If you lack a green thumb, buying and caring for a new houseplant can be a challenge.

Here are eight things to look for when choosing the perfect houseplant.

  • Buy your plants from a nursery or well-tended garden center.
  • Search for a full, bushy plant that has a good shape.
  • Check the soil for moistness, making sure it’s not too soggy or dry.
  • Avoid plants where the roots are visible from the top or underneath at the bottom of the pot. These plants have had difficulty surviving and may be hard to care for when you bring it home.
  • Want a flowering plant? Make sure it has both flowers and buds that will bloom later. These plants will last longer. Avoid plants with tightly closed buds that may not bloom later.
  • Make sure the leaves are healthy with no brown or yellow leaves.
  • Check for signs of disease such as mold or rotting stems or pest infestation.
  • Buy your plants in the spring or summer when plants are less likely to go into shock when changing locations. If you’re buying your plant in the winter, wrap it in paper when transporting.

Learn more about houseplants and which ones are best for cleaning the air in your home.

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