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Mail Order Plants

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Friday, December 14, 2018 - 7:00am

Mail order can get you ready for spring when the winter winds start blowing today on Southern Gardening. 

Many of us buy a wide variety of products via mail order, or more accurately from catalogs on-line.  So why not include plants and seeds?.  It is a way to locate hard to find varieties.  Here are some tips for buying seeds and plants online. 

Seeds are always a good place to start for many gardeners.  It is inspiring to read the descriptions on a cold and blustery day.  You can purchase single packets of a few seeds to large bulk quantities.  Many times small seed are pelleted which makes handling much easier. 

Many perennials are sold and shipped as bare root plants.  If you have never bought plants in this manner you might be concerned when opening the box, even an envelope.  The plants will look dead.  Bare root plants are shipped while dormant without any soil on the roots. 

Open the package and inspect the roots.  Healthy roots are firm and plump to the touch.  If any are dried and shriveled go ahead and prune until you get to healthy tissue.  Sometimes the roots can look a little moldy.  White and gray molds are generally fine, but anything with a blue tinge must be discarded.  Don’t put into the compost pile. 

Always keep your packing slip just in case.  Most reputable mail order companies have a generous replacement policy in the rare event a shipment is damaged or the plants don’t perform as promised. 

You may be hesitant to order via mail the first time, but once you get used to the available selection of those hard to plants you will look forward to the winter season.  I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening. 

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