Senior Member
Posts: 142
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2016 5:57 pm
Location: California Zone 9b <3

Sick Plants at Stores

I had a question.

Okay, I'm not going to name any names, BUT

Strangely enough if I did, over the last 6 months I can say everywhere has had some issue to my horror:

Is it really true that nursery stores plants can have bacterial, fungal, or other disease type problems when you buy them?

Is it widely possible that they could be already infected upon purchase?

Or let me say, putting all my cards on the table...

Sometimes, when I'm at the plant nurseries, especially the know-nothing ones!, I see sick plants;

(Spoken all spooky like, "*I see dead people*")

I see terribly sick dying plants.

I know I see ... blight/bacterial death/something spreading... in the stores!!! it will be on one plant severely and then the ones around it become infected

Oh dear. Do you know that one time, I even watched one terribly ill plant gradually infect like 5 others over the course of a few weeks. I thought that was particularly striking because it was the expensive $10 grafted kind. :shock:

Maybe I should have told them. To be honest? I wanted to pretend it wasn't real and it wasn't happening! (I walked out of that area quickly, kind of freaked out: zombie apocalypse isn't real, ahhh!)

But then a few weeks later, as all the stock in all the nursery stores in my city began aging and aging and aging sitting together and getting sprayed from above as watering for weeks...

All the nurseries began having sick plants.

It was disturbing. Is this normal? Can any plant you buy from there & it be OK, hah? I'm beginning to have my doubts.

Is it possible that customers are bringing blight/bad bacterial juju into the stores and infecting the plants?

I guess anything is possible? Hah.

Okay, question recap:

1. Is it possible for a healthy looking plant to be infected by disease that will develop later because it was raised in a dirty nursery/infected prior to you purchasing it at a store?

2. When you are looking at plants at nurseries or big box stores, do you ever see sick plants?


3. What do you do when you see sick plants at a store? Do YOU tell an employee?

Oh gosh, I've seen some funny nightmares. I guess I should inform them they have rotting piles swarming with bugs on their cacti or toxic ill looking black spots permeating their borage babies, but I just kind of cringe and think I wish I worked there and walk away. (I'd be very valued!)

Okay, I kind of answered my own question inwardly :lol:

Ooooh, I think I just realized I may of wanted to leave the sick plants right where they were

In case, like what I was saying... they had already infected the plants around them? :lol: :lol: :lol:

Like I don't want to help blightville sell sick blight patients by cleaning up their sickly displays for them unless they pay me to? Hehe. Oops. But maybe for the greater good I should?

I'm somewhat torn. :)

I would make a responsible plant vendor though. ;)

Some of those questions are obbbviously rhetorical. Hehehe. Tell me bad stuff doesn't happen to good plants at good nurseries even! Say it isn't soooo.

& P.P.S.:

I'm already on it. Seeds all the way around next year! :mrgreen:
AKA this year I learned how to grow stuff from seed to bypass the stores. It's still possible to get yucky sick seeds though, from what I understand, so having a good healthy seed source is still important. :)

& P.P.P.S.:

Stores are still wonderful, imo, I love 2016's variety it is amazing! You just have to look really closely at the plants you're buying apparently! I think I learned that younger plants are better because they are less stressed by being in their small containers? Or at least I learned: the less stressed the plants the better, how's that! (That's definitely true, hah!)

User avatar
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Sick Plants at Stores

Yes, it is true that even healthy looking plants in nurseries can be infected with disease spores.

Late blight in tomatoes is known to have been spread from some wholesale nurseries to retail nurseries to consumers:
The disease has been diagnosed on tomato transplants (also referred to as "starts") throughout the Northeast. Infected plants were originally distributed throughout the region by several plant retailers. This disease is not seed borne however, it is exceptionally contagious, and can spread to tomato plants on retail shelves not involved in the original and initial source of the inoculum. Unfortunately, once Late Blight appears in a garden, it can destroy an entire season's crops and remain in the soil for years after. - See more at: ... Vrmux.dpuf
But it is certainly not the only disease that has been spread by nurseries.

Return to “Organic Insect and Plant Disease Control”