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Buying shrubs

Buying Shrubs online

Shrubs can add year round structure and interest to any garden

Unlike perennials, shrubs don't die back each year although they may lose their leaves. They're favoured by gardeners for the structure they can add to a garden and creating interest using evergreens for a continual display. Take the Fatsia japonica, whose rich, glossy foliage leaves will last the year round and intriguing flower display will attract bees in the spring and summer.

Defined as woody-stemmed plants, usually freely branching from the base, shrubs offer a wide choice of shapes and colour in both their foliage and flowers. Some will also bear fruit which will add extra interest to their display. We list shrubs from several internet shops in our shrubs section, or you can find plants by genus.

Things to consider

Plant Size

Flowering quince

Chaenomeles sucker from the roots so need more space

Shrubs range in size from a few inches in height to twenty feet or even more, but most fall comfortably in the middle of these extremes. As well as eventual height, you need to consider the spread of a mature shrub. As this can take several years to be reached, it is often a good idea to surround a young shrub with annuals or other short-lived plants which will fill the space in the short term but will not interfere with the shrub as it gets larger. Some shrubs also sucker from the roots (for example chaenomeles, the flowering quince) and allowance should be made for this too in the space allowed.

Soil Type

Your soil type (light, sandy and free-draining or heavy, sticky clay) will dictate what will thrive as some plants hail from hotter climates than ours and will not tolerate sitting in cold, wet soil during British winters; similarly others have strong, fleshy roots that need, and can cope with, a heavier soil.


Look to see if your neighbours are growing Camellias

Whether the soil is acid or alkaline governs whether you will be able to grow such things as rhododendrons, camellias and other ericaceous shrubs. Looking in nearby gardens to see whether your neighbours are successfully growing these is the quickest way of guessing which you have, but a soil testing kit is a more precise way of determining soil acidity.

Garden Aspect

Aspect is also an important factor – again some shrubs need all the sun they can get while others need shady conditions more akin to the woodlands of their native habitat.

One way to do your research is visit some Garden Centres and read labels to identify plant sizes and requirements; another is to purchase a small book for reference such as the Hiller Manual of Trees and Shrubs.

Buying shrubs online

Buying shrubs online has advantages and disadvantages. On the negative side, you may not be happy with the quality of what you receive. Try to stick to reputable firms or go with recommendations rather than finding a seller on a site such as EBAY. Not only are you more likely to get a better plant, there should be a customer service department if there is a problem. Also, check out the size of the plant supplied; sometimes a very cheap price only purchases a very small specimen that needs to be grown on before it is ready for planting in the garden. On the plus side, you can probably purchase a range of shrubs with different flowering times in the year all at once instead of having to wait until they are available in local Garden Centres. Reputable mail order suppliers will only ship plants at suitable times of year for getting them established in your garden and many will hold an order back if you tell them when you would like to receive it.

Where to buy shrubs online

You can find all the shrubs on sale from the following shops on Grows on You; you can view all plants, just the shrubs, or look for plants by genus.

Websites selling shrubs online
Delivery Details

Crocus lists well over 300 shrubs and allows you to search by criteria several requirements, including the flowering period, colour and soil type or several other requirements. Crocus have a fixed delivery charge of £5.95 regardless of how much you order.

Visit Crocus
Burncoose Nurseries

Burncoose offer a free pick up option or a paid delivery, depending on the value of the order.

Visit Burncoose Nurseries
Thompson & Morgan

Orders for packets of seed incur a P&P charge of £2.29. Orders which include any other products will incur a P&P charge of £4.45.

Visit Thompson & Morgan
Best 4 Plants

Standard delivery is free to England and Wales when the order value is over £50. Any order under £50 will be subject to the shipping fees below:
Plants and Large Garden Tools- £6.95
Small Garden Tools, Bulbs and Bulb packs - £4.95
Seeds and Books - £0.69

Visit Best 4 Plants
Gardening Direct

Gardening Direct charge a flat rate of £3.95 per order.

Visit Gardening Direct
Blooming Direct

Blooming Direct offer free delivery on all orders.

Visit Blooming Direct
Suttons Seeds

Delivery of orders containing only Packet Seeds, Garlic, Onion Sets, Shallots and Mushrooms costs £0.95. Orders for all other products incur a carriage charge of £3.95. There are surcharges for heavy orders to the Highlands & non-mainland UK.

Visit Suttons Seeds

Unwins calculate their delivery charge as you shop and display it in your shopping basket.

Visit Unwins
Green Fingers

Standard delivery to mainland UK addresses is free on all internet orders over £29.00. For orders below £29.00 a processing and delivery charge £4.95 is added.

Visit Green Fingers
Jersey Plants Direct

Jersey Plants Direct offer free delivery on all orders.

Visit Jersey Plants Direct
Garden Centre

For most items delivery uses standard boxes, with each box costing £5.99. The cost of delivery a box is the same no matter if there are one or many items in it. Large orders may require several boxes.

Visit Garden Centre

Specialist Nurseries/ Rare shrubs

If you are looking for a smaller specialist nursery then your best bet is to go to the Royal Horticultural Society website where typing in the name of a shrub lists suppliers in the UK including ones offering mail order.


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