This is Part 2 of a 3-part series on buying plants online and also selling the plants you grow online:
- Part 1 – How to Sell Plants Online
- Part 2 – [You Are Here] – Where to Buy Plants (at Rock-Bottom Prices) Online
- Part 3 – How to Get Paid to Sell Sticks (Yes… STICKS!!)
Hopefully this post will give you some informed information about buying plants online or through a mail order nursery.
Sorry, I had to include this photo of one of Ohio’s youngest nurseryman. This is our youngest grandson Gavin, and this little irishmen was 2-1/2 years old in this picture and he is a corker!
This topic of buying plants online is a “hot potato” and I’m asking for your input. I don’t want this to turn into a vendor bashing event and I really don’t want vendor’s mentioned here because that just opens this up to spam issues. What I really want to know is…
Have you purchased plants online?
Were you happy with the plants that you received?
We’re you happy with the customer service you received from the vendor? (please don’t mention the vendor, your post won’t be approved)
Where do you like to buy plants? Big box store, local garden center etc.?
People often ask where they can buy plants online and I am usually really reluctant to mention any vendors because I’ve heard way too many horror stories and I don’t buy from retail vendors who sell online or via mail order.
I’ve been in this business most of my life and at one time I worked for a local nursery that sold plants bare root.
We dug all of the plants in the fall, hauled them into the barns completely bare root, then when the digging was done we started sorting and grading the plants and tying them in bundles of 10 or 25 plants per bundle.
Once all of that was done we started shipping them out to wholesale customers. Some of the customers were re-wholesalers, some were garden centers, some were retail mail order plant sellers.
Digging plants bare root and selling them completely bare root, no soil or mulch covering the roots, is a common practice in the nursery industry and it is acceptable. Providing the plants are handled properly, cared for properly and always, always, always kept in a high humidity environment.
And there lies the problem. Bare root plants should be kept in an environment where the humidity is at a constant 90% or higher. That’s really difficult to do. Especially in a nursery barn or in the back of truck during transit.
Now keep in mind most bare root plants are shipped during the winter, mostly the end of the winter months, but none the less it’s cold outside when bare root plants are shipped.
That means that during transit, in the truck, the trucks have to be, or at least should be heated to keep the bare root plants from freezing.
If the truck is not heated the plants can freeze doing serious damage to their exposed roots.
If the truck is heated, chances are the heat is going to lower the humidity in the back of the truck because the truck driver is unlikely to find a garden hose and wet down the roots along the way because . . . he is a truck driver, not a gardener and not a nurseryman.
He or she has no clue how to care for plants. It’s not what they do.
Then of course once the plants arrive to their destination back into a barn they go, stored until they are sold again. Hopefully the person in charge of the plants in that barn knows how to properly care for them while they are in his/her custody.
Now, when buying plants online, you have no idea where those plants came from, who grew them, and whether or not they spent 6 days on the road as the country music song suggests.
You just don’t know.
So when you are looking for a place to buy plants online, I suggest that you first spend time reading the company’s web site. Look for a guarantee. Read that guarantee carefully.
As I mentioned I don’t buy plants online from nurseries that sell to retail buyers. I know the drill too well. If you’re a member of The Backyard Grower’s University, you know the companies I buy from the most (I reveal all of those sources to those members only).
You don’t get “rock-bottom” prices buying retail. You have to buy wholesale for the best price-breaks.
But I was once looking at such a site and I couldn’t believe what I was reading as I was reading their guarantee. As I recall is said something along the lines of “it’s not unsual to lose 30% of the plants that you buy”.
It really said that! I am not making this up! Whaaaaaaaaaaat?
When I buy plants I expect 100% of them to live. Do they? Not always, but if they don’t it’s probably because I did something wrong and killed them. Usually not paying as much attention to them as I should.
In other words I buy from growers who I expect to send me very healthy, well care for plants. I buy from wholesale suppliers and they know they can’t pull the wool over the eyes of other people in the industry.
I wish I could say the same for some of the online nurseries that sell to retail plant buyers because there are good growers out there who sell to the public. There are also some that give them a really bad way to go.
I do my absolute best not to buy plants that have been in bare root storage because I know it often sets them back. I like to get nursery stock that is fresh right out of the ground or pulled from it’s pot the day it went into the packing box.
Here’s the honest truth… in the past year alone, I’ve spent thousands of dollars buying plants from members of the Backyard Grower’s Business Center. Yes… members of my own site!
That’s what I created it for. I had a hard time finding the plants I needed and I noticed other growers had the same problem. So, I killed two birds with one stone (so to speak). Growers now have a place to sell their plants and a place to buy their plants.
But here’s the best part… inside the Business Center, there are no minimums. Typically, when you go to a wholesale grower, they’re going to require that you buy $500 worth or more of plants.
Not inside the Business Center. You can buy just 5 or 10 if you want. It all depends on the seller but most accept very low quantity orders like that.
I would like to invite you to become one of my Backyard Growers because people near you need a place where they can buy healthy, happy, well cared for plants and they will love you for it!
So that’s what I have to say about looking for a place to buy plants online. Pay more attention to their guarantee and their overall reputation than you do the pretty pictures.
Tell me about your experiences. Are they good or bad? Don’t bash vendor’s. That’s not the meaning of this post.
This is Part 2 of a 3-part series on buying plants online and also selling the plants you grow online:
- Part 1 – How to Sell Plants Online
- Part 2 – [You Are Here] – Where to Buy Plants (at Rock-Bottom Prices) Online
- Part 3 – How to Get Paid to Sell Sticks (Yes… STICKS!!)
Darrel R. says
I have had a not so good experience when purchasing plants online, but also some nurseries near my home were not so great either it just depends on the plants; mostly. I have had good experience and good results from big box hardware stores when it comes to plants even plants that were dying end of season plants I have bought and had good experience. I have also bought them through a catalog, these businesses have been in business for many many years I have had good experience with my purchases they have good guarantees with their plants
I have ordered bare root plants and potted plants from online nurseries. I was not very happy with some of my plants. Some of them were sent had leaves a few leaves on them. Some were dormant, some lived and some did not (about 30%). I am taking the $7 test drive now and will be joining in the next week or two. I have learned a lot just taking the test drive and I am sure there is so much more to learn.
Unfortunately some of the nurseries that sell online and mail order sell a pretty weak product. Others do a fantastic job. We have a system in our members area, http://backyardgrowers.com/join, making sure buyers have recourse if they are not happy.
Dave’s Garden online has a Garden Watchdog area that reviews (retail) online plant vendors, and which I’ve found very helpful. Some places were definite avoids, and some I hadn’t run across turned out to be great recommends. As someone too new to backyard growing to have a wholesale license, limited by a very low budget, and yet picky about exactly what stock plants I want to buy… I have had to search carefully to hopefully find the smallest quality stock plants I can, to keep shipping low, A little bit here and a little bit there is what I’ve ended up having to do, but a lot of places have been good about what they send to me. I do like the convenience of mail order!
By the way, thank you Mike for all the wonderfully instructive articles, videos, and encouragements you’ve made available online! I have found them most helpful, and am finally starting to feel empowered to make my Garden Home start to take shape. Thanks!
David Hay says
Mike, I have benefited greatly from all the years that I have been following you .I am now about to be able to start in earnest your nursery system as I hope to be retiring at 75( now 72) .
That’s awesome, hope to see you in the members area, even for the test drive.
Geraldine McIntyre says
I’m New to the backyard growers nursery,how do you started if you do bot have plants,rooted already??
These are the steps that I share with new members.
For years I’ve shared my “steps” with new people starting out. But recently I realized that my steps failed to address the addiction that tends to happen when people make too many trips to the buy/sell board and develop what they deem to be an “addiction”.
Thus, my revised, “12 Step Program to Getting Started in this Biz”.
These are the basic steps that I teach people just starting out.
Keep it simple, stick to the basics, this really is a very simple process.
1. Buy properly labeled stock plants. (Read my rant; For years and years and years this has been my rant;
2. Plant them in a bed so you can take cuttings from them.
3. Get a mist system. https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/mikes-plant-propagation-kit/
4. Take softwood cuttings in June, July, August and stick them in coarse sand under mist.
5. Start stock piling hardwood bark mulch for next years potting soil. Shredded bark mulch, not free wood chips from a tree trimmer.
6. Get more mulch, you’ll never have enough.
7. Get more mulch, you still don’t have enough.
8. Next spring pot up what you rooted.
9. Repeat one thru eight.
I’m a little slow, someone had to point out to me that you probably don’t need to repeat step 3.
Step 10? Buy more liners. Take all the cuttings you can from them.
Step 11? Pot up what you have, take more cuttings.
Step 12? Rehab. Rehab in Ohio, and it does vary from state to state to state, but keep in mind, it’s cold in Ohio so don’t procrastinate about entering rehab. It’s something you have to do and the sooner the better.
The ideal time to enter rehab in Ohio is about the third week of April and it continues up to and through Memorial Day. Of course rehab is a big, fat plant sale! People everywhere, loading wagons, throwing money at you, tell their friends about your nursery etc.
Usually all you need is about 4 weeks of rehab and you’ll be completely sold out with a big lump of cash in your hip pocket and will be desperately trying to get your hands on more plants. But you will be cured because by then you’ll know it wasn’t an addiction at all. It was a well laid business plan.
I live near Boston. I discovered that I have a love for gardening about 3-4 years ago. I was looking online to find other local
places to buy flowers. I haven’t found many, besides the large chain stores. I noticed in Ohio you have a few large online greenhouse companies and from what I just read above, you also have a lot of local small vendors. In Boston, you are not going to find people selling flowers from wagons or the like. The only flowers you will find being sold on the streets are old half-dead florist roses at lights on certain holidays. Hence, I tried a couple of online greenhouse companies. Both are pretty well known. I was happy with most of the plants I received. I lost one plant from a vendor in Ohio and they sent me two in place. I lost 3 from another vendor but didn’t know until spring that they didn’t make the winter. Per their policy, they should replace my plants. Also, I found when buying roses, it was better to opt for bare-root. You get a lot larger plant that seems to grow faster once it takes off. The roses I purchased in containers didn’t grow nearly as much as the bare-root roses. But I don’t know much. So, don’t take any advice of mine.
Sounds like you should be growing and selling in Boston!
I’ve had great success w/the SW online plants seller I chose, though the plants start off stubby, they’ve all grown well. I get desert varieties since I live in the Mohave. I use big-box stores too; they guarantee for one year; no problem returning, even when dry sticks are my own fault.
I love trees/bushes. I always check my favorites when I go into town; I live 10 miles from the nearest ‘small’ city of about 30K souls. I browse/take cuttings and mature seed pods. I keep expecting to get into trouble as I, at times, take cuttings – but only from overgrown ones that need a pruning anyhow.
Sometimes, of course, I don’t know plant’s names getting them this way N seeds can be hard to start–especially native plants; but, it’s fun trying. I’ve just learned to try starting in wet napkins. I had great success w/many tree seeds by bringing to a boil in microwave, then refrigerating for a time B4 planting.; other Xs I soak in peroxide or in water B4. I try all kinds of things on my seeds.
I’ll bejoining the BGC in October GW&TCDR. I’m so thankful that level of help is there! when I need it so.
Looking forward to seeing you as a member in October.
I have bought plants online from individuals, retail companies, and non-profits. I have also bought from Big box stores and local nurseries. If I am willing to spend the money to get a larger more fully grown plant/tree I will generally visit the local nursery to avoid shipping costs and do a close inspection of the botanical masterpiece that I am about to lay down hard earned cash for. The vast majority of time I buy plants online. I have had mostly good experiences but definitely some bad. I don’t really like the whole idea of bare root, but state laws and shipping costs make including soil difficult for sellers. I have had a few bare root plants that did not make it, and it may have been the humidity or temperature or my amateur gardening skills. However, I have had MANY instances where I received a bare root plant where the roots were so incredibly tiny and sparse that I was shocked the seller had the nerve to sell and ship it. You had to get within centimeters and stare real hard to see the roots barely coming out of the stick. I wish there was more of a universally legally accepted lightweight soilless mixture we could all agree to. If I was a plant I don’t think I would enjoy getting pulled out of soil, having my soil all washed off and tied up with other roots of other plants in a ‘who knows if I will live or die in transit?’ situation due to temperature and humidity issues. It’s been enough of a problem for me that I now buy a lot more seeds than plants. It’s generally cheaper and more fun as a grower. I’m not in a rush to get the biggest and most amount of plants in the shortest time because profit is not my primary motivation. I just love growing plants. Making money doing it is a bonus. 🙂
As you well know not all plants are shipped bare root, but bare root shipping is pretty standard in the industry and works perfectly well if a quality plant is shipped at the correct time of the year and packaged properly. In our members area, http://backyardgrowers.com/join, people buy and sell plants to and from one another all the time and with great success. But these plants are shipped fresh, not stored bare root for months prior to shipping which is often case in other situations.
I have bought plants online and have had success. These are usually small plants and they take about a year to catch up with some local suppliers. I find when buying inline I get a larger variety of plants so my garden is a little more unique. I have also purchased from home owners selling in my area when they are splitting up plants, which I find do very well as they are acclimatised. I also like to support my local nursery.
Michelle Franks says
I ALWAYS order plants online, and my mother always has too! We are in central Ohio and order from a nursery in southern Ohio who carry a one year warranty on all their plants and have STEALS of deals in early spring! They ship out barefoot at the optimum planting time for your zone. And I’ve never had a bad plant yet!
That’s awesome! There are some fantastic online sellers, then the are some that are just flat out, well you know.
What nursery do you order from
We buy and sell with our members. http://www.backyardgrowers.com/join
CARMEN SAMMARCO says
MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT BUY FROM WAYSIDE GARDENS. I PURCHASED BARE ROOT PLANTS, FOUR OF THEM, AND NOT ONE OF THEM CAME UP, AND WHEN I TRIED TO GET MY MONEY BACK……THEY WANTED PICTURES……….
What is the name of the nursery in southern Ohio?
I joined your Backyard growers in Dec. 2014. I have to say that all of the growers I’ve bought from have been conscientious and have packed the plants well, even when shipped during Summer. I’ve tried several online nurseries and have only found one that sent healthy plants.
Local nurseries are more expensive and not always properly labeled.
There is no guarantee that plants bought on the Backyard Grow Board are properly labeled but chances are 90% better that others that I’ve tried. One online nursery I ordered from did not send even one plant that matched the description out of 25.
My suggestion is: If you plan on selling plants, by all means join Mike,s Backyard Growers Group.
Correction I joined in 2013
It’s a little late to just now order plants, I suppose but I’m looking for a nursery that will deliver to S.E Alaska and hopefully will have some plants that will thrive here. This island had a nursery but it has gone out of business, so I’m left with limited choices. Our local building supply has a greenhouse but not a lot of plants….and our grocery store has a few annuals and hanging baskets.
Anyway, I’m looking for shrubs, maybe apple trees or berry bushes and hoping to find a tree that has color in the Fall. There is not much Autumn here…..a few oranges, yellows and browns. I’m used to N.H. Weather here in S.E is much milder then the Eastern coast States. We just get more rain…..usually.
Anyway, I’m going to look at your latest video. Maybe I”ll find some leads too.
More Power To YOU!!
Thanks Kath! Good luck on the plants for Alaska search. At one time we had a couple of backyard growers in Alaska.
Not interested in starting a business. Just retired and to old for that.
I would only like to purchase some good ground cover plants to go on a hill in my back yard. Can’t get anything to grow there. Mostly shaded.
Would like to purchase some good plants. I like all kinds of lilies with all kinds of colors. Lilies that will come back every year.
Nuella Luther says
I am curious, what State are you in and have you found a ground cover that works yet? Here in Georgia I have a lovely variegated hardy runner.
jack fisher says
looking to start a farmers market, looking for product. thanks!
I just bought a pear tree from garden bargains.com and the top leaves of the tree are brown, now they say the trees are guaranteed for a year so if they haven’t grown by then I can expect my money back. I also bought a 5 year mature Navel orange tree which should have come in a 10lt pot, but they sent me one in a 3 litre pot and it didn’t look 5 years matured. They apologised and are sending the correct tree. Being in the UK I like the idea of having our own orange tree, grown in a big pot. But after the state of the pear tree I am not holding my breath. Any tips for the trees to survive in pots here in the UK where weather is unpredictable? – ps. Well done on the weight loss.
Thanks for noticing the weight loss. So far so good. The secret to trees in pots is soil that drains well but then you have to water well daily. They’ll also need a recommended fertilizer since the soil in the container will use up all it’s nutrition quickly. Not sure about where you live but if you get hard freezing weather you should really bury or heel in the pots for the winter. Also, over the winter, don’t forget to water.
As with most others, I’ve had both good and bad experiences. I shop from local nurseries online. I live in Vermont and many local nurseries are sold out by the time plants are available at the nursery, so pre-ordering online is the best way to go.
Right now I’m looking for Goji Berry plants but am not finding on local nursery websites so I’ll have to find somplace new. The larger nursery websites offer the berry but information on the mature size of the plant, best soil conditions and such vary a great deal from nursery to nursery. Wish me luck!
I am looking for a supplier for blackberries
I am new to your website but love it and your easy going, natural approach to presentations. I have a mixed experience. I buy from big box, small greenhouses, raise my own plants and work at a greenhouse that specializes in natives and low water use plants. About online orders: I have had great luck and awful luck. Some companies send their plants in packaging that protects and cushions their merchandise. Some sling their stock into plastic bags, send in 90+ heat and what I receive is dry, dead and cooked. But, locally I can get good plants – some brought in from who knows where, some locally grown (not only from the greenhoue where I work, but there are a couple others here too). Lots of cuttings and seed grown things done locally. My preference – locally grown over any ordered, no matter how it is packaged and sent. My motto when dealing online – expect the worst and you might be surprised. Otherwide – you will be disappointed.
No.I don’t ever purchase plants online I always get them from my local garden centers and they usually look great.
Ruth O Moore says
I ordered yrs ago online but was very dissapointed with the twigs i recieved. Never tried it again since but thanks to you and the info you share, I think i may try again. I started following you about a year ago when I acciddently found you on the internet. I started growing plants and had some pretty darn nice looking ones if i have to say lol. That is until the end of Aug. this yr. when hurricane isaac came roaring in on us and dumped so much rain on us, then moved straight north dumping the same amount of rain. When the winds died down i made the mistake of telling my husband that it was all uphill from here. Big mistake!!! Well guess what happened next. We heard on the news that the Percy Quinne Damn north of us was about to break and we had 90 min. To leave. We left, we flooded, we returned to a hugh mess but we survived. Thank the Good Lord above for that. Everthing looked pretty good at first until about a week after, then slowly but surely no matter what i did everything started dieing, even all the grass in my yard. I have 2 sago palms that survived. How did those 2 live when they where under the same water for the same amount of time as everything else is beyond me. Anyway with this knowledge i can now go online and search for a new start! Thanks for sharing all your knowledge!!! May God Bess You for all your kindness to so many!!!
Donna lee says
Blessings Mike to you & your wonderful family!!!! I’m trying to encourage many to get involved in membership with you but (you know the drill- they want information without taking the responsibilty & want to keep wasting ones time. However, thank you for all you do. I remember your grandson shortly after he was born,in the pictures you shared! You are a BLESSED MAN-THE LEGAGECY you are establishing is making room for such a MAGNIFICANT UNFOLDMENT!Give your wonderful wife a kiss for being your HELPMEET !!Stay in couraged- Donna lee
Ranga Nathan says
Mike, I enjoy your articles and videos. I want to start a backyard nursery and sell over the internet. A friend tells me that I can not transport plants across state lines. Can you guide me as to where to find information on this? I also have some moringa trees from which I want to sell the leaves and the pods.
You can transport plants across the state lines but there are guidlines etc. you must meet. I give you all of these details in my system. http://freeplants.com/wanted.htm
Bennie Shifflett says
How do I know I will get a full refund???
Frankie Mullin says
I have purchased plants online and from catalogs but have always been disappointed with what I received for my hard earned money. When I called or wrote to them they had dozens of excuses and would not back up their guarantees. Sorry you don’t want names mentioned because these people need to be put out of business. They don’t even grow the plants they sell and of course when I received the “plants” they were dead twigs and never eve showed any signs of new growth. Oh and the best part is that they asked me to return the plants to get a refund. Talk about good customer service.!!! I will never buy from ANY mailorder catalog, printed or online again. I am going to try your Backyard Growing System myself. Have a blessed day. God have favored your undertakings. Frankie
Hi Mike, I usually buy from a small nursery even though their plants are a little more expensive but their plants look so much healthier and their professional plant specialists is always right there to answer any questions. The big box place never takes good care of their plants they seem to always be on the verge of death and you will wait at least 20 minutes for someone to locate the professional nursery person. I have also ordered plants on line and have been very pleased with my orders. Several items were bare root but they were packed carefully w/moist dirt in a plastic bag to stay moist. The small tree grew w/n 2 yrs as they said it would and it looks beautiful. The only problem was; as it bloomed I realized that the tree was not the same tree I ordered. I recently locted my receipt to see what can be done if anything. I do read the fine print and the guarantee’s. I also bought seeds from one of the on line retailer and I had never grew plants from seeds but they grew beautifully. I would definitely buy on line again.
Tammy, I’m glad to hear that! Not everybody has such positive experiences.
I got a bonsai grape vine plant. It grows new leaves for a while then the leaves fall off. It has done this twice. Am I watering too often, or not enough?
Thanks for any info you can give me.
Hi Mike. That’s a good looking grandson you got there. I live in Zone 7 (upstate SC) and have a small greenhouse 10×20. I also have some raised bed areas. I would like tou se a large portion of them to grow some Japanese Maples. I understand your aversion to posting links. The web is a wonderful and horrible place to do business, If you have a moment, could you send me the link to the company you used to purchase the maples in your video. the pre root balled trees are so much easier to work with. They say if you want to succeed, you need to emulate someone who is succeeding. WWMD. (What Would Mike Do?) Have a great day and thanks for all the tips.
So where do we order from then?
What I want to do is plant these red maples in my yard to encircle a place for me to paint, read or what ever, like a sanctuary, with an arch with climbing roses. Can you just sell me some small ones and when I can plant?
Vicky, At this time I am not shipping any plants. I’m just not set up for it and I really can’t spare any of the trees that I just bought. I won’t have any problem at all selling them when I’m ready. See if we have any members near you that have an ad on my site.
John Hurley says
Hi Mike: You can remove the website as I am not the gardener there anymore. Back problems and my wife has altzimer so I am the care giver full time. I had purchased tapes from you before but not signed up for the growers board. I would like to purchase some plants from you and I enjoy your postings, however I am short on cash and cannot afford to do it at this tme. Is there someway around to buy plants. You mentioned in your e-mail to me that there are people in my area who would like to buy from me. Help me
I am looking for a plant that my mother used to grow in South Carolina years ago. She called it vine okra. It was the color and size of Zuccine Squash, but had spines running down the length of it. To eat you cut off the spines and fry up like regular okra. Do you have any idea where I could get seeds for this plant or what it is really called?
Bonnie Lenhart says
I haven’t had good luck with buying mail order. Usually what I’ve purchased doesn’t make it through the winter. The pictures are always bigger than what is received. A good selling tool, but bad for the buyer.
I’d like to try some of your Japanese red maples. Please let me know if you will sell a few. Just for my personal use. I am not young enough to be starting a business, but I still enjoy my gardening when I can. Please let me know. Bonnie
Donna Thomas says
I have not personally ordered plants, but I worked at a retail nursery that ordered bareroot plants and I did the potting of those plants. Nearly everything we got was in good shape and grew well after planting, but we ordered mainly from large wholesale nurseries. I would like to support small business, but also want to be sure i’m getting good quality.
I recently purchased your system and I want to start ordering plants soon, but I am still reviewing all the info. I have been wondering if it is possible to get mature plants, (a little bigger than liners) bareroot?
I plan to ck with the other backyard growers. Thanks for all the great info you send us, it is very helpful.
Your grandson is precious! And I’m sure gardening will be in his blood. I always enjoy your newsletter and apprecite all you share.
Todd Lohnes says
Oh yeah! The 2 year old is a natural Mike! He is already to show his talent in Hollywood.
OMG he is so cute I just became a grandma and I’m loving every minute. Your grandson is really cute I bet he’s going to be a big help in the garden.
Todd Lohnes says
Hi Mike! I know you have a lot on your mind and I do not know if you will get a chance to read this or not, but I spoke with you several years ago and you were very kind and informative given my situation.
I am the guy who had that accident in the woods when the tree came back over and fell on top of me, leaving me paralyzed from the chest down and a moderate brain injury. Thanks for all of your help Mike and I did learn a lot about plant propagation, but because of my isolation due to my injuries, it was difficult to sell the plants below my house and make any legitimate income, especially since I did not have many plants to sell. I do live in quite a rural area, but it is a very good location if I could expand the business a bit and if word would spread a bit. I would have to become an official business however, before I could attract the proper clientele. I have not done anything in the recent future because chronic pain plays quite a role in my life for fourteen years or so. I have not even done any painting in years either nor have not even written a book yet. I wish that I knew so much more about your life as I am sure that would be a best seller! Bye for now Mike,
Todd, plants may or may not be the best thing for you to do to earn extra income, depending on how much you can do. But I assure you, there is something you can do. If you can grow small plants in pots, there is a market for them. You just have to get the word out and let people know what you have for sale. There always seems to be a market for flowering shrubs. Of course my products contain a wealth of information about how to do all of that. The book that I now sell is hot off the press, I just wrote it this summer. Lots of updated info.
Judy Johnson says
Love the pic!!!!
I have bought plants online/catalogue retail and have had mixed results;. Generally, I find, you get what you pay for.
I live in a heavily developed suburban area, but am lucky in that the last working farm in my county (a nursery) is just a mile away. I get nice plants for a fair price there. If I need a lot of bedding plants (when I was a novice gardener, I used to put in 15-17 flats of annuals each year), I drive 1.5 hours west to a nursery that does cash/carry wholesale to retail customers (for about a 30% discount of big box store prices and 1/2 what the local farmer charges.
For specialty items (fruit trees and shrubs, rare or new perennials) I stick with the local farm (he’ll even special order stuff for me) and a somewhat pricier local nursery that carries newer releases. (I usually buy from the latter around now, when they heavily discount perennials to clear out inventory for the winter).
In fact, its time for me to visit both places this weekend!
I divide the heck out of anything I buy before it goes in the ground.
Thank you for sharing your experience, that’s what I wanted to hear.
doug walker says
Mike I have been reading your information for years,,I would like to buy some red maples I live in Texas and have a big green house,,When should I buy now or in the spring>>> Thx Doug Walker
Doug, Japanese maples need to go dormant so no matter when you buy them you really don’t want them in your greenhouse. I like fall buying, but in your zone spring buyng will work better for you than it does me. We have too many late freezes in the spring and most of the Japanese maplet hat I buy come from the west coast and are leafed out in the spring. I actually buy now, or have dormant plants shipped in February. In Texas I suggest shading those young plants for the first growing season.
I was recently given a link to one of your articles and have really enjoyed reading all the articles on your site and newsletters!
I was wondering whether your book or other paid info packages include good sources for inexpensive Japanese Maples **in Canada**. I’ve done a fair bit of “googling” and can’t find any yet. It must be hard (red tape) and expensive to ship here from the US, right?
Thanks for any help.
Natalia, I do have some Canadian sources that I share with my customers. But more importantly I need people in Canada to start growing all kinds of plants and offering them for sale to our Canadian members. I get this request a lot, and you are right, shipping plants across the border is not something that most growers will do because of the extra inspections.
We have members that sell to other members, but I really need more growers in Canada to step up and meet this demand.
Steve Rothrock says
Call this a dreadful learning experience. Last year I ordered in over $1,000.00 of plants from on-line sources. Those offering a catalog and giving me the opportunity to dream of expanding my stock plants thus also my nursery selection.
I was very careful to examine their guarantee and comments of their business. The one big thing I did not consider was where their plants came from. I figured they would assume responsibility for where they bought their stock.
The results of my efforts was to say the least disappointing. I lost over 95% even though I followed acceptable techniques. What was also disappointing was when I contacted the companies to request replacements all but one made it just too difficult to comply. I had 25 out of 30 fruit trees fail. The company replaced them for half price and shipped replacements. Out of the replacements one tree survived. I’m not buying on-line from nursery brokers again. I’ll buy locally or since I’m a member of the board I’ll buy from board members. The prices are fair even including shipping and I’ve had a very high success rate from plants bought from Board Nurseries.
This is a great topic and I’ll follow with interest to see how other folks have faired buying on-line.
I appreciate your input and I’m sorry you had bad experiences. That’s why I brought this up because I’ve heard the same thing over and over and over. As you learned, when you buy from a small grower who actually cares about the plants that they grow and the customers that they sell them to. It makes all the difference in the world when you buy from somebody that actually cares.
Margret Hauksdóttir says
I don´t know if you have noticed it, but I live in Reykjavík,Iceland, the small island up there, east of Greenland.
I love your articles and videos and you have taught me a lot. It is not allowed to import rooted plants from abroad to Iceland unless you have a health certificate which it seems if very expensive unless you buy a lot each time.
I have a few hectares of land in the countryside where I grow trees and I have ordered small seedlings that have been sent across the country in the mail with very good results. I have also grown my own trees from seed or cuttings, but never sold any.
I am close to retirement and sometimes i think it would be nice to be able to make a little money selling plants, but I think I would have to grow them all from seed or cuttings which would be a lot of work, – but growing things is one of my passions.
Mike, I hope I will keep receiving your posts, they are such an inspiration.
diana brabeck says
Magga, my name is Diana and my Mother is from Iceland!!!! I still have an Uncle who lives there!!! I would absolutely love to correspond with you!!! Please send me an email!!….looking forward to your response!!
Therese Procter says
I buy plants from local growers and have had good luck with them. I did buy seeds online from one of the more popular nurseries., but haven’t used them yet.
My neighbor, and I decided that we wanted to plant colorful leafed trees in our respective yards. An acquaintance of my neighbor told him about this place online that sells trees, and plants. We ordered a few tress of three different varieties. When we received these trees I noticed that they were dry twigs. These supposed trees’ roots were not in packets of soil or pots, they had been simply placed in a box. These twigs were approximately 18″ to 24″ in length. My neighbor’s friend told him to place them in pots with store bought soil, and that these will grow. These twigs never grew, and it was a great waste of our time, and money. Never again.
Alamody, the shameful thing is that there are online and mail order plant nurseries that do an incedible job. But others, not so much.
Same thing happened to me…I thought I found a a deal $1.50 for supposed to be 3ft trees, they were dry twigs, I soaked them then potted and took care of them but got nothing.
I had the same experience. I like mail order, but not sure I will do it again. I have also purchased seeds where some didn’t grow. I am in Zone 3 and my area gets a short summer and Chinook winds in winter (which can dry out bushes & even trees if not properly prepared).
Arthur Weiler says
I buy oplants online all the time with great success. I look for small family operations who guarantee their plants, dig them fresh when they’re ordered, and communicate well with their customers (I read reviews on them before I buy.) I avoid mail order nurseries with a few exceptions. It’s too bad you don’t want names mentioned because there are a few who are running businesses that should be examples to anyone who wants to go into the business–they’re great!
Arthur, you’re a smart buyer and you are doing it exactly right. Believe it or not, if I were to allow people to post names of companies this posted would get spammed off the map. That’s the reality of the internet.
Dear mr Arthur. I happend to see your experenince with Mr. Mikle in his blog.Shall appreciate if you could mail me few retailers of plants of vrious variety from where you buy online. I am in UAE and looking forward to buy few line of plants.
Please advice. Thanks and regads
Could you please send me the information on where you buy your plants online.
I have tried a few places and have not had the success I was hoping for.
Debbie, check with our Backyard Growers. I love to promote them. https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/category/backyard-nurseries/#
Can you supply name of where you order plants. I am interested in camellias.
Celeste, all of my sources are wholesale growers and they won’t sell to you unless you are a member of the trade. When you get my system, http://freeplants.com/wanted.htm, I tell you exactly how to order from these deeply discounted nurseries so they will sell to you.