Start a new thread

1 to 20 of 32 replies

Jim Macd


Hi all,

popped into B&Q yesterday to buy sand. While in there thought I'd look to see what plants they had. I have a policy normally. DON'T BUY PLANTS FROM B&Q! So why did I buy plants? Well they looked like they were fresh in and you got six ‘plants’ for £5.00.

I bought two boxes of Echinops, some Irises and Echinaceae. When I opened the Echinops, they were dry as sticks, in fact that's all they were, dead sticks in some dry peat. I'm sure I'll get my money back but what a waste of petrol!!! If you do buy any plants from them and they're in boxes, open the boxes before you leave the car park and check them over. The Echinaceae were just okay but I wouldn’t have wanted to buy them if they’d still been there next week. I remember laughing at the Ginger they were selling a couple of months ago. They were so dry the ginger was just a thin shell, and they were still selling them!

Good advice Jim. That's the problem with B&Q, Homebase etc., they don't seem to really care about the plants, especially watering them!! They often reduce plants that look tired and wilting but all they need is a water. But hey, at least we get some bargains


These are bare root plants aren't they? Always a bit of a risk from B&Q


Am guessing bare roots. Have you tried soaking them for an hour then placing in soil with bottom heat? They may look dead but may, may, be OK. It is prefereable if bare roots are kept with some moisture.


Most of my cheap (for I am tight fisted and mean with what little money I have) plants have come from the sales bin at Homebase as the sales assistants here have a tendency to over enthusiastically water everything and once it looks a little uncomfortable to over water it some more. I'm not above haggling with them over the prices either (as I did with my miniature orange tree which had been reduced from £15 down to £5 and I ended up paying 50p which was the value of the pot and three Swiss Chard plants that were about 20p rather than the couple of pound they had wanted to sell them for).

As with even good garden centres unfortunately it is a case of buyer beware! I hope you get your money back and find some better plants soon!


Jim Macd

Yes, these are essentially bare root but they do come in what should be moist compost to ensure they don't desiccate completely, but these are dry and shrivelled, it would take a miracle to revive these. You could feel the moisture on the Echinacea and see they were still okay. The compost on the Echinops was like dust. I have been in Horticulture for over 30 years, trust me, the Echinops are dead. I'm just anoyed with myself for not checking them before I drove away, I know what B&Q are like. I wouldn't advise anyone who doesn't know about plants to buy from them.

I was in my local homebase last yesr and picked up a Fatsia Japonica reduced from £12 to 50p, only because the pot was broken looked like it had been dropped,  plants doing great. What a bargain

Secret Squirrel

I only buy plants from B&Q and Homebase when the plants are on 'Deathrow'

I got an ornamental sage for a £1 last summer. It only needed deadheading and re-potting. I looked at it the other day and tiny shoots are coming through the crown now.

last spring I got eight pelargonium's for 50p! Again with a bit of TLC they bloomed lovely last summer. I even managed to take cuttings! All are overwintering well, and I'm looking forward to seeing them bloom again this year. 

I had a look at some plants yesterday i found a nice looking hellebore, when i picked it up i found it to be half ded and water logged. It was in the half price sale but i thought it was to much of a risk to buy it.

Most of my plants come from Homebase, but I am quite picky about which of the reduced offerings I go for

I don't think I'd buy anything hidden in a box from there (or B&Q), but it's a good tip just in case I am in danger of doing it on a whim. I have picked up some of the boxes and read the labels - the planting dates were well past or way in the future so I left them...

Strangest thing I have come across is carrots - even if they will survive planting out surely there is an increased risk of attractng carrot root fly?

Daft really when there are some good garden centres not far away, but you go in for a packet of screws (because its saturday afternoon and the discount tool shop has closed already) and come out with plants too....

I love buying plants from these large stores when they are reduced and look neglected. Often these plants will fill a garden space. I have picked up a phalaenopsis £1.99, a winter jasmine.99p and pansies .50p for tray of 6-12. You just need to use your gardener's knowledge to see if plants will survive. This happens in garden centres as well. There seems to be a lack of appreciation for the plants. I have seen trays of phalaenopsis, still in their cellophane wrapping, left outside in wind and rain looking beyond safing-and they were- still for sale! I hate cellophane wrapping, just can't get water to any part of the plant. Please beware in garden centres who sell pre-packed plants and bulbs. The best time to buy is when these first come up for sale.

I too have bought from B+Q with poor results, but my best buy was a sickly Clematis Armandii which now covers 15ft of fencing, Good value for £1.99!!

Jim Macd


I think if they're selling of live plants at a discount because they've been neglected, that's fine, but if they're selling plants which are actually dead, at full price, with instructions to soak for 3 hours then plant and wait for them to come up, the average Jo, is not going to understand they've been sold a dud until nothing comes up, and that is not going to be for a month or more, by which time you've thrown the box away, you've lost the receipt and you've put it down to slugs or your own inexperience. This kind thing makes me really angry. It isn't good for either the novice gardener or B&Q in the long term. Hey Ho.

Jim Macd

Oh, by the way, I did get my money back with the receipt but they lady looked down her nose at me and said,

"You just have to water them."

"Trust me, these are dead. I'd like a refund"


I totally agree with you. It makes me angry as well as it is such a waste of resources. I always make sure that plants are growing in some way. Perhaps if we all wrote to the companies with photos, they may change their minds!!! Unfortunately, they only want profit and customer satisfaction is low down on their tick list. The assistants generally have little gardening knowledge.Perhaps if we asked the assistant about her/his gardening knowledge they may be more empathetic! It is up to us to be more proactive and that includes me. Keep gardening, water features are looking up!




Jim Macd wrote (see)

Oh, by the way, I did get my money back with the receipt but they lady looked down her nose at me and said,

"You just have to water them."

"Trust me, these are dead. I'd like a refund"

This made my day, though I can think of many more snooty remarks I could have given her :P

Keyser Soze

Sounds like the start of the Monty Python "Dead Parrot" sketch!

Did the assistant try and suggest the Echinops were pining for the Fjords?

Pleased you got a refund though

Jim Macd

I'm glad we've got a belly laugh out of it. Thanks for that. Hi Karin, yeah, it all comes down to numbers and tick boxes. The bigger the company the worse it is. I know I'm and advisor for the big daddy of them all. But when an organisation is so big there's too many people involved for the personal touch. You've got to see past it or get out.


I love the bargain trolley @ Homebase! Only yesterday I was buying compost for a customer and found some really good Hellebore's at half price that still had loads of new flowers to come, they just needed a bit of deadheading to tidy them up, my gain .

On the original topic I don't buy those dry boxes after having similar experiences, if you can't see what you're buying don't buy it!

Also why do these big companies stock plants not suitable for the soil conditions and climate in the area, I'm on heavy clay but still they stock Heathers, (Calluna)and Rhododendrons, (not Inkarho) and don't get me started on Ceanothus I've lost count how many I've had to dig out and dispose of these last couple of years