Mail Order Gardening

Shade Loving Perennial Flowering Plants and Shrubs

I am a cheap and lazy gardener. My soilplay consists of planting, watering, minimal pruning and weeding and keeping my fingers crossed. I have ordered perennials for my shade garden with varying degrees of success through mail order, so I wanted to document my experiences here.

Tantalized by the lush foliage and lovely blooms touted by these gardening catalogs, I eagerly awaited my first order. Prepare to be disappointed. One plant means ONE plant with one root, not several clustered together like you'll find at the nursery. Many "shrubs" resemble not so much saplings but leafless twigs with roots, aptly named "whips." Some shade perennials are merely root balls while others arrive in the tiniest of pots -- maybe slightly bigger than what you'll find populating a flat of annuals. Still others arrived moldy or DOA. In some cases you'll get more for your money shopping at a local nursery. But many of these perennials grew in nicely over the course of a year (or more). It's fun to experiment, especially with plants I haven't seen locally.

Not Recommended: usually means you shouldn't buy this plant online (i.e. Golden Green Hosta). Sometimes it means the plant didn't appeal to me (Fruit Cocktail Tree).

Neutral: could mean I was unimpressed with the plant itself (Mock Orange), or that you're better off purchasing locally.

Recommended: A winner, whether you purchase online or locally.

I ordered exclusively through because they were the least expensive (click on the banner above to be taken directly to their site). They also offer the standard one year guarantee. If your plant doesn't survive they will send you a replacement if you request it within one year from date of purchase.

Please note if you place an order through a link to DirectGardening, I will receive a small commission.

Year planted follows description in parenthesis.

For reference, these shrubs were planted in zone 6 in mostly sandy soil.

Updated 06/12/2017.

Groundcovers Sun Perennials Shrubs and Trees Shade Perennials Annuals Deer Resistant Cold Hardy Tropical Plants Contact Us
Plant Experience Conclusion
Convallaria majalis White Lily of the Valley. These have spread. (2004).Recommended
Bleeding Heart Collection Bleeding Hearts. They bloomed the first year, and have come back every year although they don't last as long as the fernleaf bleeding heart. (2004).Recommended
Tradescantia virginiana 'Red Cloud' Rosy Red Trinity Plant. I planted four Rosy Red and six Blue, only the Blue bloomed. I planted the replacements in 2007 but they didn't do much. I still think these are worth buying. (2006, 2007).Recommended
Blue Trinity Plant Blue Trinity Plant. Keep cutting them back after blooming, and they will re-bloom. I like their sword- like foliage. (2006).Highly Recommended
Japanese Painted Fern Japanese Painted Fern. This was very small, but it's growing. (2006).Recommended
Golden Green Hosta Golden Green Hosta. Hostas are usually pretty hardy, but this one never came up. The replacement I planted the following year did better, but hostas are inexpensive at local nurseries. (2006,2007).Not Recommended
Mixed Russell Lupines Mixed Russell Lupines. Lupines are my latest favorite. Biggest drawback so far: slugs love 'em.Recommended
Lupinus 'Tutti Frutti' Tutti Fruitti Lupine Mix. These caught my eye at Wal-Mart and I had to bring one home. I couldn't believe Lupine is a perennial hardy to -40°F. Its leaves are shaped like daisies. However, they are SLUG MAGNETS. I lost all my lupines.Recommended
Himalayan Blue Poppy Himalayan Blue Poppy. These are difficult to grow and can't take the heat or cold. This arrived dead, so I asked for a replacement of Lewisia. The Lewisia also arrived dead, because of forwarding issues. (2006).Not Recommended