I think half the fun of plant shopping is walking around a nursery and falling in love with some new flower that you didn’t know existed.
Not only are you coming home with an extra plant you have to find a spot for, but you’re supporting local businesses in the process.
However, sometimes all the local places seem to be carrying the same plants and you just can’t find what you’re looking for.
That’s where the mail order nurseries come in handy.
But with all of the different plant varieties and beautiful pictures, the online choices can be overwhelming. How do you know what the best online nursery is?
Since I’ve been ordering plants online for a long time, I thought I would share my list of the best mail order nurseries that I’ve used.
1 | Home Depot
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Best online nursery for all types of perennials, bushes and trees
I can see you rolling your eyes now…Home Depot as one of the best online plant nurseries? Really??
But hear me out before you start thinking I’ve lost my mind.
Home Depot has a MUCH bigger selection of plants online than they carry in their stores.
Including many of the new 2024 perennials from Proven Winners and the Southern Living Plant Collection (yes, even the ones you can’t find anywhere else).
In addition to the perennials, you can buy pretty much any other kind of plant you can think of from their website — fruit trees, annuals, vegetables, roses, and seeds.
Any time I have ordered plants online from them, they arrive within a day or two, they’re very well packaged and in good condition.
And if you do have problems with them, you can take them back to any Home Depot store.
If you’re not sure exactly what plant you are looking for, their website has filters. These allow you to select what zone you live in as well as some plant characteristics like flower color, evergreen or deciduous leaves, “attracts butterflies” or “deer resistant”. Which makes finding something for your exact growing conditions much easier.
To get started, go to this page*, click on the circle for your gardening zone and go from there.
2 | Etsy
Best online selection of small- to medium-sized nurseries that carry specific plants.
I know. I know.
Etsy is another website that doesn’t immediately jump to mind when you think of online nurseries.
However, there are a lot of small- to medium-sized nurseries that sell their plants through Etsy.
And many of them have great quality plants (you can always tell by the reviews who they are).
Etsy doesn’t work so well if you’re not sure what you want.
But if you’re looking for a specific plant, just search for it by name and you’ll probably find someone who sells it.
Some of my favorites are:
- Rhododendrons Direct* – they have more varieties of Rhododendrons than I’ve ever seen!
- Daylily Nursery* – they don’t just sell daylilies…they also have a nice selection of other perennials. Some are sold in containers and others are bare root, so check the description to make sure you’re getting what you want.
- FCGardens* – sells a variety of seeds, bare-root plants and plants in containers.
3 | Nature Hills Nursery
Best nursery for finding plants by type
Nature Hills nursery sells all kinds of trees, shrubs and perennials that are really easy to find with the filters on their site.
You can choose zone, bloom color, growing conditions, bloom time, fall color, type of plant and other features that you’re looking for and they will show you which plants match your criteria.
So if you have a spot to fill but don’t know exactly what kind of plant you’re looking for, you can find some options to choose from very quickly.
They do tend to be more expensive than some of the other nurseries on this list. But their plants also tend to be larger so you get what you pay for.
4 | Planting Tree
Best online nursery for good quality landscaping trees and shrubs.
Planting Tree is a completely online garden center that has a great selection of landscaping trees and shrubs, along with a few perennials.
They are also more expensive than some of the other options on the list, but they ship everything in containers and have great quality plants.
You will also often get a choice of size and a volume discount. So you can save some money by picking smaller plants and buying a bunch at a time.
5 | Fast Growing Trees
Best online nursery for a big selection of trees
Fast Growing Trees is an online-only nursery that (as their name suggests) carries a wide selection of trees, including all kinds of evergreens, fruit trees and palm trees. As well as some shrubs and perennials.
They are based in South Carolina so they carry many warmer zone plants that Northern nurseries don’t.
One of our readers suggested that I try them for well-packaged plants that arrive quickly.
So I did. And they were right.
My order arrived in less than a week. And all of the plants were in containers with plastic bags to keep the soil in and then boxed to keep them from getting damaged during transit.
6 | Wayside Gardens
Best mail order nursery for perennials in warmer zones
Wayside Gardens is probably responsible for half the plants in my garden (and almost ALL of my 25+ Clematis varieties).
Mostly because they are based out of Hodges, SC which is about an hour drive from my house.
And they used to have an annual end-of-season plant sale where you could get some real deals! (They haven’t held it consistently for the last couple of years, but if you live in the area, check for it around the end of June).
However, they do most of their business as a mail-order nursery that sells perennials, trees and shrubs online.
Some are sold as bare-root plants and some ship in containers. Check the “Item Form” field at the top of the plant description to find out what type of plant your selection is.
Use their Solutions page (here) to find plants for different situations such as “year round interest”, “drought tolerant” or “privacy and screening”.
Note: Wayside Gardens owns Jackson & Perkins, so they also have a large selection of rose bushes available online.
7 | Great Garden Plants
Best online nursery for perennials in colder zones
Great Garden Plants is one of the best places to buy good quality perennials online, especially if you live in a Northern climate.
They are located in Michigan and carry lots of plants that are hardy all the way down to zone 2!
Like Home Depot, their website has a filter for zone which allows you to narrow the plant selections to only those that will grow in your area.
They ship large potted plants, have easy-to-find categories (on their top menu) for “sun” and “shade” perennials, and offer collections of plants that have been chosen for a purpose if you need help getting started.
The size of container is listed in the Ship Size field beside the picture so you know how large the plant you are buying will be when you get it.
8 | K. van Bourgondien Dutch Bulbs
Best online plant nursery for inexpensive bulbs
K. van Bourgondien Dutch Bulbs is part of an online plant nursery conglomerate that also owns Breck’s Bulbs*.
The main goal of these companies is the same: They sell inexpensive bulbs.
Which means they aren’t the biggest bulbs or the best quality. But you get a lot of them for your money.
If you’ve ever visited these sites, you’ll notice that the website layout is almost exactly the same. As is the selection of plants.
The one thing that can be different is what is currently on sale.
So if I find some bulbs I want to buy from them, I always check both of these nurseries (as well as the next one on the list) to see where I can get the best price.
Also, these online nurseries do sell other plants (like perennials and shrubs), but I usually stick to buying their specialty (bulbs) unless they are offering a really good deal that I just can’t pass up.
For example, if you’re on a budget, some of their plant collections (like this Hosta mix*) can be a really inexpensive way to get a new garden bed going. But the plants are usually pretty small and almost always shipped bare root so the survival rate is always that good.
9 | Spring Hill Nurseries
Best mail order plant nursery for inexpensive bare root perennials and shrubs
Spring Hill Nurseries is another one of the companies owned by that gardening conglomerate I mentioned above, along with their sister nursery, the Michigan Bulb Company* (I know it sounds like it should be a bulb company, but they actually have a larger selection of perennials).
They have the same priority as the nurseries above…to provide inexpensive plants. Except Spring Hill Nurseries is focused on selling perennials instead of bulbs.
Their perennials and shrubs are either shipped as small bare-root plants or in very small containers. So they need a lot of attention to make sure they grow after you have planted them.
Because when it comes to plants, you usually do get what you pay for.
As with the bulb companies I mentioned above, the one difference between Spring Hill Nurseries and the Michigan Bulb Company is what is currently on sale. So I always comparison shop between the companies to get the best price for what I want.
10 | Burpee
Best place to buy vegetable and plant seeds online
Burpee is a family-owned seed company based in Philadelphia that has been in operation since 1876.
They have a large selection of all kinds of seeds including annuals and perennials, but I usually order vegetable and herb seeds from them.
Their online catalog is huge with lots of Burpee exclusives, heirloom and organic seeds to choose from.
And a filter that lets you find them easily.
While they do also sell potted plants, I stick to buying their seeds since that’s what they are known for.
11 | Nearly Native Nursery
Best online nursery for hard-to-find native plants
The Nearly Native Nursery (as you may have guessed) specializes in native plants that are often hard to find in standard nurseries.
Their main business is their physical location in Fayetteville, GA. But they also offer their plants online.
The website is a little behind the times (you have to fill out a form to order), but if you are looking for native plants like ferns and palmetto palms, you can’t beat their selection or their prices.
Then fill out the online order form (found here) and fax it to them at the number listed on the form.
12 | Peony’s Envy
Best mail order nursery for peonies
If you’re looking for peonies, one of the best places to buy them online is Peony’s Envy.
They have hundreds of varieties including herbaceous peonies, Itoh peonies, tree peonies, and woodland peonies.
With many different colors, flower shapes and fragrances, there’s a much wider selection than you will find at other nurseries.
13 | Mendocino’s Maples
Best online nursery for Japanese Maple trees
Japanese maples are one of my favorite small trees for the shade garden. Partly because there are so many varieties with pretty leaves.
But trying to find different varieties can be hard.
So I was excited to find an online nursery (Mendocino Maples) that specializes in them.
They have many rare and unusual maple varieties and give you a choice of what size you want.
So you can decide how much you want to spend on the plants.
And they are very well packaged when they are shipped.
That’s it for my list of the best online nurseries. Now hopefully, you can find all the plants you are looking for!
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This post was originally published on April 7, 2020 but was updated with new content on February 16, 2024.