COLUMBIA — It’s heating up outside, and some would say it’s a great time to plant. But in order to plant successfully at home, some research is required.
According to Michelle Brooks, MU greenhouse coordinator, people should ask questions about the plants they are interested in purchasing while shopping at garden centers.
“You want to make sure you know the light requirements of your plants," Brooks said. “Does it require sun conditions or shade conditions? Knowing something about your plant before you plant it is a good start.”
Each type of plant requires a different kind of care. For example, most vegetables require four to six hours of direct sunlight to grow successfully. Some ornamental plants need full shade. Brooks said it is also important to find out the growth habits of the plants.
“Is it an upright plant, is it a mounding plant or is it a trailing plant?” Brooks said. “That’s going to affect where you plant it.”
The growth habits determine where the plants should be placed in the yard or container garden. Brooks recommended that the taller, upright plants should go toward the back or center of an area, and lower, trailing plants should go towards the front.
Another important key to remember while shopping for plants is to make sure the plant is sold in a premium size container because those containers are less likely to have growth regulators. To know if a plant is in a premium size container, look for plants in a large cell pack or small pots.
“If you buy things in really small cell packs, the producer has likely had to put a lot of growth regulators on it,” Brooks said. “And after you transplant it into your containers or in your garden, it’s going to take a long time to overcome those growth regulators.”