Out of The Box And Into the Yard – Mail Order Perennials

New little hydrangea plant
One of The Hydrangea Plants

I was impressed with the packaging of the perennials I had ordered from American Meadows, and even though they were a little droopy, they bounced back.

Both Hydrangeas are planted in the backyard where they will get sun and the forsythia is out front. Unfortunately we got a freak 2 feet of snow the end of October, so they hadn’t been in the ground for long before they were covered. One of the long stalks of the forsythia broke off so it’s pretty small now, and the hydrangeas are droopy and partially broken. (The photo was taken before the snow – which may seem obvious, but the snow has all melted now).

I ordered from an online store because I was anxious to get my gardening started here at my new place, but I have my doubts as to how well these plants will do once Spring arrives. And more importantly, how much will they grow. I will be saving up this winter to buy some local hydrangeas and probably more forsythia so we’ll see how much of a difference it makes as far as growth.

Got My New Little Mail Order Hydrangea Plants

mail order hydrangea plants
Mail Order Hydrangeas & Forsythia

I actually received these plants October 11th, but I’ve been busy with renovations to my house and didn’t have time to post.

I ordered two hydrangeas, a forsythia and some other perennials and bulbs from American Meadows (link on my sidebar) and the hydrangeas and forsythia came in pots wrapped in little cardboard boxes, which you can see in my photo here. I just took the boxes and “unwrapped” them from around the plant. It was a pretty cool way to ship them with little damage showing.

On the left, is the Limelight hydrangea which has greenish flowers. In the center is the “All Summer Beauty Hydrangea” which (as the tag says) is a hardier cousin to the Nikko Blue.

They were in pretty good shape and it rained for days after they arrived so I set them out on the deck to get watered and adjust to the outdoors during that time. Then I dug big holes and mixed in some Bonemeal with the dirt and watered them well. I planted the All Summer Beauty next to the porch steps and the Limelight at the side yard next to my new red, rhododendron.

All the plants are doing very well and I’ve finally finished planting all my tulip, daffodil and hyacinth bulbs.

Are you a mail order person or do you prefer to buy local – or maybe a bit of both.  I have written a page on Buying Perennials about my thoughts on this subject with pros and cons as I see them.

Expect to Pay A Bundle For Large (Older) Hydrangea Plants

Hydrangea
Image by winged photography via Flickr

I’ve found that online shipping services will ship small shrubs at a relatively cheap price.   But if you want a big plant, head to the bank because you will pay lots for larger hydrangea plants.

If you’ve never ordered perennials online, you might be very surprised at what arrives on the truck. Because of the stress on the plants during shipping, the plants will be mostly dormant and without flowers – some may be just roots and not potted. In fact they could look pretty dead to you, but don’t worry, if you follow the instructions included, they will perk up once they are in the ground where they should be happy.

I’ve ordered plants other than hydrangeas, so this will be my first try. I ordered an “All Summer Beauty” hydrangea from American Meadows who says that shipping will be the week of September 19th for my area. It’s costing me $9.98 and will come in a 4 inch pot. They say I will get an e-mail telling me when to expect it.

If you are looking for the chance to choose from a huge variety of hydrangeas to purchase, check out Hydrangeas Plus.  You can search by planting zone, size (age), container flowers, biggest blooms and other.  I’ve never bought anything from them, but it looks like a promising site.

They sell hydrangea plants as “1 Year” “2 Year” and “3 Year”. Their one year, All Summer Beauty was out of stock, so I couldn’t check the price, but some of their two year blues were “$18.95. the three year old plants in blue (that were available) were priced around $39.95. In their FAQ section they explain what the age difference means and what to expect from each. (Check out the timeline photos of mine below.)

April 2010 Photo

Here are the photos from 2010 and 2011 of a new little hydrangea that I propagated from a large shrub in the yard at my old rental place.
I don’t have a picture of when it was first planted in 2009, but I cut it from a large plant where it had rooted itself from a branch hanging near the ground.
These pictures show it’s growth in the first Spring (2010) up to this summer (2011) just before I moved out.

small hydrangea plant
Summer 2010 Photo

There were no blooms during it’s first year in the new spot near the steps. Only two long stalks developed and I suspect that the roots were getting established.

hydrangea shrub with blue flowers
July 2011 Photo

Then, this summer, lots of growth appeared and bunches of small, light blue flowers.

Read more about the new “baby” hydrangea that I grew at my old rental house.