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Shopping for plants online can be so easy. Still, there’s that chance for major fail. Perhaps, you’ve spent a Saturday morning carefully selecting plants and filling an online shopping cart to make the most of your bonus check. Then, disappointment comes when your package arrives. Inside the box, a cactus is dumped upside down, a few creeping crawlies have hitched a ride, or a variegated plant only has a smattering of white speckles. Jared and Liz Hughes hear horror stories all the time and have put together some shopping tips to bring you success with your online plant shopping.
#1 Find a Quality Online Plant Store
Yes, there are plenty of online stores with pretty plant pictures, but unfortunately product quality varies greatly. Some simply are marketing shells that resell plants and have no plant knowledge, while others, like Groovy Plants Ranch (GPR), are greenhouses with years of horticulture know-how. These greenhouses are more likely to keep plants happy, healthy and pest free until they get to the end consumer. They'll also likely share their knowledge with you which is crucial as it ensures that their consumers will understand the water and lighting needs that their plant will require prior to purchasing.
To sort out the pros, check a store’s experience often found in “About Us” and scroll through its Google reviews. Good reviews signify that other purchasers have been satisfied with the plants that they've received and that the shop is credible. GPR can’t help but brag – we have over 5,000 five-star Google reviews! Another clue to a store’s quality is its depth in plant variety. At GPR, we have hundreds of different plants including special shops dedicated to houseplants, succulents and air plants.
#2 Watch Out for the Bait-and-Switch Tactics
Some online plant retailers post hundreds of plant images even though they don’t have the plants in stock. They may ship much smaller plants than those in the images or even ship substitutes. Avoid hassles by checking the fine print on substitution policies and plant sizes. At GPR, we don't make substitutions. We’re plant lovers just like you and we would hate to have anything substituted on us.
#3 Know How Plants are Shipped
Quality retailers put the R&D into packaging and happily share those details – even videos about how their plants are shipped. The best ones meticulously package plants. First, they’re watered then hand-wrapped in paper and carefully inserted in an adequately sized box along with a heat pack for colder destinations. For shipping, the best ones use expedited shipping (3 days) and recommend an overnight option for premium plants (over $100).
#4 Take Care Upon Arrival
Once your order is placed, track shipping, so you can anticipate a plant’s arrival. With cold winter temperatures, you won’t want to leave plant packages sitting on the porch for long. Bring packages inside. Open them immediately; remove plants and carefully unwrap them. Water, if necessary, and place them in a sunny place. Plants should rally within 24 hours. If not, contact the store. Quality stores guarantee healthy plants upon arrival and want customers to be successful in caring for plants.