Buying plants online may not offer the lush smells and instant beauty achieved when meandering through a local plant nursery. But would-be gardeners will save time — and possibly money — when shopping for plants online. Here’s what to know before you buy plants online.
Ordering plants from a website provides access to unusual and off-season plants that may not be offered in a local nursery. It can also save time, and provide the flexibility to shop for your plants at your leisure — whatever time of day or night that might be. Buying plants online is also convenient. The plants are shipped directly to your door without ever getting your vehicle dirty. Additionally, online companies typically offer a wealth of knowledge about their plants as well as gardening tips. Finally, ordering online might save you money. Prices are competitive.
Returning shipped items is time-consuming and could cost you additional shipping fees. Also, ordering online might limit the size of plants available to you. Photos may lack detail, only showing mature plants or one close-up angle. The ones you receive may take a few years to get to that stage of maturation.
What to know
Research the website or online business. Look for companies that give detailed descriptions rather than a brief summary or simply a photograph. The more information, the better. Check customers’ reviews and read substitution and return policies. Ask if the company offers a guarantee, which is a nice insurance policy when you receive an unhealthy plant.
Before the plants arrive, have the correct tools, mulch, and fertilizer on hand. Unpackage plants immediately. Plants likely will arrive in a state of dormancy, so watch them carefully. Perennials will take longer to bloom, and don’t be surprised if the plants skip a year before flowering.
Take note of the plant’s size in addition to its fully matured size. Smaller plants are easier – and cheaper – to ship. Then make sure the plants have room to grow to their full size. Take into consideration both height and width. Pay attention to time of year. Spring and fall are typically the best times to plant.
Know your climate, soil type, lighting, and maintenance capabilities, then purchase plants that fit your parameters.