10 Outstanding Mail-Order Nurseries to Try in 2019

Once the holidays are over, I begin thinking about new plants for the garden. Here are some of my favorite mail-order nurseries for perennials, trees and shrubs that you will want to peruse in 2019. Do you have other favorites? Please share them with others in the comments section!

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Peony’s Envy

Peony’s Envy is home to more than 700 varieties of tree, herbaceous, and intersectional peonies that enjoy cult status among aficionados. In addition to ordering online, you can visit Peony’s Envy from May to mid-June to see and smell the luscious blooms in person. The seven-acre production garden is also a beautiful display garden, with formal flower beds, stone walls, and meandering paths through the woodland. peonysenvy.com

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Avant Gardens

Avant Gardens has been known for over 25 years as a specialty nursery that offers rare and surprising perennials, trees, and shrubs. You will find a lilac here, but it will have golden foliage. The daphne will be only 12” high—perfect for a rock garden. The mimosa tree will have rich maroon foliage, and the bleeding heart will sport white flowers atop bright yellow leaves. Located in southern Massachusetts, Avant Gardens has some of the best unusual plants for New England gardens. avantgardensne.com

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Van Engelen

Located in Connecticut, Van Engelen offers a wide range of spring and summer-blooming bulbs at wholesale prices. What that means is that quantities begin at 25 of one bulb, and range up to 1000. The selection is excellent, with 28 varieties of alliums, Orienpet, Asiatic, Chinese Trumpet and naturalizing lilies, 15 varieties of fritillary, and much more. vanengelen.com

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RareFind Nursery

RareFind prides itself on selling plants that you cannot find in your local garden center. Special collections include witch hazels, azaleas, magnolias (including unusual yellow-flowered varieties), hydrangeas, and carnivorous and bog plants. rarefindnursery.com

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Logees

Logees specializes in tropical plants, citrus trees and unusual edibles, begonias, orchids and houseplants. If you are looking for Passion flowers, clivia, jasmine, or almost any other tender plant, you will enjoy browsing through Logees’ extensive website. logees.com

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Cricket Hill Garden

Cricket Hill Garden was one of the first nurseries to collect and propagate tree peonies imported from China. Their vast collection has grown to include herbaceous and Intersectional peonies, as well as unusual fruit trees and berries such as PawPaw, mulberry, medlar, elderberry, persimmon and more. treepeony.com

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Broken Arrow Nursery

Broken Arrow Nursery is widely acknowledged in gardening circles as a source for rare plants, particularly trees and shrubs. Owner Dick Jaynes is a world expert on Mountain Laurels, and you can purchase many of his hybrids as well as unusual firs, Japanese Maples, magnolias, and variegated and weeping varieties of virtually any tree or shrub. brokenarrownursery.com

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Forest Farm

Forest Farm has been collecting and propagating unusual plants for more than 40 years. They feature and astounding 146 varieties of maples, 23 varieties of oaks, 66 varieties of pines, 14 gingkoes, as well as bamboos, ferns, grasses and shrubs. Their website is highly informative with excellent search capabilities to help you find just the perfect plant for your space. forestfarm.com

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Plant Delights

Owner Tony Avent collects rare and unusual plants from all over the world during his frequent plant hunting expeditions and from other prominent collectors. He also conducts his own plant breeding programs with special focus on hostas, trilliums, cyclamen and other perennials. These plants are trialed for several years in the nursery’s field beds before they are introduced to the public. There are more than 1700 varieties available on the website. plantdelights.com

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Garden Vision

Garden Vision has specialized in epimediums since 1997, and offer more than 200 hybrids for sale. Like other plant species, epimediums have developed collector status, and Garden Vision is fondly referred to as the “Epi-Center of the Universe.” Most of the epimediums were collected or hybridized by plant hunter Darrell Probst. epimediums.com

10 Favorite Mail-Order Nurseries

February is a terrific time to choose new plants for the garden. Here are some of my favorite mail-order nurseries for perennials, trees and shrubs. Do you have other favorites? Please share them with others in the comments section!

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Bluestone Perennials

Bluestone Perennials was one of the first mail-order nurseries that I purchased perennials from when I began gardening. Most of those perennials -geraniums 'Wargrave Pink' and 'Johnson's Blue', lobelias and astilbes, to name a few, are still growing in my garden 20 years later. Bluestone carries a huge selection of perennials, as well as bulbs and shrubs, from reliable standbys to exciting new hybrids. If you need help with plant combinations, you can order pre-planned theme gardens, such as a Butterfly Garden, Cutting Garden or Lamp Post Garden. Robust plants are shipped in 3-1/2" x 4" plantable pots. The nursery has been family-owned and operated since 1972, and provides excellent customer service. Catalog available. bluestoneperennials.com

Brushwood Nursery

If you are looking for clematis or other climbers, Brushwood Nursery is an excellent source. Brushwood offers hundreds of clematis varieties as well as honeysuckles, trumpet vines, passion flowers, wisteria and jasmines. The informative website is a virtual encyclopedia of clematis - you will have a hard time narrowing down your choices! I was inspired to try clematis after hearing Cheryl Monroe's lecture, and she recommended Brushwood. Since then, I have ordered plants for myself and as gifts for friends, and they have all done beautifully. Owner Dan Long takes great care in selecting, growing and shipping healthy, vigorous plants. They now sell all the vines in one-gallon pots with free shipping. brushwoodnursery.com

Flowers by the Sea

I love the spiky form and delicate flowers of salvias, but you rarely find any varieties other than 'Caradonna' and 'May Knight' at local nurseries. Luckily, there is a California nursery called Flowers by the Sea, which specializes in beautiful salvias and has 52 varieties that are hardy to Zone 6. Last year I added salvias in periwinkle blue, soft pink, magenta and white to my perennial border and they bloomed until November! Plants are large and healthy and the website offers a wealth of information about growing salvias. If you sign up for their newsletter, you receive weekly Salvia deals. fbts.com

Santa Rosa Gardens

Santa Rosa Gardens offers an extensive selection of perennials with an emphasis on ornamental grasses - there are 182 varieties of grasses on offer! Most of the plants are sun lovers, and you will be pleased with the number of varieties to choose from - 13 types of agastache, 32 varieties of coreopsis, 14 Gaillardias, 44 Sedums, and more. In addition to standard 3-1/2" pots, you can also order perennials in flats of 72 if you are doing a mass planting. Santa Rosa Gardens is family-owned grower that has been in the horticulture business for four generations and offers excellent customer service.

Santa Rosa Gardens has also started a new subscription service called My Garden Box. The nursery assembles a custom crafted collection of plants and gardens goods that you can receive on a monthly basis or send as a gift. The plants are beautifully packaged and arrive as a lovely surprise.  santarosagardens.com

Pine Knot Farms

Hellebores have a special place in my heart, and there is no better place to look for new varieties than Pine Knot Farms. Judith and Dick Tyler have been breeding hellebores for more than 25 years, with stock plants from the UK, the Balkans, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. The couple authored a comprehensive book on Hellebores in 2006. I hope to visit their North Carolina nursery someday, but in the meantime, I try some of their new offerings every year. pineknotfarms.com

Palatine Roses

When I replanted my rose bed last year, I was determined to use hardy, disease-free roses. I ordered bare root rose bushes from several sources, and the best plants came from Palatine Roses in Ontario. The roses had well-developed root systems and strong canes, and flourished during the entire season with no signs of black spot or other diseases. I had blooms through November. Palatine has a minimum order of 3 roses, and the mail order deadline is March 15 for spring shipping. palatineroses.com

High Country Gardens

If you are looking to develop a drought-tolerant perennial garden, look for plants at Santa Fe's High Country Gardens. The nursery has been dedicated to improving the environment "one garden at a time", and has been a pioneer in the concept of xeriscaping - gardening with plants that need minimal water once established. Founder David Salman has introduced unique hybrids for water-wise gardens, and all plants are grown neonicotinoid-free. This nursery is a great source of sun lovers such as liatris, agastache, lavender, coreopsis, monarda and more! The site is also rich with plant description and gardening advice. highcountrygardens.com

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Geraniaceae Nursery

One of my earliest "favorite plants" were the hardy cranesbill geraniums for their long-lasting dainty blooms and ease of care. I recently discovered a book devoted to this family of plants written by Robin Parer which led me to her specialty nursery in Marin County, Cal. While local nurseries sell less then 5 varieties, Geraniaceae offers close to 170 hardy geraniums hybrids, as well as erodiums and pelargoniums. If you love this family of plants, there is no better source! geraniaceae.com

Mason Hollow Nursery

If you have a shady garden or just love to collect hostas, you will enjoy ordering from Mason Hollow Nursery in Mason, New Hampshire. Owners Sue and Chuck Anderson opened the nursery in 2001, and offer an impressive array of more than 800 hosta varieties, as well as ferns, epimediums and other perennials. Plants arrive with good sized root systems and are ready to be planted in the garden. You can also visit Mason Hollow and see their lovely display gardens. masonhollow.com

Lazy S's Farm Nursery

A family-owned nursery in Virginia, Lazy S's Farm offers a huge range of perennials as well as many hard-to-find hybrids of shrubs. Do you like callicarpa? You can find 13 varieties at Lazy S. All plants come in quart pots, so it is an inexpensive way to purchase an unusual shrub if you have the patience to grow it on for a few years before it makes a significant presence in the garden. When delivered, plants are healthy and vigorous and ready to take their place in the garden. lazyssfarm.com