I Ordered Live Seedlings Online for the First Time—Here's How It's Growing

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Side by side of strawberries and seedling plants.

Photos: Stark Bros. and Mia Ingui / Image Treatment: The Spruce

I consider myself an avid, enthusiastic gardener. Through trials, tribulations, and many, many bugs, I developed a love for it that I hopefully will hold onto for a lifetime. Those who know me know that I anxiously await springtime like kids await the last day of school. Because as soon as my patio furniture defrosts and the first shine of sun comes through the windows, I know it is seed-starting time.

Once I know that seedlings will be warm enough in my garage, I get growing. I usually pick up seeds from some of my favorite online sites and visit my local nursery to buy a few starts. This year, though, I was presented with the opportunity to try something different—I ordered some seedlings online and they were delivered to my house, sealed in a box.

If you're curious to know how that experience went, then I am here to share. Here are my thoughts after ordering and receiving strawberry seedlings from the online plant distributor, Stark Bros.

Stark Bros Ozark Beauty Strawberry Plant

Stark Bros Ozark Beauty Strawberry Plant

Stark Bros

I specifically tried out some strawberry plants and seed potatoes from the site, both of which I had a great experience growing.

What I Liked
  • More variety of crops to try growing

  • Seedlings come in great condition

  • Ready for planting right away

What I Didn't Like
  • A bit pricey compared to usual seedling prices

  • Not a ton of vegetable varieties

How Does Ordering Seedlings Online Work?

I ordered seedlings from Stark Bro's Nurseries & Orchards Co., an online nursery that specializes in selling fruit trees, berry plants, and other plants for the garden. While browsing, you can input your zip code, which sets your hardiness zone and automatically tells you which plants are allowed to ship to your area. From there, you can add plants of your choice to your cart and check out.

What I Like About the Live Seedlings

Starting from seed is an incredibly rewarding process—there's nothing more gratifying than seeing your little plant babies grow up before your eyes. But, there are a lot of "what ifs" when it comes to seed starting, and any variable can cause damage to your seed starts. So, ordering seedlings that have already matured a bit takes out some of the guesswork.

Ordering seedlings also provides an opportunity to try plants that your local nursey may not have readily available. I know I do not normally find seed potatoes, onions, or large fruit trees at my local plant shops—so knowing there was an online resource to find them was exciting.

Is It Worth the Money?

The seedlings are a bit on the pricey side—for example, the 4" strawberry seedlings were about $15 each (price at publish) My local nursery likely has them for about $5 each. But, the cost does cover packing the plants to ensure their safety, and when the plants arrived, they were in great condition.

Plus, Stark Bros. assures you that if you are unhappy with the plant or the growth is not what you wanted, it is refundable up to a year. I appreciated this guarantee, and based on the condition in which the plants came, I was confident that they would grow well in my garden.

Final Verdict

Ordering seedlings online is an amazing option for gardeners, and my experience with Stark Bros. was entirely positive. The seedlings were in great condition, and my seed potatoes came complete with personalized growing instructions, which was so nice as a novice potato grower. I loved how many options of crops there were to choose from, far beyond the options at my local nursery. Plus, they arrived in great condition and are guaranteed success, or my money back. If you're looking to add some healthy seedlings to your garden, this method was definitely worth it.

Why Trust The Spruce?

Mia Ingui is an editor at The Spruce who is an avid gardener. She's been growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs from seed specifically for the past 4 years, gardening every summer alongside her dad and grandfather. For this review, she nurtured the Stark Bros. seedlings until it was warm enough to move them outside and has given them the proper sun, water, and temperatures to ensure the most accurate review.

Editor’s note: The writer received product samples, but all opinions are their own.