Purchasing Online versus Local Plants

Discussion in 'Conversations Forum' started by jan grows, Mar 20, 2008.

  1. Hi Everyone,

    I am researching the above topic and I was wondering if anyone in the forum would mind giving me their input by answering the following 8 general questions.

    1. Do you believe you get the same quality of plants online as you do locally?


    2. Where do you get a better selection – and why?


    3. Have you ever purchased from one of the following:
    Online sources:
    Gurneys:
    Nature Hills:
    Spring Hill Nursery:
    Park Seed
    Seattle Area Local Sources:
    Flower World:
    Molbaks:
    National Local Source:
    Home Depot:​
    4. If so what was your experience?


    5. Would you purchase from them again?


    6. Overall, do you have a preference between online or local for purchasing your plants; and if so, why?


    7. Do you go to one place for all your plants, or do you go to different places depending on what you are looking for?


    8. Do you have a favorite online source, if so what is it – and what makes it stand out so that it has become your favorite?


    Thank you for the time you’ve taken to help me with this project for my English class.
     
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    1. Do you believe you get the same quality of plants online as you do locally?
    Depends. Most notably, when growing native plants, local native origin can be very important. However, buying from a local retailer does not necessarily mean the plants will be of local provenance; the retailer may have brought them in from a more distant source. With online, the risk of non-local origin is even higher, though.

    2. Where do you get a better selection – and why?
    Online will give better choice, as one can source from many more different places

    3. Have you ever purchased from one of the following:
    None of them (hardly surprising given my location!!)

    4. If so what was your experience?
    N/A

    5. Would you purchase from them again?
    N/A

    6. Overall, do you have a preference between online or local for purchasing your plants; and if so, why?
    Tend to prefer local, as (a) you can select an individual plant yourself, and (b) it is easier to make claims under guarantee if the plant is not successful. But would go online to get something not available locally.

    7. Do you go to one place for all your plants, or do you go to different places depending on what you are looking for?
    Different places.

    8. Do you have a favorite online source, if so what is it – and what makes it stand out so that it has become your favorite?
    No
     
  3. markinwestmich

    markinwestmich Active Member

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    Good luck with the project.

    Mark
     
  4. DGuertin

    DGuertin Active Member 10 Years

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    I've changed up your formatting in order to make it easier for people to skip the questions they've already read, and get right to the responses...

    1. Do you believe you get the same quality of plants online as you do locally?

    This depends entirely on how much you trust an on-line source, and how much they like you. You'll always have a variance in the quality when you're dealing with such a natural thing as this. It's a roll of the bones. A retailer may give you whatever puny little thing they have lying around if you're only buying the one thing from them, thinking you're a pleb for only paying a pittance, or they may give you their best in order to impress the heck out of you and hope that you come back for more... That's without the issue of havnig to deal with the shipping companies, and the costs associated with it...

    2. Where do you get a better selection – and why?

    In my mind, without a doubt, in the grand scheme of things, you'll always be able to find a greater selection on-line. Now, this is taking the total of all things available to you on-line versus what's available to you locally. On-line, you have access to every plant grower in the country with a website, or access to eBay... From hobbyists to commercial growers, you are bound to find things on-line that local people, even specialist nurseries you may have, have never even heard of.

    3. Have you ever purchased from one of the following:
    Online sources:
    Gurneys:
    Nature Hills:
    Spring Hill Nursery:
    Park Seed
    Seattle Area Local Sources:
    Flower World:
    Molbaks:
    National Local Source:
    Home Depot:​


    None but Home Depot, though I've looked into the others frequently. I've also shopped Lowe's extensively, though I find HD normally has slightly better prices and selection.

    4. If so what was your experience?

    With either of them, my best advice is to shop as frequently as you possibly can. Get there as soon as they get a new shipment, before they have the chance to kill them. Case in point, I recently bought 2 6" Blechnum 'Silver Lady' ferns. I bought them the day after they came in, and repotted them into 1 gallon containers that night. This was maybe a month or two ago. My 2 Blechnum are now large, happy, healthy, and thriving; HD just threw out their last six or eight that they have steadily killed, trimmed, and now made unsaleable.

    5. Would you purchase from them again?

    Yup.

    6. Overall, do you have a preference between online or local for purchasing your plants; and if so, why?

    I always prefer to shop locally, or in single-specimen auctions. I want to be able to see exactly what I'm getting, not what someone else has decided is a 'good photo of what to expect.' I'm just not the trusting type, I'm afraid...

    7. Do you go to one place for all your plants, or do you go to different places depending on what you are looking for?

    I specialise in ferns, bamboo, and primitive trees, none of which exist in specialist nurseries around here. Shopping every nursery around here (in the 2 dozen range) allows me full access to everything that anyone gets. Another case in point for you: a neighbourhood nursery early last year acquired two each of Polypodium Areum, and P.A. 'Mandianum' in massively thicky-grown 8" baskets. I bought one of each from them for $15 each. A seller on eBay on the same day had recently-divided 6" pots of each for $15, and the bidding closed at $20 - $25 each. Add in the $15 'shipping and handling' charge, as well as the fact that I could have returned the ones I bought should anything have happened, and I'd say I made out substantially better.

    8. Do you have a favorite online source, if so what is it – and what makes it stand out so that it has become your favorite?

    None, really, though I have met some good people via eBay, and have done business with them 'off the boards.'
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Shopping locally you have the advantage of being able to inspect the stock before purchase. A ubiquitous problem with container-grown stock is deformed roots, it is impossible to guard against this when buying plants without seeing them first. For reports of experiences with particular mailorder/online vendor see the Garden Watchdog section of the Dave's Garden website.
     
  6. What is the link to Dave's Garden website?

    Thanks

    Jan
     
  7. markinwestmich

    markinwestmich Active Member

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  8. Thank you! This is how it looks in my Word document, but I couldn't get it to look the same on this site... I guess I need to practice with the interface...

    Jan
     
  9. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    i wouldn't buy from park seed.

    i received moldy bulbs - they did replace them, still, only two (out of 6) of the replacements actually grew. the rose bush grew a bit and then didn't survive the first winter (which was fairly mild) and the seeds never sprouted.

    home depot and lowes i've had good and bad experience with. it really depends on the plant itself as well as how knowledgeable and experienced the employees are (ant that one is really hit or miss).
     
  10. markinwestmich

    markinwestmich Active Member

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    It is quite obvious that 99% of the people that get hired in at the local home improvement store garden center know very little about the plants they sell. In fact, don't even bother asking them,...and DGuertin is correct regarding when to shop. New shipments are usually in good shape, a week later, the plants are looking pretty shabby.

    The local nursery, though, you would have better luck interacting with someone who actually knows the difference between a root ball and a hair ball.
     
  11. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    oops!! had a typo in there that i didn't catch!!

    i've had better luck with employees at lowe's actually knowing something. home depot people seem to just be there taking space so they get a paycheck. which is a difference from a few years ago - the situations were reversed then!

    yes, the small nursery chain usually is better. especially if it's a family-run thing as they've got more to lose when it comes to years worth and mulitple generations worth of standing and reputation in the community - then tend to put more effort into things.
     
  12. edleigh7

    edleigh7 Well-Known Member

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    My 2 cents. The only reason I buy online is because it is something I can't get locally. Can't help with your nurseries as I am in Australia. : )

    Ed
     
  13. Aspasia

    Aspasia Member

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    I recently purchased a brugmansia on line. It was supposed to be shipped by Fedex(for which I paid!!) with 3 busi ness days. When it had not arrived after two weeks, we made enquiries and were told it had not been shipped yet, because of cold temperatured. When it finally arrived, it was about 3" tall, sick looking and had come out of the soild and contai ner during shipping. Despite desperatemeasures, it has not survived. This was my first experience with buying online, and only out of deperation, because I could not find any brugmansia on Vancouver island. It will be the last time! aspasia
     
  14. Buddleia

    Buddleia Active Member 10 Years

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    I have purchased online and have been initially skeptical upon receipt but everything grew. I suppose they have to ship small plants to keep the shipping prices down. But when you order you see those full grown plants and you kind of expect to get that even when you know better. I try to buy locally so I can see them for myself but if I am looking for a specific variety not found locally I would not hesitate to buy online again.
     
  15. SUNRIZE

    SUNRIZE Active Member

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    I wont be buying Orchid seedlings off of E-bay any more.. this is the last time they are going to just throw me any crappy thing they've got and send it by regular mail USPS not packaged well and takes days to get here... : (
     
  16. Goldylox

    Goldylox Member

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    Hello there,

    I have bought online, and will not do so again........ Not from any of the mentioned sites, but otherwise...... What I recieved were the root systems..... Arrrrrgggghhh, I know what they will look like eventually, however, I could/should have gotten them at my local nursery and planted a gorgeous plant instead.....
     

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