Charlotte-(WBTV) Spring officially arrives Tuesday morning, but with temps already in the 80's many of us are itching to get in the diet and play. Before you spend money on plants, I went to an expert to find out if there really is a difference between those plants at the big box stores, and the ones we see at our local nurseries.
I had her go over several plants, and in each case she made a very good point, "If you plant is hardy and a variety that grows well in this climate, if it is in good shape, that is the kind you buy at a big box store," Munn told me.
But Munn made a very good argument for spending more at a nursery. "This is all they do, they educate their employees, they are not about home improvement and things like that. Plants are all they do and they are passionate about it." Munn also believes nurseries are the best place to invest in unusual plants. "They are always getting in new varieties, things that just don't sell at a big box store," said Munn.
Munn took me to a giant artichoke plant that must have been close to three and half feet high. "I just planted that this fall," she said. We counted at least four big fat artichokes on the plant. "This is the kind of plant you're not likely to find at a big box store, and look at the statement it makes here," Munn told me.
There are three things Munn recommends you look out for. First and foremost, check the leaves of the plant, if they feel limp or have brown around the edges, there's a good chance it's not been well taken care of and the roots could be damaged. Secondly, look for diseases, like powdery mildew. Also, check the stem or stalk of the plant. If it wiggles at the slightest touch, there is a chance it got banged around in transport. That can weaken the plant down the road.
So plan on shopping both the big box stores, and your neighborhood nursery. Just save a chunk of your budget for the plants that are more unusual. Munn says you'll be happy you did.