Plant Displays at Hayes Garden World, Ambleside, Lake District

Best Tips For Buying Garden Plants

Follow our guide to buying the very best quality plants

Shopping, for plants, at Hayes Garden World, is designed to be an enjoyable and uplifting experience. We understand that all the colours and choices on display can be seductive. You may buy plants on impulse, to find, later, that you have bought ones that don’t fit the bill. On the other hand, we all love bargains and there is always the possibility of getting plants that fit better into your planting scheme than you imagined. A good compromise, is to know your needs beforehand, but don’t exclude the possibility of finding something better.

A Plant Shopping List

Before you go shopping it is sensible to make a list of the type of plants that you desire for your garden. For colour it can be useful to take along a colour wheel as these show harmonious and contrasting colours. It also helps to place your chosen plants away from the displays, to check how their colours combine together. You also need to know what sort of conditions you have in your garden – the amount of sun is important for many plants & also the type of soil, whether it is well drained or tends to be a bit boggy. An alternative list is a good idea because if some of the original plants, on your first list, are not available and you don’t want to wait for the next delivery, you have other options. Ask our staff if you need any help.

The Best Time to Shop

Friday is a good day for shopping as this is after the mid-week delivery and before the week-end rush. If you desire scented plants shop early in the day as plants often release their fragrances both early in the morning and later in the evening.

Pick the Best Plant

The plant buyers at Hayes Garden World have years of experience & spend a lot of time & energy sourcing the best plants & plant growers for our nursery. The plants we offer are healthy & well grown specimens, which is why we can offer our 5 year guarantee on hardy plants. The advantage of shopping at a quality garden centre such as Hayes Garden World takes the worry out of choosing your plants.

When you have found the plant that you want the next thing to do is choose one from the selection on offer. The general rules that apply are to give it a quick check over following these simple procedures:

  • Inspect the leaves and stems for any sign of disease, pests or nutrient deficiency by holding up to the light. The sort of things you are looking for are holes, discolouration and/or ragged ending. Black deposits on the leaves are a sign of fungi or the excreta of sap sucking insects such as aphids. Leaves, unless variegated or coloured, should be green and healthy.

  • Test for the presence of vine weevils by giving the stem a gentle pull. If the roots are being eaten the plant will come away from the soil. Reject any plant with large weeds growing in the pot as those advertise obvious neglect.
  • Be wary of any plant that shows poor growth. Neglect could again be indicated here, or the plant may simply be from poor stock, in which case you will be unlikely to get much from it.
  • Make sure that there is a good root system, as that is fundamental to the health and vitality of the plant. To check on this ask a member of staff to slide the plant out of its pot. Look for a good all round spread of roots. Any plant where pot is full of roots and especially where no compost is visible (known as “Pot Bound”) should be left as it indicates weak and sickly top growth. If a member of staff is not available check the underneath of the pot to see whether excessive roots are growing out of the pot’s drainage holes into a messy clump. If the roots are just appearing out of the holes that indicates healthy growth but a mass of roots mat indicate that the plant is pot bound. Plants with little root growth are best left for a later day.
  • Never feel obligated to buying the closest plant at hand, search for the best. With shrubs and trees look for the best shaped and avoid any with broken stems and branches. Our trees & shrubs are grown in Superoots Air-Pots for a healthy root system.

  • Don’t be too drawn by the size or the attractiveness of plants already in bloom. Look, instead, for sturdy young plants with lots of new shoots, fat healthy buds and, as mentioned, a good root system. These, given a good start, will outperform the more established ones.
  • Climbers that have a lot of leafy stems are best, so choose them.
  • Always read the instructions on the label and if the plant is in flower be sure it matches the picture.
  • Plants bought online or by mail order will need to be inspected at home. If you buy this way be sure to check the retailer’s return policy before you order.
  • Make sure you don’t sabotage your purchases by taking them home then not planting them out within a day or two. If bad weather or other commitments makes this impossible, ensure that they are kept in a sheltered spot where they will receive the right amount of light and keep them watered.

Hopefully you will have found this advice helpful. There is of course, always the chance that you will be inspired to alter your plan, but that’s part of the fun of shopping at Hayes. Perhaps our best advice is to be prepared and most importantly, have a wonderful shopping experience.

Julie Parker
My interest in gardening & wildlife stemmed from childhood days spent working in the garden with my parents & reading books on anything from robins to giraffes. As time has moved on these influences have stayed with me inspiring the creation my own garden & leading to interests in fish keeping & the natural world around me. I still love to read & hope that the knowledge I gain will make topical reading through these articles.