Sunday, December 30, 2007

Garden Showdown: Online vs. Locally Purchased Plants

It's been awhile since I've had anything to post on Green Thumb Sunday since it's winter and I live in Ohio. But this is a perfect time to take stock of how my new plants did in 2007 and to see how plants purchased from local nurseries compare to those purchased online.

Purchased online from Michigan Bulb Co.:

  • Canterbury Bells (Campanula) - $7.99 for three bareroot plants. One bloomed, then died.
  • Bellflower (Campanula glomerata) - $7.99 for three potted plants. Saw good growth on two plants, but no blooms.
  • Double Anemones (Anemone coronaria St. Brigid Group) - $5.99 for 40 bulbs. Planted in summer so too late to see anything this year. I just read that I should have pulled these bulbs up this fall for winter storage, so I don't have a lot of hope of seeing these next season.
  • Liatris (Liatris spicata 'Alba') - $5.99 for 20 white bulbs. Saw growth on 10-12 bulbs, but no blooms.
  • Mixed Lupines (Lupinus polyphyllus (Russell Hybrid)) -$7.99 for three bareroot plants. Two started to show growth then dried up and died. I never saw anything from the third.
  • Mini Hollyhocks (Sidalcea malviflora) - $7.99 for six potted plants. Saw growth on several; one tiny hollyhock bloomed.
  • Scabiosa (Scabiosa columbaria 'Butterfly Blue') - $5.99 for three potted plants. Some growth and profuse blooms.

Purchased from local nurseries:

  • Lavender - $0.99 for three cell-pack size plants. All three showed great growth, and two plants bloomed.
  • Coneflower - $0.99 for three cell-pack size plants. All three showed good growth and one bloomed just before killing frosts arrived.
  • Cosmos - approx. $3.18 for eight plants. Good growth and bloomed profusely.
  • Miss Kim Lilac, Dwarf - $10 for two plants. Little growth and few blooms. May not have watered enough.
  • Shasta Daisies - $0.99 for three cell-size plants. Good growth, but no blooms.
  • Strawberry Dianthus - $0.99 for three cell-size plants. Not a lot of growth, but blooms.
  • Veronica Speedwell - $0.99 for three cell-size plants. Great growth and bloomed profusely.
Now to be fair to Michigan Bulb Co., they have a policy of replacing plants. I haven't tried to contact them about replacing my plants because I think I may have had a hand in their deaths. We also had a very, very dry summer and I didn't always water as much as I should have.

After these results I plan to stock up at the local nurseries when they have great sales and save online plant ordering for rare plants I can't find anywhere else. Of course perhaps my winter sowing efforts will be so fantastic I won't need to buy any plants this Spring. Yeah, I'm not holding my breath on that one either.

Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday, visit As the Garden Grows for more information.

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