plant. Let's look at this one. This is a philodendron and at first, it looks really healthy, which it is, but as I am checking for stability, this is happening. So, no, this would not be the plant that I would want to purchase.

Examine Roots

The final step would be to examine the root system. In order to do that, we need to lay the plant down. Usually it is best to grab it from the very base, pull it out from its pot, and examine the root system. It should not be root-bound - in other words, roots going round and round within the pot. That would not be a good thing. The white roots are a good sign of active, new growth. Again, stability. We have gone through the previous steps about the form, and the color, and the fullness. This is a pretty good plant.

In recap, next time you are in the store, you will know how to follow the proper steps to ensure the purchase of a nice, healthy plant.