Buying herbs at nurseries

At reputable nurseries and retail garden centers you'll find large display benches filled with lush, edible herbs of all shapes and sizes. You can select from annual or perennial seedlings in flats, or almost ready-to-eat plants in larger pots. It's good to see what's in season and check out other perennial herbs, shrubs and trees, such as salvias, lavender and bay trees - and companion plants.

You may be tempted to select young plants that look like they're maturing well, perhaps even flowering, but if this is the case, they have probably outgrown their pots. Smaller, immature seedlings will become healthier plants.

Before you buy, check that the herbs have healthy roots and are not pot-bound. Once the roots are tightly compressed, curled around the inside of a container and poking out the bottom, there is no guarantee they will grow well once you plant them in the garden.

And while you're at the garden center or nursery, ask for advice if you need to. Horticulturalists are employed to share

Some of the taller-growing perennial herbs, such as some salvias, require pruning and staking, otherwise they become leggy and look unattractive.

their gardening knowledge with their customers and help them make the best choices, so don't hesitate to ask guestions. You'll build a friendly, useful relationship with the staff in the process.

As soon as you get your purchases home, give them a good soak in a bucket of water for a couple of hours to ensure the rootball gets a thorough watering before planting.

Gently ease the herb out of its pot and check that the root system is healthy, not pot-bound.

Continue reading here: Mailorder plants

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