If you thought gardening was just a phase of quarantine—like tie dye and sourdough starters—think again: The hobby is hotter than ever, with many growers and nurseries reporting demand up 200 percent this year. And it’s no wonder, because digging in the dirt is good for you both physically and mentally. Research has shown that being around plants is associated with improved mental health, better sleep, and boosting feelings of connection during times of social isolation. Plus, it’s just so satisfying to nurture your plants and watch them grow.
Whether you have a huge yard or a tiny balcony, you can grow both flowers and edibles. While the same-old, same-old online retailers may be your first thought for plant shopping, there are tons of other great options for buying seeds, healthy garden plants or seed-starting supplies. Growers and nurseries have developed methods for shipping live plants so that they’re sturdily packaged, arriving just in time for planting in your area. Plus, buying directly from the growers ensures you’re getting the best quality and specific varieties you may not be able to find at local nurseries. (Just make sure to order early, because there’s usually a limited number of plants; after all, growers can’t instantly “make more” if demand is high.)
One last bit of advice: Before you fall in love with a perennial, shrub or tree and buy it, make sure it’s suited to your USDA Hardiness zone (find yours here) so you know it will survive winters in your area. Also, read the description, so you give your plant the right lighting conditions: Full sun means six or more hours of direct sunlight per day, while part sun is about half that. Don’t try to cheat! Sun lovers get spindly in shade, while plants that need shade will fry in the hot sun.
Read on to find the best places to buy garden plants this year.
1. Bluestone Perennials
Whether you’re looking perennials, bulbs, grasses, groundcovers or flowering shrubs, this second-generation family nursery has a broad selection of old favorites and new varieties. The plants are excellent quality, and the planting and care notes are detailed and super helpful if you’re new to gardening.
2. Bonnie Plants
Shop from home for live vegetables and herbs, such as Beefsteak and Better Boy tomatoes, hot banana peppers, Black Beauty eggplant and herbs such as parsley, cilantro and dill. There’s selection of old favorites that are full of familiar flavors, and you definitely can plan and plant your entire veggie garden from this site for one-stop shopping.
3. The Burpee Company
This 143-year-old company has been a go-to for generations. They sell a wide selection of seeds and live plants, including herbs, veggies, perennials and flowers. They also have a selection of gardening supplies such as hand-forged tools, fertilizer and grow lights. The digital catalog will provide plenty of inspo, while the How-To articles and videos are helpful for beginners.
4. Eden Brothers
If you’re searching for heirloom flowers and vegetables, this site has hundreds and hundreds of varieties of hard-to-find seeds. They offer an astonishing number of more than 400 types of heirloom flower seeds, more than 600 types of vegetable seeds, and more than 600 types of bulbs and perennials. Chances are, if you want it, they have it when no one else will!
5. Garden Trends
Established in 1879, this company has been supporting gardeners for generations. The site offers vegetable and flower seeds, bulbs, and plants, as well as tools and indoor growing supplies. A section on container gardening suggests the best edibles for pots and raised beds.
5. Great Garden Plants
If you need perennials, roses, vines, shrubs and trees, this site has an outstanding selection. There’s detailed growing information on a site that’s as pretty as the plants. They’ll ship when it’s the right time to plant in your area, or you can select a later shipping date if you need time to prepare new planting beds or pots.
6. Home Depot
The place where you pick up light bulbs and furnace filters also is a great resource for ordering live plants! Their selection tends to be more limited than other online retailers, but they carry recognizable names such as Proven Winners at reasonable prices. But be aware they ship when you order; so, make sure it’s planting time in your neck of the woods or you’ll have to shelter your plants indoors before it’s warm enough to plant.
This site in a great source for large plants, such as shrubs and trees. Shop the online catalog, then order for delivery through a local garden center for pickup in a few weeks. Typically, you can’t buy annuals or some perennials online, but they will direct you to local nurseries, which you can contact about availability of a certain plant.
8. Park Seed
For more than 150 years, this company has been supplying gardeners with high-quality seeds. There’s a huge selection of vegetable, herb, and flower seeds, as well as bulbs, perennials, small shrubs and indoor growing supplies for seed-starting.
9. Proven Winners
You’ll find gorgeous annuals, perennials and shrubs that have been tried and tested across the country. Many varieties are reblooming and have improved heat and cold tolerance, so you’ll have success no matter where you live. Their recently introduced edibles line includes reliable and disease-resistant tomatoes, peppers, basil and strawberries. Regional recommendations, a large selection of maintenance and planting tips and gardening inspiration articles round out the site.
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