Flowers from Hattie’s Garden are very different from what you would get at garden centers and “big-box” stores. These mass-producers usually offer product that are treated with Plant Growth Regulators (PGRs) and other toxic chemical fertilizers, fungicides and pesticides.
When you first buy Hattie’s flowers, they normally may not be in bloom or even show the beginning of blossom buds. However, they will be green, healthy and ready to take off in your garden or to be planted in your containers. And they will perform magnificently.
The flowers you buy in the big box store have nearly all been treated with Plant Growth Regulators (PGRs) and other chemical fertilizers, fungicides and pesticides. A flower in a small 6-pack or 4-pack with a minimum amount of soil has to be kept in that space a long time in order to reach bloom stage. To do this, nurseries must apply PGRs to keep plants from becoming leggy and given regular doses of chemical fertilizer to bring them to bloom as quickly as possible. What you see are flowers that should have come after the plant had become established in your garden.
When you buy a flower this way, it will never be as healthy as it should be and whose flowers should be removed when you plant. There is good reason for the nursery industry to do this for optimum sales. This is “eye candy” and customers want to see what the flowers actually look like. More flowers will eventually grow on the plant and the plant will grow in size, but that first flush of flowers in the pot is never a good sign of a truly healthy plant unless that pot is large enough to handle the plant’s normal growth.
To be sure you are buying healthy, robust vegetable and flower plants, find someone like Hattie’s Garden or a small local nursery that grows plants for their own field use as well as your personal garden. You will get healthier plants. You can feel good knowing that you are supporting local growers who take care of the environment. And you can ask questions about how the plants were grown.