Where to buy Rare Plants from and what to expect

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There's so many wishlist plants popping everywhere, I bet it's hard to always find a good place to source your plants. So here's a list of my favourite places.

I decided to write a second article on places to buy rare plants from because that's the most asked question in my messages. But first, I want to touch upon the all the different type of sellers as I think it's really important to understand this.

There are few types of people selling plants:

  • Garden Centres
  • Plant Shops (online or brick and mortar)
  • Private Collectors

The reason I'm highlighting the different types is because I won't be sharing details in this article relating to private plant collectors. The reason for this is simple: privacy. They are not businesses, you can't visit their homes to see their plants and most of them do not want to having to deal with loads of messages asking for cuttings (some people tend to become rude and aggressive and told 'no'). Instead, what would be more beneficial is trying to build friendships with other plant people, establish a conversation, exchange knowledge, etc.

Cercestis Mirabilis

Garden Centres or Plants Stores

Now, let's move to the my favourite spots for plants. When it comes to physical stores I have picked few rare plants from some local garden centres. Your local garden centres are definitely places to keep an eye on. Follow their social pages (if they have any) and that's where they will post updates. Or, if you have the time, pop in every now and then for a quick 'what's new' visit. I live in London and the ones I like the most are: N1 Garden Centre, Boma Garden Centre, Camden Garden Centre and Plant Warehouse in East London.

Online Plants Shops

For online places my best friend has always been eBay. I have alerts setup in the app for the plants I'm after. When there are new listings that match my alerts I get an email hurray. Most of the listings are actions so you have to bid on the plants. Before you start bidding please check the seller's rating and where they are based.

If they based outside EU I usually go by the following checklist:

  • will they provide a Phyto Certificate/s when shipping my plant/s?
  • do they have good reviews?
  • is the timing right to order? Plants coming from far away will take longer to reach you. I avoid busy times like holidays season, Black Friday, local holidays etc that tend to add to longer shipping times.
  • temperatures: if you are ordering in winter ask the seller if they could package the plant accordingly.

I also have some non-eBay Favourites such as: Twisted Leaf & Vine, Eastern Tropicals, Ecuagenera and Groen in huis.

Anthurium Crystalinum

Importing Plants

If you have gone down the rabbit hole of wanting to import your whislist plants you need to do your research on this and make sure you are equipped correctly. Importing plants from places like Indonesia or Thailand looks appealing as prices seem low and they can provide a large variety of tropical plants.

  • First of all, assuming you have found a place to import from, you will need to check if you need to apply for an import permit. Each countries have different rules so check what applies to you.
  • You will still need Phyto certificates for your plants. So make sure that the right paperwork is sent with your plants. Otherwise, you risk your plants being seized and destroyed by Customs.
  • Plants coming from far away will likely arrive damaged (from broken stems to rotten roots). No matter how well they are packaged, damage will happen. Make sure you a ready to deal with this and nurse them back to life (which can take anywhere from 6-12 months). And accept the fact that some might not make it.

Which ever option you choose to go for make sure you do your research before ordering.