Plant Nursery Listings

Mail ordering a plant from a nursery can actually be very worthwhile. Of course, getting a plant at a local nursery is preferable, because it will be less expensive and the plant will not experience the stress of being mailed. However, plants are often not available locally, especially exotic ones. Also, sometimes a plant will be available locally but is not the cultivar desired and maybe not even be a named variety at all. Experimenting with a mystery plant, especially with fruit trees, can mean years of wasted effort, so the best bet is to get a known variety from specialty nusery.

These days, there are many reputable online plant nurseries and they have also become very good at packing the plants for shipping. Most of them will also make a reasonable effort to refund you or send a replacement plant if something goes wrong. Regardless, keep in mind that mail ordering a plant is always a bit of a gamble, especially because no one can control the weather.

Here are some tips that will help one's mail order experience to be a good one.
  • Shop around
    Yes, this a bit of an obvious suggestion, but it is actually surprising how much plant prices can vary on the internet. Also, pay attention to the quality of the website, because it is an indication of how serious a nursery is about its mail order business. Read the refund policies and shipping policies to make sure you are ok with them.

  • Ship by air
    It costs more but being shipped by 2 day air makes it a lot less likely the plant will get cooked or frozen. Imagine the plant in the back of a truck rolling down the interstate for 4-7 days and its not hard to visualize all of the ways it can take a beating. On the other hand, the cargo areas of airplanes are temperature controlled, so the greatest risk to the plant will be in the final part of the delivery, in a van, on the way to your house, a much shorter time for things to go wrong. There is not much reason to pay extra for one day air.

  • Plant the plant immediately upon arrival but take precautions for direct sun
    This advice partly runs contrary to what many of the nurseries tell you in their instructions. Their advice is usually to put the plant in a pot the size of its rootball and put it in a shady spot to recover. Instead, I believe it is best to put the plant immediately in its permanent location whether it be a pot or the ground. The philosopy here being, that the fewer times you transplant it the better. Also, plants going into the ground will benefit from the more stable temperatures and moisture levels that the ground provides.

    Putting the plant in direct sun right away is a problem, because the plant will lack sufficient roots to keep itself hydrated and is also likely to be prone to sunburn. Plants are often sensitive to the sun because nurseries often grow the plants in filtered sun, such as under shadecloth or in greenhouses. If the plants permanent location is a high exposure area, create a shade structure and keep it in the shade until it is ready for more sun. New growth is the best indicator that the plant is growing new roots. Even if the plant is showing new growth do not remove the shade cloth for at least two weeks.

  • Do not fertilize the plant for a long time
    Nothing will kill a plant faster than fertilizing it when it is already stressed. Wait until the plant is showing strong growth and even then use a very small amount to see how it will react. Many plants, planted in the ground, need no fertilizer at all.

Below is a listing of online mail order nurseries that I have had good experiences with. Links to the websites are provided, along with a short description of the nursery.

Plant Nurseries That Ship Mail Orders To Arizona
Top Tropicals
Top Tropicals
Based In Florida, Top Tropicals Nursery has a huge selection of tropical plants including fruit trees, and seeds. They are able to ship almost anywhere in the country, unlike some of the other Florida mail order nurseries. Their plants usually arrive in great shape and are unusually large.
Rivers End
Rivers End Nursery and Farm
Down at the tip of Texas, Rivers End has a large selection and some very unusual plants. In fact, they are the only place I've seen selling trees in the Inga family (relatives of Pacay). They are not set up for automated internet orders but you can email them and then call to pay by phone.
Florida Colors
Florida Colors
The best nursery to buy plumerias that I know of. Plants are shipped either as cuttings or rooted cuttings. There are other plumeria mail order nurseries out there with comparable variety but the prices at Florida Colors are much more reasonable.
Rain Tree Nursery
Rain Tree Nursery
Based in Washington State, Raintree Nursery has a huge selection of deciduous fruit trees, and even some low chill varieties. They even refrigerate their trees to extend their bare root shipping season. Some exotic fruit varieties are also available, as well as ornamental plants. Trees arrive well packed and in good shape.
Logees
Logees
Based in Connecticut, Logees Nursery grows a large number of their plants in green houses. They have a huge variety of plants, and ship many of them in small containers. Plants are packed very carefully and generally arrive in great shape.
Forest Farm
Forest Farm
Based in Oregon, Forest Farm Nursery has an impressive selection of deciduous trees and pine trees plus many other plants. Plants are packed very carefully and generally arrive in great shape.
Old House Gardens
Old House Gardens
Based in Michigan, Old House Gardens Nursery sells bulbs and lots of them. Their site is a flower lovers playground.