5 Tips for Buying Healthy Plants Online

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If you are like me, you like shopping from the comfort of your own home in your pajamas. I like to avoid the crowds and sensory overload I often get in stores. However, as easy as it is for me to order household items and even clothes online, shopping for healthy live plants is much different. I have tried and failed with online plant shopping, but I have also had some sweet victories. Here are some tips to help you avoid some of my earlier mistakes.

Do your homework on the supplier

Doing an ample amount of research before purchasing plants online will help you avoid disappointment. Before you click the purchase button, read as many customer reviews of the seller as you can. In addition to reading onsite reviews, check out Yelp and Google. In addition to delivering healthy plants, be sure to understand things like guarantee, return policy, and delivery speed.

Know what to expect when your plant arrives

When shopping online for plants, it is important to understand that the beautiful vibrant pictures on the company website are pictures of mature plants and do not resemble what will arrive on your doorstep. There are several ways in which your plants may arrive. These include potted, bare root, or even cuttings. Be sure to find out exactly how your plants will arrive so that you know just what to expect.

Be familiar with your growing zone

Check out the USDA Plant Hardiness Map. Knowing which plants do best in your growing zone can save you a lot. I have had my fair share of times when I purposefully pushed the growing zone recommendations only to find myself dealing with dead plants. Plants all have different requirements for temperature. Because of this, it is important to know what will do well in your particular area. The color-coded map of the United States makes it easy to figure out what zone you are in and purchase plants that thrive in this region. If you want to get super particular, make sure you study weather patterns in your specific location – there are microclimates within broader climates. The more you know about your area, the better when it comes to selecting plants

Know the full size and growing requirements of plants before you purchase. Baby plants become big plants eventually. Overcrowding plants or placing them in the wrong location can be disastrous for growth and production. Know all the requirements of your adult size plants and plan for this. This is especially true if you are buying trees or shrubs that will be large when mature.

Consider a landscape plan

If you are looking for unity and flow in your garden, it is vital to have a plan in mind when you start shopping for plants. Especially since plants can’t easily be returned online. Knowing exactly what you need in your garden will help you make wise choices online. The good news is that you don’t have to be a Master Gardener to pull out some graph paper and create a nice landscape. Study pictures and information about your chosen plants well before hitting the purchase button.

Understand how shipping works with online plant purchases

I always suggest that people pay for expedited shipping when buying plants online. Shipping is hard on any live plant, no matter how well it is packaged. Plants are just not made for a long time in the dark without water…. Period. Generally speaking, any more than five days locked up in a box is unhealthy for any live plant. If regular shipping can’t get it to you in this time, consider expedited. If your choice of online store does not offer quick shipping options, move on, and find another source.

Some of the best online shops for plants

Here are my top 4 favorite online plant shops.

Pull out your computer and grab a cup of tea. It’s time to do some online plant shopping!

-Susan Patterson 

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