ShareThis Page
How to order ordering plants by mail without regret |
Home & Garden

How to order ordering plants by mail without regret

The Associated Press
| Sunday, April 26, 2015 9:00 p.m

You can buy trees, shrubs, and flower plants through the mail that are as high-quality as those you can get locally, and often in greater variety.

Problem is: Not all mail-order nurseries are equally reputable. And you can’t just drive your sickly plant back to the store to show it and complain.

The lesson: Investigate before you purchase. A website such as or magazine articles are ways to sleuth out a nursery’s track record.

Winnowing through the wording of plant descriptions can help you avoid disappointment. Too many superlatives, for example, makes them suspect, such as when every item promises to be “carefree,” “easy” and “blooming year after year.”

• If prices seem too cheap, the plants being sold are likely low-quality. Ten gladiolus bulbs might seem like a bargain at $4.99 — until you read the fine print stating their size. Any good nursery should specify the size of their bulbs. High-quality gladiolus bulbs are large, which means more and better blooms.

• The nursery claims an ironclad guarantee, which is generally a reliable indicator of nursery quality, however. But a nursery may bank on the fact that many people won’t bother to contact it to make good on a guarantee, especially if the plants were inexpensive in the first place.

• A guarantee for a free replacement just brings you another plant more worthy of your compost pile than your garden.

• Consult books and reliable websites for information about the plants you’re seeking.

• When a mail-order plant arrives, inspect it. If the plant seems OK, plant and care for it. If problems arise, don’t be too quick to blame yourself.

Categories: Home Garden
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.