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buying houseplant in winter from nursery

Should You Buy Houseplants In Winter? Here’s the verdict!

Have you been looking at houseplants lately and wondering whether winter is a good time of year for buying?

When buying something as tender as a houseplant, it’s important you take seasons into account.

In this article, I will help you decide if you should buy houseplants in winter or avoid it and wait for warmer temperatures.

Here’s if You Should Buy Houseplants In Winter or Not:

Buying houseplants in winter can be done, but it comes with some challenges, like keeping the plants warm while you transport them and settling them in well. Looking after plants can be more difficult in the winter, too, so bear this in mind when deciding what to buy and when.

Should You Buy Houseplants ONLINE In Winter?

If possible, is best to buy houseplants in winter in person, that way you can control how the plant gets to your house. However, you can often buy houseplants online in winter without it being a problem, depending on how harsh the winter is.

Remember to be at home when the plant arrives and read the Terms and Conditions before buying.

Keep in mind that shopping online for houseplants in winter is somewhat dependent on where you live and where the plants are travelling from, as well as how cold the weather is.

If you are going to buy houseplants online in the winter, you need to take some time to think about how shipping is going to work and whether you will be at home to receive the plant when it arrives.

Often, a retailer will assess whether the conditions are good enough for mailing a plant before they advertise it, but you shouldn’t rely on this, and they may not take responsibility for any plants after delivery is made, or possibly after the plant has left their hands.

That means if a delivery driver leaves the box on a doorstep in the snow and the plants freeze, you may not be able to get your money back (although if the retailer uses their own delivery company, this may be different).

You should make sure you will be at home to receive the plants if you are going to do this, because plants that sit in the cold for hours will likely die.

Can Plants Be Shipped In The Winter?

In general, plants can be shipped in the winter, and the seller will take precautions to allow for shipping conditions. However, shipping conditions may still cause issues, particularly if the winter is very cold.

For example, if a plant is stored near a heater in the sorting facility and then taken straight out into the snow, it is going to struggle, no matter how well packaged it is.

For cold-sensitive plants, it may be best to delay ordering until the temperatures are more stable. There is still a risk of the plant dying if mishandled during transit, but it is lower.

Is It Safe To Order Plants In Winter?

It is generally not a great idea to order plants during the winter, particularly in cold snowy winters. However, most sellers will take the conditions into account when they choose what to advertise.

Sellers don’t want lots of unhappy customers whose plants have all died, as this costs them stock and goodwill.

If in doubt, it may be best to contact a seller to discuss how they take precautions for winter into account.

Some sellers will specifically insulate plants, but others might send them without, and it’s a good idea to check first. Most sellers have an option for you to send a message, or you may find the information in the FAQ on the seller’s site.

Overall, ordering plants may work if you live in an area with mild winters, but isn’t advisable for places with really cold ones.

Are Houseplants Cheaper In Winter?

Houseplants don’t really get cheaper in winter. You might find some deals on houseplants in the winter, but the season may not make much difference to the price, as stock will be more limited.

In this day and age, the demand for houseplants is always there, particularly at the bigger stores.

I would recommend checking prices in your area rather than searching at big online stores.

You have a better chance to find some bargains because demand is generally lower at the more local stores.

Where To Buy Houseplants In Winter

The best places to buy houseplants in winter are generally at your local grocery store or nursery, so check those out first. They tend to be cheaper and you can then control the plant’s travel arrangements and reduce the risk of it getting chilled (or accidentally put near a heater) while moving.

Local nurseries in particular should have enough offerings. They may not have much during the colder months, but they are likely to have some stock, as nurseries operate year-round, and most do not close for winter.

You could also check out local plant swaps or sales, but there aren’t likely to be many of these in the winter as few people are gardening.

However, anything you can find that’s local will put you in control of how the plant is handled on its way to your home.

What Houseplants Are Sold In Winter?

Houseplants that tend to be sold in winter are often those that have a winter flowering season, as these look more impressive at this time of year. Although you will certainly have less variety than if you buy them in summer, there are still lots of houseplants sold in winter.

You may not be able to find plants that are very sensitive to cold weather or those that turn dormant in the winter, although even they may be available if you have a great stockist.

On the whole, the range is likely to be more limited due to shipping constraints and lack of growth during this season.

Best Houseplants To Buy In Winter

Here are some of the best houseplants to buy in winter:

  • Amaryllis: with its brilliant and huge, showy blooms, this plant is ideal for adding color to your home in winter
  • Cyclamen: these provide bright pinks and reds from December to April, and then dies back until the following year
  • Paperwhites: with pretty, simple white blooms, these are ideal for a wintry scene in your home
  • African violets: these plants prefer indirect light and come in all sorts of shades
  • Christmas cactus: the name correctly suggests it should be on this list, and its cheerful pink flowers will bring a festive mood to any household
  • Begonias: these can flower throughout the winter and will make your home beautiful
  • Peace lilies: this plant can be unpredictable and may not flower until February, but it’s a delightful specimen to have in your home even when it’s not in bloom

Houseplants You Should NEVER Buy In Winter

If you suffer from hard winters, you might be looking at which houseplants don’t survive well in those environments.

Here are a few houseplants you should avoid buying in winter:

  • Dragon Tree, which doesn’t like to drop below 55 degrees F, and detests temperature fluctuations
  • Ficus tree, which also doesn’t like to go below 55 degrees F
  • Belgian evergreen, which won’t tolerate temperatures below 50 degrees F
  • Monsteras, which dislike temperatures below 50 degrees F
  • Succulents, which are pretty cold sensitive on the whole (although there are some exceptions) and may die, especially if frozen

This is particularly true if you are planning to get the plant shipped from one place to another, or just if your home is cold.

If you buy a houseplant during the warmer months and get it comfortable in your home, it may be able to tolerate a gradually lowering temperature, but if it comes from a warm nursery to a cold living room, it might suffer.

You should also avoid trying to buy plants that only flower in the spring or summer months, as these are unlikely to be available and may cost more if they are available.

For example, violas flower in late spring, and may not be available, especially in the early winter, unless they have been grown in special conditions.

How To Buy Houseplants In Winter (Step by Step)

Here is how to buy houseplants in winter, step by step: 

  1. If you are transporting it yourself (from a store) and the weather is cold, wrap paper or plastic around the plant, or create a shield out of cardboard to protect it. You can skip this step if you bought it online.
  2. Get your plant inside as soon as you can. With this done, you should research what temperature your plant likes, and move it into a suitable room.
  3. Put the plant in bright, indirect light, and check whether it needs water. Most plants need a lot less water in the winter, but if the soil is dry to around an inch down, it may appreciate a drink.
  4. Keep the plant at a stable temperature while it adjusts to its new conditions, and make sure it isn’t touching a window, or its foliage may get chilled and damaged. Also, definitely don’t put your new plant on top of a radiator.
  5. Don’t fertilize your plant until it starts its next growing season – usually in spring.

What Is The Best Winter Month To Buy Plants?

The best winter month to buy plants is generally February, because your stores may have sales as spring approaches and the variety in houseplants starts to increase. As far as temperatures go, no particular month is better than the others.

December is a good month if you wish to buy winter plants because those will have enough time to flower if conditions are met.

January is considered the worst winter month to buy plants, but it’s generally fine provided the plants don’t get frozen and you give them enough water once they are in their new home. They should survive well.

Conclusion

Buying houseplants in winter can be a little risky, especially if you do so online. If you buy plants in a store, you have more control over their transport and you can make sure they don’t get chilled.

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