Buying plants online is the trickiest since we don't usually see the exact plant we are buying. You pay the money, and then you hope for the best. Sometimes, the plants came with slight damage due to the shipping, but if they looked healthy, they usually bounced back pretty quickly and started to grow once they settled in. Other times, the plants came healthy, but they didn't suit the growing condition at my place, and they would slowly wither off. After numerous experiences, I thought I would share my gain and lost with you if you planned to start buying plants online.
I first started with Steve's Leaves and Hirts. After seeing all the unboxing videos on YouTube, I decided to give them a go. With Steve's Leaves, I haven't had a bad experience with them. The only frustration was, their plants were always out of stock. When they do restock the rare plants on Friday morning, I couldn't even get the website to load. I guess that just shows you how much people love them. I shop on Hirts quite frequently. They always have new plants in stock, and the pricing is usually reasonable unless it is a rare plant that everyone wants. However, sometimes, the plants I received from them had damages on the leaves. As long as there were no pests, those plants were usually growing well after a month or so.
After bringing back the plants and inspected them carefully, I found black mold was on the stems of the Philodendron Golden Dragon! I cleaned it with alcohol on cotton pads, and it is staying alive so far. The Monstera Karstenianum came with a yellow leaf I had to clip off after a few days, other than that, I think it will survive as well. What shocked me the most from this purchase was the Philodendron Warscewiczii Aurea! The leaves fell off rapidly within a few days! And then the main stem started to rot! My guess was, the plant wasn't healthy when it came, and it probably didn't like the new environment. When I first contacted the seller, she was trying to help, but her advice was limited. Before she could be helpful, the plant was already all gone. It was a pricey plant, so I reported it back to her after the Warscewiczii went into its coffin. Sadly, she told me it was an unfortunate and expensive lesson to learn and couldn't offer me a refund. Not sure why, but after a few days, she decided to refund half of it, so I thought it was a good time to close the curtain on buying plants on Facebook.
With my Warscewiczii trauma, I thought maybe I should only buy on reputable websites. That led me to buying a Philodendron Florida Ghost on NSE Tropicals. Yes, it is the NSE Tropicals that every plant YouTubers are raving about on their videos. They shipped it quickly, and I think they packed the plant as best as they could. Upon my inspection, I could see damages on the new leaves, and it has mysterious things under the leaves! I wasn't sure they were pests, but it was certainly not a comforting look. I took a picture and emailed them to get their take on this since that's what they said on my order, "Thank you for your business. If there’s anything we can do to improve your experience, please let us know!" It has been a few days, and I haven't heard anything back. The plant looks a little worse, and I started to worry. I wish they would response since a lot could happen in a few days. I guess their responsiveness is limited to when you pay the money. Regardless of what I watched on YouTube, my experience with NSE Tropicals has been underwhelming, and I probably would not buy from them again. For now, I can only do my best to observe and care for the Philodendron Florida Ghost. Hopefully, it doesn't turn into a real ghost as someone joked about it on the Facebook group!