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Directgardening.com Ordering Suggestions

Directgardening.com offers lots of inexpensive plants, trees and shrubs but many have doubts about the quality of their items. Before i get into that,  I should let readers know that I have ordered from Directgardening.com for 3 straight years now since discovering them and have had good success with 90% of the items I have ordered.  That being said, there are things to keep in mind before trying them out.

Why is it so cheap?

The reason why Directgardening.com is so inexpensive is because they offer bare root dormant plants.  This typically means that you will get something that resembles a “stick” with roots if its a tree/shrub or just the roots if it is a perennial.  They do have some “potted” items but most are quite young. What does all this mean? To put it simply, it means that if you go this route,  you will  need patience to see your plants thrive.   If you want instant gratification or if you need instant landscaping, then Directgardening.com is not for you. Also, do not go overboard on the plant buying.  I highly discourage you from going crazy and spending hundreds of dollars. I do, however, highly encourage you to place small orders in case you are not satisfied it will not be the end of the world. Also remember to keep the packaging in case something dies and you would like a replacement.

What types of Plants are Best?

From experience, I have found that woody type plants are the best to order from them. I have had great success with a variety of bushes and shrubs.   Interestingly enough, the shrubs I have bough from them have more than outperformed nursery shrubs costing many times more.  Bulb, tuber, rhizome type things have also performed great.  Roses also do great from them as well. As far as perennials go, i have had some ok success but no where near as much as shrubs. Definitely avoid anything that is the slightest bit fussy even under the best of circumstances. To summarize, I highly recommend trees (be aware that they will be small), shrubs, bulb/tuber/rhizome plants and roses. Avoid fussy or hard to care for plants.

I have checked places like Gardenwatchdog and have seen negative reviews, what gives?

My personal opinion based on some of the reviews is that a great deal of customers simply do not know that they are ordering bare root plants. They see the colorful catalog and think they will get exactly what’s pictured.  The fact is that all bare root nursery catalogs do the same thing.  Is it bad to order from places with these catalogs? Not at all, it would be pretty difficult to order from a catalog full of bareroot “sticks”!

Another common theme to many negative reviews is that people simply do not have enough patience. They plant their “stick” and expect it to do something overnight. The fact is that it can take 1 to 2 weeks for your “stick” to start showing signs of life. Once it does, you will be amazed at how fast it leafs out and grows!

Yet another common mistake is that many people simply buy way too much. They order hundreds of dollars worth of plants and don’t have a chance or the time to plant them right away. Their plants die and they say the plants were DOA. When planting bare root, it is important to plant as soon as possible or at least place the plant roots in some soil if you cannot plant them right away.  Based on the prices,  buying 300, 400, 500 dollars can mean hundreds of perennials/trees/shrubs to plant!

Finally, one of the biggest complaints I see are people complaining that their plants arrived too early or too late.  It’s is impossible for online nurseries to perfectly time their shipping to your local weather conditions.  The best time to order is mid to late spring. This way you have plenty of time to plant and avoid any late frosts that will kill your newly planted bare root plants.  Fall planting is a bit trickier so unless your weather is pretty predictable, I would avoid bareroot planting in the fall.


Directgardening.com can be a great place to get some excellent inexpensive plants provided you know what to expect and don’t mind waiting a bit longer to see them thrive. I have personally been ordering from them for the last 3 years and have never had a problem.  Some of the first ones I bought are now beautiful large plants and shrubs that would have cost 10 to 20 times more had I bought them from a regular nursery. Did I mention how rewarding it is to see that “stick” grow up to be a full and healthy plant?  Do some things die, sure. I have had expensive plants die from nurseries too. That’s just the nature of gardening.  So if you are on the fence as to whether to order from Directgardening.com or not, I highly recommend trying them out with a small order.  Remember these pointers and you will not be disappointed with the results.

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