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9 Tips for Placing Orders with Plants Mail Order Companies

Home & Garden
9 Tips for Placing Orders with Plants Mail Order Companies
  1. Remain calm and think clearly. Don’t become stupefied by dazzling catalogs and insane offers. It’s interesting that many mail order companies with mixed reviews on The Garden Watchdog are also companies with flashy incentives to place your order. Don’t let the razzle-dazzle fool you.
  2. Be wary of catalogs that portray flowers with sensational, hard-to-believe colors or monstrous blooms. Trust your gut. Then look into the company’s rating on The Garden Watchdog.
  3. Be alert to exaggeration and sneaky terminology. On a similar note, some catalog companies have remarkably talented wordsmiths who write plant descriptions. They can make a pile of poo seem like a gold mine. The more flowery adjectives I read, the more suspicious I get. I feel the same way about exclamation marks! And some are just off the map when it comes to listing hardiness zones. This irresponsible and confusing reporting can lead many gardeners, especially newbies, down the compost path.
  4. A downside: small pots. As mentioned earlier, most mail order plants come in small pots. Small pots mean small roots. Plants with smaller roots require more pampering than larger, more established root systems. Less mature plants require frequent watering and may need protection from harsh weather while getting established. Plants will also take longer to go into flower, maybe not until the second year, or even later. The financial savings associated with mail order are usually swapped for additional time, effort and patience on your part. I hate to sound too harsh, but time is money. You decide what you have more of.
  5. About delivery dates. Check to see if delivery dates are listed for your hardiness zone. If not, ask! Or better yet, specify a date (week) that you wish to receive the shipment so you are ready when the little (or big) brown box lands on your porch.
  6. Good deals. Usually there are discount or freebie incentives for volume orders or orders by a specified date. This can also include free shipping. Combining an order with friends increases the total sale and may qualify for some great deals.
  7. Guarantees. Take advantage of one-year guarantee policies. If you really want a plant that is borderline hardy in your area, then order it from a company that offers a minimum one-year guarantee. Now you can trial it risk free.
  8. Don’t get more than you asked for. Some mail order companies sell your contact information to other companies. Thankfully, due to spam regulations, they cannot do this without your permission. You need to find the teeny-weeny box buried in the order form and then check NO to stop them from selling your name. Use a magnifying glass. One company requires that you WRITE a letter and mail it to a P.O. box to request that your name not be shared.