Root Suffocation and Bug Infestation

The Reality Of Big Box Stores

Abigail Lowrey

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Convenience is something that I love, meaning if I can spend a little less on a plant that isn’t top-tier quality at a local store then I will do so. This becomes a problem when you look at the phrase “you get what you paid for”. When you pay for 12 dollar pothos you don’t exactly get perfect plants that lack any minor imperfection. Unfortunately, convenience and plant health don’t go hand in hand with each other. Many plants that I have gotten from a big box store such as Lowe’s, Home Depot, or even Walmart have come with gnats, rootrot or fungal infections.

Recently I brought home an English Ivy and upon bringing it into my car discovered it had spider mites, which no they aren’t real spiders they’re like little bugs. Remembering what I’ve learned about creating a deterrent, I grabbed a tbsp of dish soap and heavily diluted it with a liter of water, and spray it on the leaves of the ivy. Another issue other than pests I’ve discovered is that they do not take much pride in the lasting health of their plants, allowing the plants to grow rootbound to the container and creating rock-hard soil that does not allow for any water or nutrients to get through.

In extreme cases like the one I’ve included in the picture it was impossible to salvage the plant, the roots had been torn up and molded completely to suffocate the others, resulting in the death of my rosemary plant. If possible, remove the plant from the pot and break away at any weak roots that may be constricting the live and beneficial roots. Absolutely no hate the big box stores but if you can afford it, I highly recommend checking out smaller businesses and places that specialize in plants.