Re: Shrubs... Lowes vs Nursery.

Buy from a nursery - the plants are usually older with a more established root system, so they have a much higher rate of sucess. I only buy annuals at Lowe's.
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It depends upon the individual store... I have Home Depots I wouldn't think of checking, while there are others that are adequately staffed and thus the plants are watered regularly. If you can time your purchase shortly after the shrubs are brought in, it's really the best bargain in town...
Dave

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I've noticed plants at Home Depot which carried tags from one of the larger local nurseries, so they're evidently relying on local talent for some of their items. If you're lucky enough to have a Madgard working at your local Lowe's, you can likely count on quality. If I'm looking for a plant, I'm looking for it from local nurseries. But I don't make a trip to the chain store without checking the plants to see what's in. I've had good luck with Lowe's Depot Mart, (even Big Lots), and I've actually had a lower mortality rate with things I'd gotten there.
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Much of it depends on how well each particular store (e.g. Lowes, HD, etc) cares for their plants and how long the plants you are buying have been there. I have bought many Monrovia grown plants (common at nurseries) right off the truck at Lowes and/or HD and have had great luck with them. And just to be an ass, I'd like to remind you that you should never end a sentence in "at" or any other preposition.

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The wife bought a few Crepe Myrtles from Lowes......and later we bought some el cheapo's from a local nursery in town. They were only bought about 2 days apart and the cheapie ones were better than half the price of Lowes. All appeared to be about the same age and size, but this year its apparent the el cheapos have out done themselves in growth and bloom as compared to Lowes, which have yet to bloom and always seem to be scragely looking. I know this is not a fault of lowes, but I just thought it odd these el cheapos are doing as well as they did. CM's in the south are extremely common, as they are like weeds, everyone has them planted.

-- Visit my website: http://www.frugalmachinist.com Contents: foundry and general metal working and lots of related projects. Regards Roy aka Chipmaker // Foxeye Opinions are strictly those of my wife....I have had no input whatsoever. Remove capital A from chipmAkr for correct email address
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<< And just to be an ass, >> ____Reply Separator_____ You succeeded !
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Chris S. wrote:

about
Too many variables.
It's not like Lowe's ships plants to all it's stores from some central location. Each store is going to buy from some wholesale nurseries in their general area. And are you talking about a nursery that grows what you're buying (or do they specialize in other stuff), or do they buy from a wholesaler, perhaps even the same wholesaler as Lowes?
And it may make a difference what day and time you go. If you're there as they're unloading them from the truck, how well the staff takes care of things is a non-issue, and the big issue becomes whether the nursery that the truck came from treats the load to Lowes as being a dumpster, or if they service that account as well as they service the other garden centers in the area.
There are just too many variables, and those variables are different for me than they are for you, or any other person in this group.
Think of it this way: Which is better? The burger at the TGI Fridays near the mall, or the hamburger at a randomly picked joint in town on the old highway? Some people will insist that the local diner is going to have the better hamburger, but I have to tell you, I've been in some diners with lousy hamburger, even if they were buying their beef from the same wholesale butcher.
Anyone who gives you a definitive answer to your question is basing their opinion on far too limited information considering how many Lowes are out there, and how many nurseries are out there. Unless the particular Lowes and the particular nursery you have in mind are the same ones they have in mind, a definitive answer is an answer you don't need.
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Warren H.

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HERE HERE I could NOT have put it better Warren........ thank you for a most insightful opinion. I mean it!! <g> You are 100% right and dead on the money about everything you said. Now I wish I had read your response before posting mine........... madgardener

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funny that you should ask that. I work for my local Lowe's in the Outside Lawn and Garden section, but I have been a customer of theirs for years before I started working there. I can tell you that some shrubs at Lowes are affordable, and if the greenhouse specialist is on top of things, there is a decent selection of unusual as well as local standards. Lowe's specialist in the nursery section of OLG has the responsibility to purchase their nursery stock from local nursieries as well as some select nurseries. In the case of our Lowes here in Morristown, Tennessee, we even get shrubs from Mean's Nursery in Oregon, trees from Alabama, tropicals from Florida, and houseplants from Canada.
I can tell you that for special and unusual plants unless you have a nursery that is on top of it and diversifies, you can ride the fence. Lowe's has a strict policy with replacements for a year, and they have a pretty good staff to take care of and watch over their stock. I stopped a shipment of plants that had unidentified snails from a nursery until the company trouble shooter flew out, treated the order and allowed time for the pests to die before we were able to sell them. But that's because I will not sell a diseased or infested plant to anyone. Most larger nurseries have a good policy thru stores like Lowes and Depot etc and can't afford to lose the volumn of business with diseased or infested plants and keep a vigil on them. REPUTABLE nurseries.
I straddle the fence. I shop at Lowes regardless that I now work there, I also order hard to impossible to find locally plants of all sorts from companies by catalog as well as watch for local nurseries for unusual bargains and plants. I don't pay attention to price when it's something I know I can't find anywhere else or it will cost me shipping and handling. I weigh the price factor in on what they have, and if I can get something better by catalog, then that's the way I go. But usually some plants are better bargains thru the mail because of selection, and other times you'll get a better deal in size when you purchase a plant from a nursery. Large companies like White Flower Farm (and even they ship things bareroot) Wayside Gardens, BlueStone Perennials, Carroll Gardens, and such don't ship out large pots. Carroll gardens does, and the previous mentioned companies that I have ordered from do if you look in their catalog's for size availability.
I would just way use your judgement. Lowe's has a plant policy and stands by it. They usually deal with reputable nurseries and to me that means there are people benefiting with jobs because of it and I don't resent it. Sure they buy in bulk, but it still employs people and that's part of the American system of business. Supply and demand.
Just remember to look for pests at other places like WalMart because they don't have the time or patience or willingness to employ people to care for their plants like other larger stores do like Lowes and some rare Home Depot's and other ones like that. I hope this helps some. madgardener off to werk now ironically enough..................
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I start most of my own shrubs from cuttings that I get from friends, neighbors, and members of our garden club. I also start a lot of additional shrubs along with annuals and perennials, which are sold at our garden club spring sale as a fund raiser. Occasionally, when I can't find something locally that I want, I make a list of "must haves" and check at Lowes and other garden centers in Springfield, MO, on our occasional runs there. (Love their Barnes and Noble Book Store!) The items I've purchased there have all survived and done well. In fact, I purchased a Glowing Embers Hydrangea in a gallon pot from Lowes this past spring for $6.95 that was a quality looking plant at purchase time has since doubled in size. The same is true of a blueberry plant I purchased at the same time. I've always had good results with items purchased from them.
My least favorite method of purchase is through mail order, mainly because I can't see the quality of the plant material before ordering. Most of the time it's reasonable, but I find that I usually have to some babying in order to get ordered plants to survive. This is even true of Bluestone that has quality products. Even so, I occasionally lose a plant. I don't know about other people, but I find it a pain to have to contact the service department and receive a credit for plants that don't survive. It also irks me that I don't have the plant I ordered in my yard this year and will have to wait another year before it can be replaced.
John
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While this may not be Lowes, I just have to say that I have gotten a ton of plants from WalMart for FREE. Literally free. I drop by their dumpster every Sunday, and it has yet to be found empty. They just get their plants for free or next to nothing. Seems like it does not matter what the plants are, they do wind up in the dumpster once they get a new shipment in. I have all kinds of plants and most all have responded and come back to a healty planat with a little bit of pruning and decent waterings and a bit of fertilizer. I must have had 250 or more of those pink flower pots full of Petunias this year that they sold for $3.98 a pot, I have about 40 of the Butterfly plant bushes, tons of Hydrangia, and russian cane, as well as various trees and shrubbery, roses bushes etc etc. At the worst they die, and I just add the potted soils and roots in my garden for soil improvement. Sure helps when yo have very sandy soils. The 5 grape vine plants I found are all over 6 feet in length and doing fine. All I did was water them good and then plant them.
At the end of the cool grass growing season I scrounged 11 bags of manure, and close to 18 50# bags of rye grass seed, and other assorted seeds. A test run n the shade of the rye grass gave e a good stand. So now I have some to plant this fall for winter graze for my critters. I know some folks would never think of dumpster diving, but I have found lots of perfectly good things that is a sin to throw out and waste.
-- Visit my website: http://www.frugalmachinist.com Contents: foundry and general metal working and lots of related projects. Regards Roy aka Chipmaker // Foxeye Opinions are strictly those of my wife....I have had no input whatsoever. Remove capital A from chipmAkr for correct email address
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I'd say it depends on what you're after. If you want plants that OTHER THAN ultra-common growing in just about every other commonplace garden in the same neighborhood, then you have to look for a quality nursery with a larger variety of plants, as Lowe's & Home Depot only sell basic products. But if you do need a fairly standard rhododendron or climbing vine, there'd be no reason to pay more for a specimen the exact same size from somewhere other than Lowes. Or if you're just kind of financially strapped, and were only needing something like a butterfly bush that grows rapidly from a small start that only costs a pittance from Lowe's, might as well go for the Lowe's.
Sometimes a common plant is exactly what suits a location. The best independent stores sometimes pay less attention to their "common" stock because they know they can't beat the prices of the chains. Some while ago, I wanted a rigidly upright rosemary for a dry hot area of the garden. I did look at rosemaries in my favorite independents before buying it vastly cheaper at Lowe's, in that case because Lowe's really did have the best upright specimens as well as the best price, the independents had strange twisty creeping varieties that are less "ordinary" but in this case I wanted an ordinary rosemary.
On the other hand if you wanted a clematis that would be substantial in size rather soon, you might not want to go for the cheap starts at Lowes, which won't look like much for two years. A nursery that sells larger older specimens charges more, but the plant is worth more. Standard perennials that establish & spread with great speed, like penstemons or campanulas, a little on-sale pots from Lowe's really is a bargain.
Now if you'd said Walmart, I'd say forget it. Not only are the plants commonplace, but they're poorly cared for so apt to be doing poorly if you don't get them the day they arrive at the store, & the price is the same price or even more highly priced than at independent nurseries. At least that's true of the Walmart in my county. But Lowe's, Home Depot, & especially Fred Meyers, I'm sometimes impressed with the age & appearance of some of the things they sell for half or a third what the same product costs at an independent nursery.
If one isn't strapped for funds, there are good reasons to generally just go to the nicest nurseries with the most varied stock, even if on some days you end up getting stuff Lowe's carries cheaper. Because you can wander through the Lowe's plant section a hundred times and see pretty much the same stuff always, maybe once in that hundred visits spot something rather unusual for a change. But at a really nice nursery, if you stop in regularly, at least half the time you'll spot new stuff, some of it unusual or rarely offered stuff not being mass produced for market, some of it very new cultivars not yet widely distributed, some from very small specialty wholesalers who don't service chains. Some of it is offered in such small quantities you'll never even get a chance to look at one before it's sold out, if you spend too much of your garden-shopping energy at a Lowes and fail to check the specialists & independents at close intervals.
Also as a generality, advice is more reliable & knowledge is greater at independent nurseries than at Lowe's. There can sometimes be a knowledgeable person working in one of the chain stores, who'd be great nursery managers if allowed to be, but they seem to have very little control over whether they have to work in the electrical department instead.
Finally, staff & owners at quality independent nurseries are apt to remember you as a customer, whereas the big chains will for the most part never remember nor much care about your gardening tastes & choices. There are pay-offs ranging from friendships to special bargains for patronizing favorite nursery companies. There's a lot to be said even just for being on first-name basis with some high-end nursery people, as I know in my case, I have even been handed free plants. Owners have gone out of their way to help me find scarce things I was after, & have even driven out to visit my gardens -- not because I'm a big-money customer either -- I'm actually rather poor. Even if there were no "perks" like the occasional free plant or first-dibs on stuff that is a bit rare, the mere fact of being known & of knowing people by name, it's nicer than always dealing with mutually anonymous faces.
-paghat the ratgirl
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"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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I suspect this may depend on where you live. Here, both the plants in the nursery, and the plants at Home Depot or Lowes come off the back of the same truck(s) from the same supplier. I think Nurseries take better care of them long term, where Lowes and HD buy them to move them out quickly. I go to HD and/or Lowes on Friday, as that is the delivery date of fresh plants. I buy them then.
Mary
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"Chris S." wrote:

Where I'll buy a plant depends a whole lot on the plant and the cost. Places like Lowes generally don't have someone[s] who are expert in plant care. So, the plants you buy there are more likely to be stressed, or not in the greatest shape. Also, because they are trying to get less-expensive plants to sell, they often don't get first-quality from the supplier. OTOH, there's lots of plants that can survive a little neglect, and the cost generally is a whole lot better than nurseries. So, if it's something that's likely to have survived Lowe's attentions, and it's cheap enough, go for it. It's just like buying from catalogues . . . if I want a named variety in a particular color, I'll go with one of the upscale catalogues. If, OTOH, I'm trying to fill a barrow pit with daylilies to make it no-mow, I'll head straight for one of the discount catalogues. Sure, the plants will be smaller; and, some of them are sure to die; but, when you need a couple hundred, cost becomes a major factor.
Chris Owens
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