Tips on Gardening by Mail From Garden Catalogs, Mail Order or Order Online
A lot of gardeners are hesitant to order plants from catalogs or order online. This is because they want to see personally what they buy, they want to inspect the plants before buying which is reasonable enough. When buying from nurseries, garden clubs and plant stores, you can see and inspect the plants, you can also select the perfect time to purchase the plants in time for its perfect planting time. The down side of this is that often the choices are limited and most often than not, the choices are the same year after year. This is okay if you want to have the same kinds of plants every year. This is where buying plants from catalogs and online come in. Catalogs and online stores offer a wide variety of plants to choose from. Aside from this, they offer money-back guarantees. Very often these companies allow you to pick your own shipping date, which is great because you don’t want the plants to arrive weeks before the ideal planting time, or worse yet, during a time when you happen to be on vacation.
After you take the plunge of shopping by mail and you complete your order, save the catalog or print a copy of what you ordered. Not all companies send a catalog with your order and the information contained in them such as planting depth and spacing requirements is essential, especially if you are unfamiliar with some of the plants you ordered. When the plants will be delivered, open the boxes immediately and inspect each plant carefully. Don’t panic if the plants don’t look perky and perfect. Remember that they have been stuck on a truck for a few days and that’s just plain stressful. In the case of bare rootstock, don’t worry if what you get looks dead. The plant is merely dormant, and once it has been in the ground a while, it will bounce back beautifully.
Your plants, whether dormant or not, are carefully protected in a box or plastic wrapper or both and a moisture-protecting material such as sawdust or newspaper. Unless you’re prepared to plant right away, don’t remove this stuff. If it’s too cold or too wet to plant, put all the plants back in their original boxes and sealing the boxes well with tape. Store them in the garage where they should be fine for five to seven days. If the plants are tropical and destined for your patio, store those in the house.
When the weather improves and you are ready to plant, you have a few more choices. If your plants are well rooted, you can go ahead and plant right away. However, it is recommended that you do the planting late in the day or on a cloudy day so that the plants won’t be stressed out from too much exposure to the sun. You can get the plants a chance to get acclimated to the outdoors before putting them in the ground by removing the plants from their boxes and wrappers and placing them in a sheltered spot that gets only two or three hours of morning sun for up to a week. Water the plants regularly, often every day, during that critical period.
For bare-root plants, remove the packing and wrapping material from around the roots and immerse the roots in a bucket of water for a few hours or overnight. it will help rehydrate the plant and will enable it to get off to a good start once it goes into the ground. If you can’t plant your bare-root plants within a week, temporarily plant them in a shallow trench in a lightly shaded area. Place the plant in the trench, cover with soil, water well and apply a light layer of mulch. You can hold plants over like this for quite a while, but the sooner you give them a permanent spot in the garden, the lesser the chance of transplant shock. It is recommended that you get bare-root plants in the soil before hot temperatures arrive.