Buying Perennials

Buying Perennials

Order Catalogs Starting Seeds Indoors

 

Perennials add beauty, permanence, and seasonal rhythm to any landscape, and fortunately, there's a perennial that's right for almost any environment.

Before you head to your local garden store or sit down with your nursery catalog, have a plan in mind. It's a good idea to sketch out your garden in advance to make sure you buy just the right number of plants. Make sure the plants you plan to buy are plants that will do well in your garden -- consider the amount of moisture and sunlight the plants will receive.

Starting your Perennials from Seed

Advantages:

  • Inexpensive -- a packet of perennial seeds often costs less than one single plant.
  • You'll have the widest possible variety of species and colors to choose from.

Disadvantages:

  • Some perennials take two to three years to reach blooming size.
  • Some perennials are difficult for all but the expert gardener to start successfully from seed.
Suggestions:
  • It may not be feasible to try starting your entire perennial garden from seed, but you may want to try adding a few new plants that you've started yourself. You'll find that you take great pride in the plants you've started yourself.
  • See Starting from Seeds for more information.

Ordering from Mail Order Nurseries

Advantages:

  • You'll find a much larger selection than that available from your local garden center.

Disadvantages:

  • Plants are usually smaller than those available locally, and may be slower to establish themselves because of the stress of shipping.
Suggestions:
  • Place a small first order from mail order nurseries to test the quality of their plants.
  • Order early for the best selection.
  • Don't worry about broken or bruised leaves -- healthy plants recover quickly.
  • Examine your plants immediately and contact the supplier right away if there is a problem. Most are reputable and will handle your complaints promptly.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Mail order nurseries often offer special collections that are excellent buys, but avoid those that are unbelievable.

Even if you don't plan to order from mail-order nurseries,
the catalogs they offer are a great source of inspiration
and information. Visit our Catalogs Department for
a huge of selection of catalogs. Most are free.

Buying From Your Local Garden Center

Advantages:

  • You can see what you're getting.
  • Plants will be larger and will establish themselves more quickly than those ordered by mail.

Disadvantage:

  • The selection won't be as good as what you'll find in a good nursery catalog.
Suggestions:
  • Shop in the spring when you'll find the best selection.
  • Avoid rootbound plants.
  • Check plants for insects.
  • If you can't plant immediately keep the containers in a shaded area and water often.

 

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