We’re week two into our month long school holiday and today we hung out all day with Nova from Cultivate Central, an urban farmer here in Singapore. We’re working on a new project together and she offered to help me pick out edible plants from the nursery. I thought – perfect – that means I have an activity for Maria! 

Plant-shopping with Nova, was like shoe shopping for some. We all got giddy over the finding the perfect pair of roselle bushes and I found myself becoming incredibly excited over a pomegranate tree that I just had to have. Passion is contagious and Maria was getting into it too! 

On the way home, Daddy calls. Maria jumps on the phone and to my surprise – starts giving him the rundown on how to properly choose a plant from the nursery. You should have seen her face as she explained in great detail all of Nova’s tips. I had no idea she had taken so much in! I’m sitting there thinking – it’s incredible how valuable these experiences are for our kids. Her face lit up as she passed along these new ideas to her father… and I know that it’s those moments, that inspire an eternal love for learning… May she never, ever stop!


So, I want to share with you Nova’s nursery tips too! Otherwise, a six-year-old knows more than you – and honesty, we adults need to keep up with these kids! 


TIP 1: Check the roots. If the roots are long and dangling out from the pot, it means the plant has been neglected for a while and may not be strong and healthy. 


TIP 2: Check for bugs – you don’t want to introduce pests into the garden. Have a look under the leaves to spot them. If there are a few, you can wash them off before bringing them into your garden, but if there are a lot – it’s a bad sign. 


TIP 3: Don’t go for mature plants. When it comes to big shrubs, and fruiting trees – the ones that are already big and bushy are tempting but, instead, do choose a younger plant. The big guys can go into shock when replanting –  and you’ll risk spending a lot of money just see it die. 

Hope that helps next time you’re plant-shopping!

Gardening is definitely an exercise in patience – which may be a lesson I need to learn. It doesn’t come easy to me, but I’m excited about creating those moments in my day where I can take a break, disconnect from it all and step out onto the balcony to be among nature. l’ll be dreaming of picking our first pomegranates with my daughters… 

It’s a good thing I have friends who can teach me how to care for my plants!  If there’s anything that you want to do in your life, I encourage you to join a group of people who are already doing it – it’s the best way to learn!

6 responses to “Learn // How to Choose Plants at the Nursery”

  1. Hi Militza

    great post! Could you please tell me what nursery you went too?

    Thank you
    Donna 😀

  2. THANKS SO MUCH! You’ve inspired me to start a balcony garden with my boys as a school holiday project!! Can’t wait to check out the nursery! !

  3. I’m looking at redoing a bunch of the landscape in my yard, so this article was really helpful. I didn’t realize that buying a larger, more mature plant could be a bad idea since they might die of shock when I replant it! I’ll be sure to spend a little more time focusing on some of the smaller plants at the nursery that will withstand being replanted a little bit easier.

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