Anybody recommend a company to buy plants thru the mail?

ellenr22May 16, 2014

I MUST have a cherry rudbeckia and a red gaillardia.
I bought them from a nursery last year and this year they don't carry them. Because of the bitter winter we had, these did not survive. :(

My limited experience ordering plants has not been good.

appreciate any feed-back.

not the bare-root - the whole plant.


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Santa Rosa Gardens. Great service, good packing & decent price. I have ordered four times from them. D's Garden W.D. (other plant forum) rates them high.

I checked, they have Cherry Brandy Rudbeckia in stock. I saw three different red types of Gallardia. 'Gallo Fire' looked really nice. 'Arizona Red' was a bit pricier.

They put everything on sale at the end of the season & you can get some really good bargains. I've done that a couple times.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 6:27PM
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I'll second TexasRanger10's recommendation for Santa Rosa Gardens. My garden beds are pretty much full at this point and SRG played a major role in that effort. I've bought so many perennials from them that continue to thrive & perform, I couldn't begin to give them a higher recommendation. They offer a huge selection of perennials and their packaging is the best of any mail order nursery I've come across in the past decade.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 7:53PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Forest Farm. Not sure if they have what you're looking for, but I do recommend them. :0)

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 10:44PM
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thank you all.
I have made note.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 8:29AM
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woo-hoo. Just placed my order with Santa Rosa - and they had Cherry Brandy Rudbeckia for 6.99 as opposed to 11.95 at Bluestone.
a question- do you have any tips for me? As I said, I have not ordered a lot by mail, but a couple of years ago, I ordered blanket flower from Bluestone perennials - they did ok, but did not come back the next year. The company replaced them. Again they did not return. So I gave up on that.

I believe they are a reputable company. I'm wondering if I'm doing anything wrong. The plants came with instructions, and I followed the instructions as far as planting. I've been gardening for 12 years with great success, so not sure what lesson to draw here.

If anyone has any tips about succeeding with mail-order plants, I'd appreciate it. thanks.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 9:26AM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

I'm sure you gave them just the right care, but the two plants you selected both tend to be short lived perennials that sometimes bloom themselves to death. This year I don't think I have any survivors from my rudbeckias, but I see tons of seedlings coming up, and they'll all bloom nicely this summer into fall.
Btw I don't think cherry brandy will come back true to color from seed.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 11:46AM
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I've only ordered the native grasses from SRG but I found that the 4" sizes do 100% better than than the root bound gallon or larger sizes when it came to grasses-- I ordered a LOT of grasses. You feel like you are getting more for your money but in the long run, that wasn't true at all. The plants quickly out performed the large impressive looking ones I bought locally, rooting into the surrounding soil & growing faster into mature plants, perhaps the same thing will prove true for gallardia & rudbeckia.

I may place an order when they mark everything down to $2.99 or as low as $1.99. In your zone, this would probably be easier since we are very hot by the end of spring & its not a good time to plant. Watch for their sales, they have one in late spring & another in late fall. We do better planting in fall here.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 2:06PM
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Do a google search on "garden by mail ratings", and click on the first site that comes up (GW prevents direct linking to the site).

You can hardly go wrong ordering plants from any of that site's top 30 companies.

Both cherry rudbeckias and red gaillardias are easily (and rewardingly) raised from seed. You might be able to get both to flower yet this year, plus if mistakes are made (or the planting site is unsuitable) it's a lot cheaper to have made errors with seed-grown plants.

This post was edited by eric_oh on Sat, May 17, 14 at 15:30

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 3:27PM
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ellenr - neither my winter sown blanket flower nor rudbeckias came back this year which lends credence to kato_b's comments regarding their longevity. Swallowtail Garden Seeds actually lists rudbeckia on their annuals page. There are a few coming up here and there in my garden beds--self-sown & not where I planted them.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 5:11PM
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I highly recommend White Flower Farm in Connecticut and Jung Seed Company in Wisconsin. I'm old as dirt and have been ordering from them for many years.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 9:29PM
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For cost comparison purposes: White Flower Farm is currently offering "Cherry Brandy" Rudbeckia at nearly $9 per plant. You can get 50 seeds elsewhere for about $6.

WFF also lists two Gaillardia hybrids in stock, selling for $17.45 and $15.45 each. I'd think long and hard before shelling out that kind of cash for plants that might last just a season or two* (and I'd check out local nursery offerings first for better and cheaper stock).

*my seed-grown Gaillardia "Arizona Red Shades" plants lasted 1-2 years before disappearing. Nice, but I'm glad I didn't break the bank acquiring them.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 10:35AM
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White Flower Farm is not competitive in pricing at all. If price is no object, go with them -- they have nice plants. If you want a bargain and beautiful full plants, go with Santarosa Gardens.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 3:55PM
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thanks, great information!
I'm glad to learn that it probably is not my fault (or the company's) that my mail-order plants did not come back.

I do grow a lot from seed but did not sow these two, bec. I assumed I would find them at the nursery.

I have found rudbeckia re-seedings all over the place, I'm interested to see what they look like.

thanks again for your feed-back.


    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 7:26AM
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gringo(z8 VA)

I think Gaillardia is a prairie native. So if it were sown & grown in peat based growing medium, it's quite possible that it stays soggy wet in winter & therefore rots. If sown & grown in poor soils then it may last longer, in a raised bed position with full on sun, all day long. I would surmise, if you wee able to remove the peat moss by rinsing it off & using trashy soil it may last longer. but some hybrids may lose their natural vigor of longevity...
I've been a big fan of Jung for quality & value. f they had it but maybe do a search of suppliers, if any are still in stock...Bluestone. used to be a fairly good deal back when they did three packs... Now it's just one. Haven't tried Santa Rosa, but what I did want, no longer was listed last I looked. Streambanks was fairly nice order. As for seeds, maybe has it in stock? Or perhaps Stokes, Park, or Burpee, which by now are likely having end of season sales, with discounted prices or sometimes free shipping. I've given up entirely on Thompson & Morgan, since bought out by U.S conglomerate.
Good luck with trying out other ways to grow it, to see if it lasts in different areas of your garden. It often makes a big difference & if by seeds, then you have the option of planting in more sites to see where it may perform best.. Then you get a better idea of what it likes & not based upon exactly where you decided you wanted to plant it, in your scheme of design...

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 2:33AM
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gringo(z8 VA)

I had meant to include Rudbeckia 'Cherry... too. Well, it prefers sandy soils and can tolerate clay only if it doesn't get too much rainwater, when it should be on the dry side of the spectrum & too much rain + additional watering could do it in, especially if in peaty rich soils.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 2:41AM
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Sierra_Heather(7 ish)

I am a big fan of Annie's Annuals and Perennials. They have fantastic plants, ship them expertly and their website has a plethora of useful information.
Even if they don't offer what you are expressly looking for right now, they specialize in plants you just don't find everywhere, a lot of them being the tried and true older varieties that are never available in the "Big Box" stores.
My perennials purchased through Annie's have rarely failed to live up to their potential, and one can claim "pilot error" when they did fail... (I ignored something crucial)
Give Annie's a try!

Here is a link that might be useful: Annie's Annuals and Perennials

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 3:14AM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

I must say, I'm a fan of Jung's too. For years I had heard bad things about their plants, but decided to try them out last year when I was putting in a hedge. Their price on privet just couldn't be beat. When I received the shrubs, I was blown away by the quality and size. This year I ordered some more shrubs and a few delphiniums and again, was very, very impressed. I just wish they had a larger selection of perennials.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 1:42PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I have purchased at least six times from Santa Rosa Gardens and highly recommend them.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 1:44PM
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