Is there a differnece in plant quality when buying from...

ArehbellaMay 8, 2012

I was curious if the quality of a plant depends on where you get it from. Is there a difference between an African violet that is bought at wal mart vs one that is bought a plant nursery ? I have one African violet that I got for 8 dollars at a plant nursery, and I have two that I got for one dollar at wal mart. They look the same to me. Same thing with Aloe, one plant nursery has them for 8 dollars, while another will sell the same type of aloe for 20 .Though that same store with the more expensive aloe, will have Kalanchoe for 4 bucks, while the other place will have them for 10-15.

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Cost is not usually an indicator of quality. However, I will tell you that it more costly for the privately owned garden centers to purchase and maintain their stock than for the big -box stores.

Whether or not the quality is better depends entirely upon the skill set and training of the owners /employees. It is also incombent upon us to be able to inspect plants before purchasing so that we can reject problems before we bring them home.

It 's entirely possible to find great plants in those chain outlets but only if you get there before they have been sitting around for too long. Just know how to recognize all of the usual pests, diseases, and indications of poor culture.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 8:52PM
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Every place sets its' prices differently. Wal-mart, being a very large buyer can often get volume discounts on mass produced plants that a smaller nursery is unable to get. The largest violet producer is Optimara, and I see them nearly everywhere. So, if you go to one store and see Optimara violets and see them at Wal-mart too, there really isn't a difference in how those plants were produced and grown. The care once it arrives at the store may be different, and the staff knowledge will be different too. If I'm seeking knowledge I always go to a nursery. Make sure the nursery is a reputable one too as their staff will be better. Big box stores will have good plants when they arrive, but their health tends (but not always) to go downhill after that. If you see something that is healthy at a big box store there's no reason to not purchase it.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 8:54PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

The plants may be the same but I discovered a disturbing trend this year, don't know how long it's been going on. All of the plants I bought at L's this year have styrofoam in the soil instead of perlite. Looks the same at a glance, but when I took them out of their pots, the difference was obvious.

I know this is the house plant forum and the plants I got were not house plants, but just want to tell as many people as possible and the house plants may have styrofoam in the soil, too, I didn't look at them this year. (It's a 45 minute drive, so usually an annual event.)

I sent an email complaining about it because I don't want a bunch of styrofoam in my yard. This was the response:

Good Evening Tiffany,

Thank you for contacting me regarding the plants that you purchased. I apologize that you are upset because you found bits or pearls of Styrofoam in your potting mixture.

We are aware that Styrofoam pellets along with perlite and vermiculite are some of the items that are often added to the soil mixture for aeration and water retention. This is a common element in most potting soil and especially potted plants or flats of plants. I will document your concern for review by appropriate management.

If there is anything else that I can do to further assist you, please let me know.

Thank you,

Brittany J.

Lowe's Customer Care


    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 9:27AM
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Generally, nurseries are better, right, because their primary business is plants.

However, as has been pointed out, the BBS have varying degrees of quality / care.

I can tell you that in Kamloops, Costco was selling Agave 'Cornelius' (bought three, gave two away) which was marked 'cold hardy'. The only thing wrong with that is that it's cool-hardy, not cold-hardy. However, since I knew more than the average bear about Agaves, I knew the difference. I wonder how many others didn't. AAR, Costco has a generous return policy so maybe anyone who bought one and killed it got their money back, only through the dissolution of a fine plant.

I really can't

it when such unadulterated hooey is on public display - wait, I'm not talking about the election in November.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 9:54AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

That is a gorgeous agave!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 10:43AM
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