Garden expert reveals how they choose the healthiest plants from a supermarket

The professional florist highlights a few things to look out for when picking up plants on your weekly shop

conservatory filled with plants, furniture and coffee table
(Image credit: Dobbies)

We love browsing the plant and flower section of the supermarket and often come home with a leafy new addition for our homes and gardens. Supermarkets can be a great place to pick up plants at an affordable price, but we sometimes wonder about how they'll fare once we've taken them home.

We asked Waitrose's head florist about how to get the very best indoor plants and shrubs from the supermarket. Here are his top supermarket plant hack and tips to make sure you're taking the healthiest plant in the store home with you.

plants and shrubs being sold in store

(Image credit: Alamy)

'Foliage plants should be lush and full, and have good color,' says Chris Wood. 'Stems and leaves should be firm, not wilted or distorted, and roughly equal on all sides.' 

If the plant looks full and bushy, it's a good indicator that it is healthy. The florist says that when looking at plants in a supermarket, you should be able to see signs of new growth, which is free from pests or diseases. 

Signs that the plant is growing happily in store will help us feel confident with our purchase. Chris also highlights a few red flags to look out for, including leaf color and the moisture levels of the soil.

plants and flowers sold in a supermarket

(Image credit: Alamy)

'Don't buy a plant if the leaves are pale,' he adds. 'Avoid plants with yellowing or brown leaves, or if the leaves look brown and dry along the edges.'

Waitrose florist Chris also warns against buying any long, leggy plants. Instead, look for compact, sturdy plants where appropriate plant soil should be just moist to the thumb test, he says.

It's always convenient to be able to pick up plants, gardening gloves, compost and garden tools while shopping for groceries. As well as inspecting plants thoroughly, we think the best thing you can do is find out when fresh stock is delivered and to shop for plants then.

rich green houseplants and an armchair

(Image credit: Dobbies)

The new arrivals are less likely to have suffered any knocks or wear and tear, and when you take them home, you can make sure they're getting the ideal amount of light, nutrients and water.

Getting the best from your indoor garden ideas involves lots of tending and careful observation of your houseplants, as well as planning ahead. You're always sowing the seeds for seasons to come, so keep this in mind when shopping for new plants to boost your existing indoor plant ideas. Happy shopping!

Millie joined Gardeningetc in early 2021. She loves creating a vibrant display of containers in her small urban garden and is always picking up new plants at the local garden center. She's never without some fresh flowers at home and her favorite houseplant is her variegated pothos that's currently climbing its way over her bookshelves.