The Plant Graveyard

bluewillow09(8)April 30, 2013

I am curious about anyone else's experiences or perspective on this: Every nursery has some sort of plant graveyard out back with tremendous markdowns...

Do you buy plants from the bargain area?
Why or why not?
Have you had success with such plants?
Have you ever been sorry (brought some insect or disease into your garden)?

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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Many will be starved or have root rot. Not a good investment.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 10:32AM
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laurell(8 - Washington)

2 years in a row I've done big "renovations" outside and have needed a bunch of cheap plants in autumn. Both years I've picked up 2 quart(?) sized sage that had already bloomed out from Lowes at a deep discount expecting at least some of them to die. Surprisingly, after overwintering, all have survived and thrived. I expect that something a bit more delicate (like the poppy I tried doing the same with) would be a bit more problematic. For $1 though, I didn't mind taking the gamble.

Frankly, I've had much worse luck buying in-season stuff. I once bought a few moss rose plants at wal-mart. 3 years later, I have a succulent hitchhiker so invasive that I have to cut it back around where my dahlias are planted so they don't get choked out before emergence. It's even beating my moneywort in the same bed - slowly taking over. On the upside, it doesn't need watering, is green, and for the most part keeps weeds down.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 1:39PM
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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Moss rose as in Portulaca grandiflora is an annual so you got something else - unless you are saying you are having a bunch of it come back from seed, year after year. If you infest your ground with water molds from planting sad plants that are hosting them it can be more than just gambling with a few bucks.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 2:22PM
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ian_wa(Sequim)

Not every nursery... If I plant starts looking said I either pot it up or (rarely) compost it. So does Far Reaches Farm. In fact I personally believe a nursery that allows a pile of half dead discount plants to persist isn't doing something right.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 3:53PM
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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

You are growers. Retail outlets often don't even fertilize or keep up with watering, even independent ones. Box stores, of course seem to make a specialty out of plant abuse.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 4:11PM
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laurell(8 - Washington)

Bboy - I noted that it was a hitchhiker from a pot of moss rose. It certainly isn't moss rose, but looks similar and is an evergreen succulent. Blooms in Juneish with clusters of small white flowers. You can pull it up in mats and transplant easily.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 4:58PM
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plaidbird

Blue,

Never !
I have a huge investment in time and money in my garden over the years, and the risk of bringing in an unseen evil is too great. The money and time it would take to fix a problem sure wipes out any savings. It would only take once.

As it is, I do not need to buy herbicides, insecticides, etc. so far. Knock on wood... and I'm keeping it that way. I just purchased my first ever big bag of natural and chemical fertilizer for in the ground plants ... after gardening for many decades. This is for a special situation but it still feels a bit weird.

In fact I personally would never buy from any big box store and a few of the smaller independents I'm wary of. Been at this too many years.

Yes, you see online gardeners brag about how much they saved, and how X came back to life. I only know one of those types of people, and honestly her garden is not what I would be proud of... but she's happy, so we each do our own thing.

I have given her starts but when offered I just say my garden is too full. I guess if I did bring home something from her place it would probably be okay, but at what stress cost to me ? Not worth that either.

My garden is where I dig holes and put my money in the ground. LOL

This post was edited by plaidbird on Thu, May 2, 13 at 17:47

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 5:42PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

If I was a beginner, I should worry more about getting some horrible invasive from a plant exchange than anything else.

I have picked up quantities of plants from the big box stores that were destined to be thrown out. Their only fault was that they were allowed to dry out and look terrible, but alive. A quick trip home, some water and shade, and presto, like new.

I picked up twenty 'White dogwoods' once that way. They turned out to be Cornus kousas. I paid a buck a piece for them in one gallon pots.
Mike

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 11:59AM
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gardengal48

If you know your plants, getting them from the nursery "bargain bin" is not big deal. It is unlikely you are getting fatal diseases with them but it never hurts to have them in quarantine for a season before planting directly. This also allows the presence of unwanted hitchhikers to become known.

Most quality nurseries don't mark down diseased plants - they toss 'em (or return to vendors/suppliers for credits). They do mark down plants that experience some sort of partial dieback, cold damage, watering stress or breakage, all of which can be rather common occurrences. IOW, plants that are no longer "retail ready".

Personally, I have brought many nursery rejects home without issue - trees, shrubs and vines. I seldom bother with inexpensive annauls or perennials - just not worth the effort. Most have survived to this day and are perfectly acceptable garden plants. My passion/obssession for clematis was predominately filled with nursery returns due to the non-fatal affliction known as "clematis wilt".

I'm with Mike on this one :-) No reason to dismiss discount pile plants out of hand. Just select carefully, provide a little TLC and enjoy your bargain for years to come.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 4:16PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I've bought many spent potted bulbs for cheap and planted them. Some daffs didn't make it but the common 'Jetfire' 'February Gold' 'Tete a tete' sure do and so have all the hyacinths, crocus and species tulips.

I have grabbed Clematis cheap too but not much else.

Now, when I was the one doing all the buying for resale and they were done blooming or got damaged or missed watering I brought home a whole lot more than now, when I have to actually pay for the rejects....

Anything received infested or diseased was returned for credit...

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 7:39PM
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