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Tips for buying plants on eBay

Whilst buying plants in person is always the best way to receive them, sometimes our local nurseries don't have the plant beauties we lust after. eBay is a great way to find & buy plants online. I've bought quite a few on eBay myself, so here's some tips if you're new to using this wonderful marketplace for plant acquisition:

 

  • Before bidding, follow a few auctions for the plant you want to get an idea of the market
  • Most of the bidding frenzy happens in the last 2 minutes so if you want a plant badly, you have to be on your phone right before auction end
  • Set up a saved search for the plant you’re vying for so you get alerts for new postings (although please note that this is both a blessing and a curse)
  • Good plant sellers will only send via express post, which is costly but worth it to ensure the plant arrives swiftly
  • Read the reviews of a plant seller prior to bidding, as you’ll want assurances that they pack the plant well, with appropriate padding
  • Check all the photos as sometimes the cover photo is the mother plant, and the actual plant is much smaller. Check the photo for scale too - some sellers will use a ruler or object for reference. Often plants will appear bigger than they are so scour the photos and description to get as much info as you can
  • Your plant will probably arrive bare root as it’s easier to send it without soil (it’s lighter, less messy, more secure). When your plant arrives, you’ll want to pot it in soil so make sure you have soil & an appropriately sized pot (a bit bigger than the roots) ready to go
  • Plants don’t travel well but sometimes post is the only way to get one. It will take a few days for it to perk up after the stress it’s been through. Providing humidity often helps eg a plastic bag over the plant, misting, a cloche etc.. It’s not essential for most plants, but can help. Your plant will most likely look droopy and sad, and this is normal!
  • Lastly, remember if you miss out, there’s always another plant!

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