Learn // How to Choose Plants at the Nursery


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!

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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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