gardening partial shade

Should you purchase cuttings and plants from etsy or ebay?

mail order cuttings from ebay?

I am part of a central Florida gardening group on facebook. One woman from Lutz, just south of me but also in zone 9B, had an absolutely GORGEOUS Brazilian Red Cloak plant. It appeared to be 10 feet tall and full of beautiful red plumes. Reminded me of my pagoda flowers at least in mass and striking, colorful blooms. It would be nice if I knew these were at a local gardening center but I have never come across them, as far as I know. So, I looked to the internet to help me locate them.

Another plant she had is Dancing Lady orchids. They were a massive golden shower of cascading yellow flowers that looked like, well, dancing ladies. I’m always anxious to try new plants that are proven in this area… so I searched for that one too!

Another plant I saw in this group that I had to have is cat’s whiskers. I really need to stay off facebook… too much plant envy! lol. I may have seen this one in the nursery in the past but, I live in the post-pandemic world of I need it today and I want it to be delivered to my doorstep! I will say that I assured all the vendors reside in Florida… and they did: one in Palm Beach, one in Manatee county, and the other in Fort Myers.

white cat's whiskers
white cat’s whiskers
dancing ladies orchid
dancing ladies orchid

I found rooted cat’s whiskers and a potted Dancing Ladies on etsy. My night blooming cereus that I purchased on etsy had just bloomed on its 11-month anniversary so I’m happy with my service there so far. Click here to read about my night blooming cereus flower experience.

night blooming cereus in bloom
night blooming cereus in bloom

I was much more concerned about ordering, not only from eBay… but I HAD NEVER ORDERED CUTTINGS in the mail. But, for $17, I was willing to take the risk.

Well, they didn’t exactly come to my door. All of the packages were shipped USPS and our mailboxes are a mile up a dirt road. We don’t have the luxury of the United States postal service delivering to our front porch or front gate the way that amazon, UPS, and Fed-Ex do… so this shipping method made me nervous for the live plants. In addition, it is severely hot outside, so even if they could leave the plants in the mailbox, they would certainly overheat. And if they delivered over the weekend or I missed the orange slip in the mailbox, I might have to wait an entire weekend to pick the thirsty plants up.

Fortunately, my stepfather ran to the post office and picked up the etsy packages. The parcel I was most concerned about came on a Friday, the day after the other package. The post office is twenty minutes away and seems like such a hassle. However, my son picked that up for me on a Saturday morning.

The white cat’s whiskers were rooted but most of the soil was removed from the plant. It was still moist and wrapped in paper towls then banded up in plastic wrap. It was securely affixed to the carton packaging and was beautifully intact and healthy upon arrival. There were two plants but I had only ordered one! Bonus. I took these out to my greenhouse and potted them in good potting soil, then gave them a long drink and placed them in partial shade in a wooded nursery area.

The dancing ladies orchid was in a pot, wrapped in tissue paper with a bow tied around the packaging. A thank you note adorned the plant. It even had a plastic label stake, so I knew what the plant was. It was gorgeous This plant also looked nice and full as if I could separate it into two… if not now, in the short run. I decided to leave the plant be until if recovered from its journey. After a couple of days, I repotted the plant into an orchid pot filled with orchid soil… a mixture of perlite, bark, coconut coir, and charred wood (charcoal). I set them alongside the cat’s whiskers in the wooded shade garden area.

The last package, the Brazilian Red Cloak had me the most nervous. When I unpacked the plants, instead of 10 there were 17 cuttings! They were not shriveled up and faded… on the contrary, they appeared to be healthy and vigorous. I set them in a glass of water before taking them out to get potted. The vendor had correctly cut the leaves as they were way to big. The plants don’t need that much leaf material for photosynthesis in this state.

After dipping them in powdered rooting hormone, I placed the cuttings in good potting soil, gave them a drink, and set them in the woods. I used to be religious about bagging them in plastic to retain the moisture, but I decided to promise to keep them moist until they take root. I have had so much luck just cutting plants and sticking them in the sugar sand here that putting these in good soil seemed like a luxury!

Well, I’m happy to say, that five days out, all of the ebay and etsy plants are thriving happily!… even the cuttings. Of course, I will keep nursing them until they are ready to be planted in the landscape. At that time, I’ll keep you posted with another article and video!

Would I order cuttings again from eBay? Heck yeah!

Happy planting!

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