When planting a garden you can either stock it by planting seeds or by buying the entire plant. One is not necessarily better than the other. Starting with seeds, however, tends to be a bit more rewarding since you are involved with the complete development of the plant. This can also be a little risky, however, because sometimes you never see any result from the seeds which you planted.
By buying the entire plant, you circumvent some of the work in making a full healthy plant. At the same time, however, some nurseries ruin plants with an over abundance of chemicals and fertilizers. What you want to look for when going to the nursery is the healthiest looking plant. Picking this plant out is not as easy as it sounds. There is a technique that you may want to take into consideration.
Look at the plant in detail. See how nice the plant looks. If it looks healthy then you can be fairly confident that it is free of bugs or disease. If the soil does not look good or healthy or if you see the indication of bugs in the soil via holes in the leaves, then you will want to avoid that plant.
As tempting as it may be, don't buy a plant that has flowers already in bloom. The plant, for some reason, is more traumatized if it has flowers when you re-plant it. Look for the plants with buds. These are the ones that will plant satisfactorily. If you have no choice, however, and the flowering ones are all that are available, you can still plant it. Simply clip the flowers off prior to planting. Planting a plant with flowers already blooming will usually result in the death of the plant.
Be sure that you check the roots prior to purchasing a plant. If they don't look good then you can be sure the plant is not real healthy and you are wasting your money. The rest of the plant should mirror the fact that the roots are not in good shape. If the roots are brown, rotten or are soft, this can be a clue to a problem. Healthy roots are firm and strong. If you are experienced at this you can look at the root to soil ratio. If there are many roots and little soil or few roots and a lot of soil, then you should leave this plant for someone else.
Buying a plant is not unlike buying a used car. Someone else is responsible for the condition of that plant. Most nurseries, however, are staffed with people who have been dealing in the field for sometime, so you may not have too much to be concerned about. When you plant the new plant, do so carefully. Although transplant shock does not usually occur, it is not entirely out of the question.