NewsFlash! Read All About It! This is a Special Edition of the Garden Musings blog written to you from breezy Kansas. ProfessorRoush, your renowned gardening investigator, has caught a big box store in the act of practicing horticultural fraud!
Actually, Folks, ProfessorRoush just wants to remind you that sometimes things aren't always what they seem at the big-box gardening centers. I was at a local vendor today, looking for shelves, not garden plants, but I couldn't resist wandering through the newly arrived shrubs and perennials to see what was available. 'Sky Pencil' hollies are on a wish-list for me, so I was drawn to these 3 foot tall specimens from across the parking lot. Unfortunately, as you can clearly see in the front container, these specimens were recently transplanted from a one-gallon container into these three gallon containers, presumably so that they could be sold at the $25.00 price, instead of the $6.95 or $12 price that a one-gallon plant would command. Unaware consumers that buy the other plants lined up behind this corner specimen are paying at least $12 for the 2 extra gallons of mulch. Quite a steep price for mulch, isn't it?
Please remember, my gardening friends, that it is a good practice to shop only reputable nurseries and even then to occasionally slip plants an inch or two out of their containers to see if the roots have reached the edges of the pot, or, in the other extreme, if the roots are pot-bound and tangled. Plants like the one above are the worst of both worlds; a pot-bound plant that was recently "planted up" without any effort to free the roots into the new soil.
I have a feeling these 'Sky Pencil' hollies are never going to grow tall and reach the sky. They haven't been given the chance.