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Buying plants online

AaronBilAaronBil Posts: 97
Bit if a rant, sorry but interested in your take/experiences.

Choice of plants online is fantastic but increasing I’m feeling ripped off a little. 

Ordering 2 litre plants at premium but getting something that’ll sit in a 9cm pot and the rest compost. 

Im currently waiting in some delayed plants, due end of the month because of unseasonal weather but assured they’ll arrive in great, plant in the garden immediately shape, I’m not holding my breath though.

A least at the garden centre you know what you’re getting for a tenner, it’s really pot luck online, it shouldn’t have to be. 

I don’t run a nursery, honest. 

How are you guys finding it?



  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    It is worth frequenting smaller online nurseries that you trust. It is a risk and a punt and a disappointment when you get rubbish or tiny plants through. There are a few that are great and come through every time. I personally tend to avoid the big outfits like T&M and Crocus. These seem to give less and less value. Wootens, Dorset Perennials, Paddock Plants, Dixter, Beth Chatto, Sarah Raven - they all sell good, reliable  plants.

    For specific plants like trees, clematis, alpines and roses, it's worth going straight to specialist growers - not general sellers.
  • ElferElfer Posts: 329
    Stick to local Garden centres & nurseries if you can otherwise @Fire has good list
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,051
    I much prefer buying in person, online is expensive. Over £5 for a 9cm pot? And then a tenner postage? If it's something really unusual I'd do it, or if the price was really good (Longacres used to do 9cm stock for £1.99 but sadly they're not doing national mail order any more)...
  • AstraeusAstraeus Posts: 322
    I only go online for specialist tree, shrub or plant nurseries. For usual stuff, I'll go to a garden centre. I've had terrible experiences of products from T&M, Crocus and Primrose.
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    edited May 2021
    It's a shame about Longacres. They were pretty cheap. My two local GCs are not really any good.  These days I am usually looking for specific varieties of plants. But even the basics, they often don't have. In London GCs can't afford the space to store that much. My locals have a little bit of everything (and loads of plastic klart inside), so if you want to buy any clem, any rose, or any salvia, it's fine. Specifics you will not find.

    I would drive out to Enfield and the big nurseries, but I don't have a car.

    You can find online suppliers that give 2-5 litre pots for £5. You just have to hunt around.

  • PianoplayerPianoplayer Posts: 624
    It's very frustrating when you want something specific and the local GCs don't have it. I've had luck online with spring bulbs, bare root roses, and 9cm hardy perennials bought when dormant - all bought from specialists. For bedding and 2l shrubs, I just shop at the local GCs which are very good for `common` stuff.
  • AstraeusAstraeus Posts: 322
    Do people not ask their garden centres to order in? I've asked time and time again and there isn't much they're not able to source.

    Ultimately most independents will source from the same growers so the access list should be the same. Just ask.
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    edited May 2021
    Astraeus said:
    Do people not ask their garden centres to order in?
    Mine don't do that. It would be too expensive to order in something just for me. Tey would need to order many trays to make it worth it.

  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,051
    I am pretty lucky to be surrounded by excellent nurseries and GCs in Nottingham, including a couple that specialise in unusual and desirable perennials
  • didywdidyw Posts: 2,736
    Maybe we should start a specific thread for online nurseries we think offer good value for money/well grown plants/more unusual plants?  I bought a beautiful astelia and a dierama Blackbird from Charles Hurst Plants ( recently.  They were big well grown plants in 3lt pots so fairly pricy - as was the postage.  However, the dierama turned out not to be Blackbird but a pink one.  I contacted him to ask if it had been wrongly labelled or was the wrong plant and he said he'd picked out what he thought was a really good plant for me but had strayed beyond the Blackbirds. I then received a Blackbird from him and, even though I offered, he didn't charge me anything for it.
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