What You'll Learn
One of my favorite jobs when I worked at my family's greenhouse and nursery in upstate New York was to size up the competition. I would pull a hat down low over my eyes and drive from nursery to nursery to squeeze root balls, search for signs of insects and diseases and, of course, compare prices. Sometimes I would even order plants from catalogs just to get an idea of what was available. Now I'm on the other side of the cash register and shop for plants with my own money. I've learned what to buy -- and what not to buy -- and where to shop. Here's what my experience has taught me about local nurseries, home centers, discount stores, mail-order catalogs and online retailers.