Where to Buy and Find Indoor Houseplants

Buying Houseplants Tips

You can buy and find houseplants for sale from a good many places these days, there are positive and negatives to each which we will explore in the sections below. You can buy house plants online or in shopsFirst we want to give you a few plant buying tips; such as what to look out for, what to avoid and why spontaneity isn't always the best approach when it comes to plant purchasing.

  • Inspect it. Look for problems before buying, if badly damaged or infested with bugs pick another. Check the soil too, it should look like soil and smell neutral, if it looks disgusting or has a rotten foul smell to it, again pick another.
  • Take care when you buy in Winter. If you are buying something online you don't know how the delivery company are going to store the plant over night and a cold spell or frost could be disastrous. Equally lf you are picking it up from a store be careful not to stay outdoors for long.
  • A true "bargain" is rare. In most cases the price has been reduced because something is wrong with it. Unless you are confident dealing with sick plants, in general it is probably best to give it a miss. If you're happy to gamble, a very cheap sick plant is sometimes still worth a punt though - Be brave!
  • Although bargains are unusual, you can get lucky. Plants are funny things to look at sometimes and inexperienced retail staff might discount drastically with a sale sticker thinking it's on the way out when all it actually needs is a good watering. Other times the staff think because the blooms are fading it's another sign the plant is going south. Flowers do not last forever, but with patience and correct care they will probably come back again.
  • Don't buy a plant because "it looks nice"... when you know you won't be able to give it the correct growing conditions in your home. It won't look nice for long if you do!
  • Don't buy a plant just because it has a fantastic container. We have seen some awfully designed pots, no drainage holes, crazy shapes, full of different types all with different needs etc. The plant is the point, the container is the dressing.
  • Ask for help. If you aren't sure about something or you need help it's worth asking a nearby staff member. The knowledge is often there you just need to access it. Obviously if you're shown a Peace Lily when you've asked to see an Aloe Vera smile politely and back away slowly.
  • You get what you pay for. A large well grown plant may have taken years to get to that size, so basically you are paying for the space, effort and care taken to grow it. A tiny young plant for sale will almost always be cheaper than a large counterpart. If money is an issue, go for the small plant, which will grow in your home as you do. Literally. Give it a name and treat it like a child and it will reward you with quirks and its beauty for years (if not decades) to come.


Plant's For Sale Online

This is becoming an increasingly common way to buy. It's quick, convenient and a fantastic way to get hold of rare or hard to find house plants. The clear disadvantage is that you are buying "blind" you have no idea what the plant they are packing up and sending to you actually looks like.

Buy from a reputable online retailer, be skeptical of any offers or "sales" sounding to good to be true and always, always, ALWAYS read the description of what you are buying. Never assume the plant in the picture is the one you are literally going to get or assume that it is truly representative of what will be sent.

  • The best place to quickly find rare or unusual house plants
  • Outstanding overall range
  • Convenient
  • With postage and packing costs to consider, it can be the most expensive way to buy
  • You are buying unseen
  • Often inconvenient to return plants if they fail

Examples of places to shop: - (UK) House of Plants, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com

If you have any recommendations or own a online plant shop you'd like us to review get in touch.



Garden Centre and Nurseries

Garden Centres often have a large selection and range of house plants to buy fromWithout doubt the Garden Centre or independent Nursery is normally the best place to buy good quality house plants. The people selling them should be knowledgeable and keen to assist you where possible, you've obviously gone there to look for a plant and by golly they will sell you one if possible. The business depend on the income generated from selling each and everyone of these plants and because they may be in the shop for some time before being sold, they will be well taken care of in the meantime.

  • Excellent quality
  • Well cared for
  • Advice on hand
  • Usually good refund or exchange policy if plants fail
  • Varied and diverse range
  • Expensive
  • Often located out of town and therefore easy walking distance
  • "Bargains" and discounts can be rare

Supermarkets

This may seem a strange place to buy house plants, but seeing as many Supermarkets sell all kinds of things these days it probably isn't overly surprising you can find plants for sale too. They tend to be incredibly cheap, but the range is often limited, quickly changes and the stock may not be of fantastic quality.

  • Very cheap
  • Bargains or deals to be had
  • Usually good refund or exchange policy if plants fail
  • Sometimes sold as "gifts" or "presents" so they are presented in beautiful, "ready to give" containers
  • Quality can be poor
  • Limited or no staff knowledge about plants
  • Basic range

High Street Florist / Plant Shop

This shop is packed with wonderful house plantsThese tend to be shops which focus almost exclusively on plants and quite often are in an area with lots of passing trade. Their reputation is paramount to their survival and the owners have to pay heavy rents for such a popular location. With this in mind you may pay a little more than in other places, but because the expertise on hand will be exceptional they are definitely a strong contender for one of the best places to buy house plants.

The photo here (and in the introduction above) is of a wonderful shop in the city of Bristol (England) called The Flowerman that we literally found out about by walking past. The design of the store was gorgeous and clearly the owners knew their stuff and had a keen eye for detail.

  • Exceptional quality
  • Fantastic advice and knowledge
  • Will often have unusual and rare plants for sale
  • Can be difficult to move large or heavy plants due to lack of nearby parking
  • Not often a good place for "bargains"

High Street Department Store

An exceptional high street store will stock a variety of well treated seasonal house plants at inexpensive prices. However in our experience, in most department stores the plants are not the main focus of the shop, i.e. it might specialise in clothing or food and the plants are just an after thought or "add on" at the tills. Therefore regrettably most plants in these places are not well looked after and dead or diseased plants are quite common. If you are seriously looking for a particular plant this may not be the best place to start your search, however you could still find a good deal.

  • Convenient way to buy
  • Reasonably priced
  • Quality is normally only average at best
  • Limited or no staff knowledge about plants
  • Only basic range consisting of common or popular varieties

Superstores

You can buy House Plants from a superstore and they can often be brought at cheap pricesThese chain stores often have a "garden centre" or house decoration section, which will inevitably sell house plants. Prices are normally fair, and the selection varied. Quality is often excellent, although the staff members may not be well trained in "plants" generally and the care labels attached to the pots are often generic in their instructions.

  • Good number of plants to choose from
  • Often well looked after
  • Usually good refund or exchange policy if plants fail
  • Fair price
  • Normally located out of town
  • Limited or no staff knowledge about plants
  • Only basic range of common or popular house plants for sale

Market Stalls

All aspects of a Market Stall tend to be average but don't let this put you off. You should inspect the plant well before purchase for signs of inferior stock or disease.

  • Very good prices
  • Convenient
  • The sellers can be very knowledgeable about what they are selling
  • Extremely limited range
  • Difficult to return plants which fail

Fetes / Fairs etc

It's quite common at Fetes / Fairs to find amateur stalls selling garden plants but you may also find ones selling home grown indoor plants too. The selection however is often very limited and you will normally only find types which are very easy for the lay person to propagate, i.e. Spider Plants. Prices can be quite varied although often a high proportion, if not all, of the sale price will go to the very reason for holding the Fete in the first place , i.e. to a charity or a school.

  • Money raised is usually going to a good cause
  • Good bargains can be found
  • Very few house plants are sold at fates
  • Quality will be unknown

Have we missed any? Where do you buy your house plants from? Tell us in the comments below.


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