Online plants

Buying Plants Online

Buying plants online has probably overtaken buying plants from physical catalogues. With so many plant companies on the internet, finding and buying plants is easy. There are, however, a few guidelines that should be observed before filling in your personal data for that much sought after plant.

Depending on what it is you are purchasing, look for a complete description of the plant. The description should include:

  • Where it can be grown (shade or sun);
  • How cold or heat tolerant the plant is;
  • A complete name, preferably with the latin name as well as the common name;
  • What size the plant will grow to;
  • What size you will be getting;
  • When it will be delivered;
  • The cost of the plant.

The descriptions should help you decide if that plant is the right one for your needs. Most gardens have a mix of sun and shade, but one generally dominates. Plants that are noted as being suitable for shade will wither and burn if planted in the sun. Conversely a plant that is noted as needing ‘full sun’ will become weak and unhealthy if grown in the shade. Tiny plants in one inch pots can grow into large plants in just one year. Others, may grow slowly the first year, but will be enormous the second year. These plants are clearly better suited to the back of a border than a place by the back door.

Buying the right plant online also involves getting the name right. Botanical names do not change and they are especially important when you are buying plants online. A plant named ‘tarragon’ can be true French Tarragon (Artemsia dracunculus); it can be Russian Tarragon, a weed (Artemesia dracunculoides); or it could be Mexican Tarragon, which is a marigold (Tagetes lucida).

Knowing when your plants will be delivered is sometimes important too. Perennials that are delivered from a northern nursery may not be transported until the weather in the north is mild. For southern gardeners, this may be too close to the hot season for the plants to succeed. If you are a northern gardener and you order plants from the south, they may arrive before the frost has left the area and you will have to keep the plant indoors until your weather improves. Some of the larger nurseries will ship when it is the best time for your location, so check the company policy before you order.

As with anything over the internet, including buying plants online, look for the yellow padlock (in the lower RH corner) before entering sensitive information.