With everything from perennials, to bamboo and trees available online, the internet and online plant nurseries have completely changed the way we shop.
There are however a few factors to take into consideration when it comes to purchasing garden necessities from the World Wide Web, as we’ve detailed here.
10 Tips for Shopping in Online Plant Nurseries
Know your site
There are a number of online plant nurseries to choose from. With this in mind, it’s wise to do your research.
Online reviews, the look and feel of the website, customer service, the prices, and the plants available all play a part in the user experience. Shopping online is meant to be a pleasurable, hassle-free experience, so with this in mind, don’t be afraid to shop around.
Take your time
Before buying online, take a moment to think about what it is you want to buy and where the plants in question are going to go. For example, if you have just a small balcony or patio area to work with, there is little point in ordering a large tree.
Similarly, if your garden is mostly in the shade for the best part of the day, there is no point in buying plants that thrive in the sunshine.
If you’re unsure of what theme to go for, look to sites such as Pinterest for inspiration. Having a mood board to hand will prevent panic buying. It will also ensure you choose plants and colour combinations that work well together.
Picture the “whole story” of the plant
When shopping online for plants, look for online plant nurseries that showcase more than one single photo of the shrubs available.
From close-ups of the flower to pre-bloom and post-bloom images, it’s important to “see the whole story” and as such, each individual plant from more than one angle.
This will allow you to learn where best to place your purchase, how the leaf texture appears, more about the colour variants available, what the buds look like, and so on.
Use mood boards
Although there are many benefits to shopping online, one thing we’re unable to do is to see things in person, look at the plants side by side, touch the leaves or get a real feel for the measurements of the shrub.
This is when an online mood board comes in handy, as it allows you to build a virtual representation of what your garden will look like.
Creating a series of inspiration boards will enable you to experiment with different colour and plant combinations, develop themes for flower beds, and use the space you have to its full potential.
Opt for online nurseries that offer good plant and shrub descriptions
Buying online may be a hassle-free way to populate your garden, however, it’s sometimes hard to learn about the plants you wish to invest in.
In a brick and mortar nursery, there are staff on standby to assist you when it comes to learning more about the conditions required for certain species, how much water and care they require, whether they’re able to tolerate shade or strong sunlight, and what fertilizer to use on them.
Some of today’s more advanced online plant nurseries offer features such as ‘live chat’. This is a great tool to use as it allows you to speak to an expert before making a purchase. Other sites have detailed care descriptions, which sit alongside the images of the plants.
It’s important to read these descriptions before buying plants. Don’t simply go on the looks alone – although we may well be aware of the conditions we have to offer plants, this often doesn’t deter us from wanting to grow the things we like the look of best.
Before you spend hours trawling through online plant nurseries, check that they deliver to your area. This will avoid any disappointment when it comes to checking out. Many online nurseries offer next-day delivery if you order before a certain time and may even provide trackers so you can stay-up-to-date on the status of your order.
Order plants online early
Being organized when it comes to shopping online for plants is a must.
Leave it too late and you may find yourself disappointed, as numbers of bulbs, seeds, and plants could sell out, meaning you’ll likely have to wait until the next season to purchase them. It’s, therefore, a good idea to look for an online retailer that accepts early orders.
Order plants from your region
If you can, place orders from online plant nurseries that have warehouses and garden centers in your region.
Asides from ensuring they reach you in a speedy fashion, ordering from a local online nursery will ensure the plants in question are already acclimatized to the local climate and environment – this means they will be able to establish themselves easily.
Before placing an order, check the size of the plants you are ordering. This includes the size they will arrive at you, and also, the size they are expected to grow to. It’s important to take the space you have to work with into consideration as anything too large will swamp your garden and anything too small will appear lost.
If you’ve never ordered from an online nursery, or from a particular retailer before, place a test order first.
This will allow you to learn more about the company in question, including whether they offer quality goods, how long they take to deliver plants to you, and whether the plants in question work in the environment you intend to place them in.
Placing a bulk order is risky – as more often than not, you won’t be permitted to return perishable goods.
There are plenty of things to consider when purchasing from online plant nurseries but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them.
By doing your research and shopping around you should be able to find quality plants at prices that are affordable for you.
Sources: curbed.com, angieslist.com
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