what i learned

blutarskiDecember 19, 2007

bought a really beautiful, 1ft tall sans with horizontal light green bands. Just classy looking, sort of retro- I don't know how to explain it.

What I learned is this: not to buy plants from any place other than a nursery. This plant is much much healthier than the sans I recently bought from Lowes- the difference is striking.

There is a little offshoot peeking up from the dirt. I want to repot in the spring into something more decorative- how tall/big does an offshoot have to be before cutting it off and replanting, or doesn't it matter?

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Michaela(z6+ TN)

By Spring your young shoot will be several inches long and easily severed and transplanted on its own rhizome and roots. Once cut, you might want to let the cut dry out for a few days before planting to minimize possible fungal infection. These are remarkably hardy plants.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 11:18AM
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amany(MI / 6)

blutarski, there was a time that I would have agreed with you. I used to feel the same way. I've also overpaid for many common succulents that Home Depot and Lowes carry by buying them from online nurseries. Eventually I began to see that you'll find good and bad plants in nurseries, grocery stores, department stores and hardware stores.

In my experience, the plants from nurseries are often better established and that the conditions (light, humidity, etc) tend to be better in nurseries. The thing is that - again in my experience - the plants from nurseries were more likely to have pests than the plants from other places. Maybe because the people in nurseries are not as likely to use the harsher insecticides. I'm not sure.

What ended up happening was that I have learned to be extremely thorough when inspecting the plants at the nursery. Even before buying them. I even pull the plant out of the pot a bit to see if there was anything crawling around in the soil. I hold the plants up to the light and inspect under the leaves and at the axis and joints for webbing. I also look all over the leaf for dust-sized critters that move around.

At other places, I made a habit of finding out when the fresh shipments of plants were due. Newly delivered plants are usually fabulous looking. That way I can get to them before they suffer from under / over watering, bad lighting or just plain neglect. I'll just call the store and ask when they're expecting new plants. I still inspect them for pests, like at the nursery, but I've usually not found them.

I haven't bought a plant online in well over a year. I'm not saying I never will again, but it would have to be a plant that I really want bad and can't find in a store.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2007 at 3:27PM
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I may have learned this lesson, but it didn't stick- I just bought some plants from Lowes. Lowes, in particular, seems to have pretty healthy plants, and a good variety of succulents in particular.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2007 at 4:25PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Don't know where you live, but if you can find a local plant society & joint them, you could probably get cuttings there, (which in my experience) will be healthy than those from box stores & much cheaper & more convenient than mail order.

Above posters are right that in you can learn the shipping schedule of yr. local box stores, you can get there when their plants are newly arrived & still in good shape.

Also, some supermarkets carry great plants, but it varies. My local Waldbaums has crappy little plants vs. my Stop-N-Shop has a stand-alone plant dept. often w/ great & healthy plants for good buys. (I was recently captured there by a gorgeous Anthurium w/ red-violet spaths, nice size for $6 or $8; worth keeping an eye out.)

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 11:14AM
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