The best online conifer nursery? Reviews here...
So I received an email from Ken today bringing up a post about conifer nurseries and their reviews. I think this is one of the greatest advantages of modern media and forums like this because we can discuss our experiences, share photos and of course you can find just about any plant you want as long as you don't mind paying for what you get.
I have some time this morning so I'm putting together another review, though this is more condensed and based more on six years of ordering from conifer nurseries(and over 2,000 conifers) and it would be great if people could add their own reviews and/or experiences.
I will also include links below reviews to the conifer nursery reviews I created about three years ago, for those wanting perhaps more detail or photos with plant sizes/price, though that is subject to change and may not be accurate to today's market.
I'm going to order these in *roughly* the order I would use them today, if I were starting to collect anew though opinions are subjective, please don't think that my '10th ranked nursery' is a bad nursery. In total I've ordered and had experience with about 20 nurseries online, so every nursery listed here was 'above average', at least compared to the competition.
Also one more note before the list. Coenosium Gardens is operated by Bob Fincham who recently suffered the tragic loss of his life long love and business partner, Dianne Fincham. No doubt when Bob begins to offer plants again Coenosium would fit in with the top nurseries I've used before. In respect to Dianne and to allow Bob the time he needs to heal, I've left Coenosium from this list. We all look forward to Bob coming back to doing what he likes best, working with conifers.
1. Conifer Kingdom
What's to like? Huge, very rare selection, large variety in some cases of size of plant offered, good bang for your buck, exceptional plant quality, good sale promotions, excellent shipping record, newer business, cutting edge new offerings and constantly updating inventory.
2. Western Evergreen Nursery
What's to like? Probably the best bang for your buck out there, good selection, exceptional plant quality, some very rare offerings, discounted quantity orders(wholesale), some unique offerings(owner is a seedling/broom hunter), new offerings each year, some unique to this nursery.
3. Bethlehem Nursery
What's to like? Extremely rare offerings, small plants but fair prices, good shipping record, great way to start small with new plants(only ships baby plants), great sciadopitys source, constantly offering rare and new offerings.
It's worth noting the owner has had some weather problems the last few years and is a mostly one-man operator, so be patient if you contact him.
4. Porterhowse Farms
What's to like? Probably the most comprehensive selection of conifers in the U.S., good plant quality, decent bang for your buck, plants in either ban pots or gallons, tried and true nursery(25 years experience).
5. Stanley and Sons
What's to like? Enormous selection, very small plants but at wholesale prices, worth noting you have to have a business license or ACS member to shop, safe, very fast shipping, plant selection varies by the time of the year, good overall plant quality. Don't expect plant guarantees when you're paying these prices.
6. Bloom River Nursery
What's to like? Pretty rare and unusual selections though overall selection list isn't very large, wide variety of sizes offered, will ship huge plants, decent price/value ratio, safe shipping and good customer support.
7. Cloud Mountain Farm
What's to like? Good plant quality, some rare offerings, prices aren't too great but plant size is, no problems with shipping.
8. Forest Farms
What's to like? More for species trees, forest farms has a very nice selection of rare plant species that you often can't find anywhere else. Rare firs, spruce, pines, yews, etc. Prices are decent, plants are solid sized and they do offer some large 5-10 gallon plants, super shipping and customer support. Not a good option for conifer cultivars...
9. Girard's Nursery
What's to like? Decent selection, good price ratio, some rare offerings, frequent sales, plant quality unfortunately not great, shipping reasonable.
- Whistling Gardens Nursery
What's to like? Great selection including many older varieties rarely found, decent prices and offerings of ban pots/bare root plants, decent plant quality. The biggest problem here frankly is that you have to deal with customs/inspections because this nursery is in Canada. Obviously a great option for Canucks. :)
Honorable mention: Gee's nursery & Arrowhead alpines. I have never ordered from either of these nurseries but I'd like to. They both have very large selections, rare choice, old-world cultivars and wide varieties of sizes offered. I have not ordered because I've been told they won't ship to the West coast.
Add your own list or experiences. It's our combined knowledge that makes us informed, intelligent consumers.