I Bought Houseplants Online in the Middle of Winter, Here’s How it Went

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During the winter I usually bring home quite a few random plants during my weekly shopping trips. Wegmans has a large assortment of small houseplants that are priced under $5, so it is really easy to just shop there whenever I want to add a little green to our long grey winter days.

But with the limited houseplant selection available at local stores, indulging in special varieties was almost impossible. Generally, I’d just wait until warmer weather, but I will be hosting a bridal shower at my house in a couple of months and I’ve been making some small decor changes and looking to add fresh new plants to adorn my house.

The Plants

Monstera deliciosa in a 6″ Pot

This plant was the reason I ever even considered ordering plant online. Monstera deliciosa is havng a moment right now. The Monstera is all over Instagram, it has gotten so popular that it even has its own Instagram hashtag and day of the week: #MonsteraMonday. It is featured in fashon, home decor, and branding, and it seems like everyone wants one in their space. After constantly seeing the pretty Monstera leaf almost everywhere it wasn’t long before I too wanted to add one to my houseplant collection. I checked out my local nurseries and hit the home improvement stores, and came up empty handed every time so I turned to the internet.

I am so pleased with this Monstera. A few hours after I had unpacked it and set it in a bright location and the leaves settled into a more natural position, I could not believe this plant was shipped to me in the dead of winter, there were no flaws, no broken leaves, and it was loaded with new growth. Over the course of the week, after I received this plant it had done nothing but flourish, I am a little obsessed it with it. I repotted it into a larger terra cotta pot, and have loved watching this plant unfurl new leaves almost daily.

Philodendron Deja Vu in a 6″ Pot

You know I love my Philodendron Hope, and when I saw Garden Goods Direct had an assortment of Philos listed on Etsy, I thought I’d grab a smaller Philo variety. Of all the plants in my shipment, my Philodendron Deja Vu had the hardest time during shipment, but the effects were so minimal after I snipped 4 leaves off, it was good as new!

This plant made a quick recovery and has thrived after being repotted, it was a little root bound.

Stromanthe Triostar in a 4″ Pot

I am not going to lie, this was an absolute impulse purchase thrown into my cart at the last minute. Had I actually taken the time to research it, I would of probably held off on ordering it until warmer weather. Stromanthe Triostar is probably best classified as an advanced level care plant, and definitely the most intolerant to cold weather of the bunch I ordered. She survived the journey beautifully, only one leaf broke off, and now that she is here I have loved watching this plant rearrange its pretty leaves daily , but she has also struggled the most.

Going from ideal greenhouse conditions to the cold dark time spent in shipping, to my woodstove dried air in the house has been a challenge for this plant. It spends a considerable amount of time in the bathroom, where it is warm and humid, but that room doesn’t get a lot of natural light so I have to move it back to a brighter location during the day. Basically, I am just trying to keep this plant alive right now, which probably also would have been the case if I picked it up from a local greenhouse.

Buying Plants During Winter, It’s All About Managing Expectations

I knew that I would likely receive plants with broken leaves, and at worst could receive a box of bruised and battered plants clinging to life from their time spent in shipment. And to be honest I kind of expected the worst case scenario. The handful of bad reviews of shipping gone wrong, and plants not making it had made a lasting impression, despite all the glowing positive reviews. The only way I would know for certain was by placing an order myself. The online seller I brought my plants had a rock-solid guarantee, so there was really no risk involved.

I knew before I hit the Place Order button there was a strong possibility I may have to nurse some plants back to optimum health, or might even have to request a refund, and was ok with that.

So when my order came in wonderful condition I couldn’t have been happier!

Tips for Ordering Houseplants Online During the Winter

  • Research Sellers I spend a lot of time reading customer reviews and find previous buyers are usually the best source on finding opinions on which companies really deliver on quality, price, and service.
  • Buy from a seller that is relatively close to you. The less time your plants spend in the hands of a shipping company the better. There are plenty of plant sellers on the West Coast, and in the southern states of Texas, Arizona and Utah on Etsy. To minimize time spent in shipping I only shopped sellers on the East Coast. My plants shipped from Maryland, and were only in transit 2 days.
  • Stick with the hardier houseplants for winter delivery. There are some truly tough houseplants that will easily withstand less than ideal conditions and neglect. Plants like Philodendrons, Dieffenbachia, ZZ Plant, and the Snake Plant are just a few houseplants that are tough as nails.
  • Buy a heating pad if optional– Some online sellers like The Sill include the price of a heating pad in the shipping and handling costs, and add it at their discretion. Other sellers, specifically on Etsy offer heat packs at an additional price, mine was $2. If you live in a colder climate and experiencing temps under 40 F add a heat pack!
  • Be sure to check the requirements for the plants you’re interested in and ensure that you have a suitable place for it before purchasing. Making my Stromanthe Triostar happy would have been much easier during warmer months, lesson learned.
  • Have realistic expectations of the size of the plant you will receive. Often sellers use pictures of mature plants, but the description will note a range of sizes it will be upon arrival (typically something small that’s easy to ship/deliver).

How are Plants Packed for Shipping During the Winter

Your plants should arrive packaged safely in boxes and individually wrapped to protect the foliage and keep the soil secure. They will either be potted, have wrapped-up soil, or be what’s called “bare root,” which means that your plant isn’t in a pot or much soil at all ( I personally avoid bare root plants). My plant pots were stapled directly to the box to prevent them from moving around during shipment, and the heat pack was taped to the box near the pots to keep the roots warm.

Buying Plants Online During Winter, Is it Worth It?

As I type this, it has been a little over a week and a half since I unpacked my shipment of houseplants, and without a doubt, I am happy with all my plants, they have all been lovely additions. I am even considering placing another order soon to grab a Philodendron Black Cardinal and ficus plant.

So yes, I do think if the long dark days of winter have you craving a little green and you are not finding the houseplants you want locally, ordering them online during the winter is worth a try!

I bought my plants from Garden Goods Direct. I picked this seller because of their somewhat close proximity to me (ie. they weren’t in California) and the ample amount of positive customer reviews.

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