Where Can I Buy Vegetable Garden Plants?

hands planting lettuce
  • 1-4 hours
  • Beginner
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In most parts of the country, growing a vegetable garden is a seasonally time-rich investment. Jumping past the seeds and planting starts is one shortcut to getting your garden underway. But where can you buy vegetable garden plants online?

There are actually more options for online plant ordering each year. While there are always options like the long-standing Burpee brand, there are many newcomers to the (online) market too.


Let’s start with perhaps the single most notable and well-established brand in the industry. Burpee has been around for generations. W. Atlee Burpee was first acknowledged for his poultry-breeding skills at the age of 16.

In 1876 he began a mail-order company for poultry, dogs, and sheep. When customers began asking him for quality feed, he rose to the occasion, and the Burpee Seed Company was born.

The company’s long-standing history and investment in research has made it a premier option for quality seeds and plants. In fact, the company is credited with developing many common plants, including the now ubiquitous iceberg lettuce.

The modern gardener is in good hands with selections from Burpee. Not only is there a wide variety of plant types, but the team at Burpee will hold plants in their greenhouse until the prime planting time in each customer’s region.

Plants are then shipped to arrive during the peak of gardening season so they can go directly into the ground.

Burpee is probably best known for their tomato plants, which come in many varieties, including cherry tomatoes, sauce tomatoes, sungolds, steakhouse, early girl, brandywine, romas, better boy, and big mama, to name a few.

You can also score long-season plants after they’ve been nurtured from seed to plants. Look for peppers like sweet peppers, poblano, pepperoncini, serrano, banana, and more.

If you’re an eggplant fan, you’ll find several options to choose from at Burpee.

Bonnie Plants

The company’s story begins in 1918, when settlers Bonnie and Livingston Paulk planted cabbage seeds with the little money they’d arrived with and were able to sell the resulting harvest at a profit.

Within a few years, the couple’s endeavor had expanded to include a team of workers and several other vegetable products. Today, the company provides the entire United States and Canada with nearly 300 plant varieties, including Organics.

Bonnie Plants are also sold at many local garden centers, making them a trusted and easily identifiable brand.

Starter plants arrive in convenient packaging, mostly bundled as two plants together. Take a look at tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, lettuces, broccoli, bush beans, cucumber, brussels sprouts, onions, corn, okra, greens, cabbage, and many others.

Grow Joy

Grow Joy started with the gardening passion of founder Joe Stutzman, and has developed into a product line of around 200 plant options a short 15 years later.

When it comes to vegetable garden plants, Grow Joy offers asparagus, beans, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, gourds, peas, pumpkins, potatoes, corn, turnips, and many others.

Some other online seed and plant companies to check out include Gurney’s, A Tasteful Garden, Piedmont Farm and Garden Supply Company, and Hirt’s Gardens.

Pros of Ordering Vegetable Garden Plants Online

There are advantages to having ready-to-plant plants delivered to your home.

1. Obviously it’s more convenient than trekking around from garden center to garden center, so ordering online saves you time and gas money.

2. You also know exactly what to expect from your order. When you head out to the local store, you have no way of knowing what they will have in stock until you arrive. When shopping online, you can choose the number of plants you need and select specific varieties too.

3. Overall, you will find more options online.

Since plants and seeds are at the core of these businesses, it’s all they do. They aren’t also trying to sell garden furniture or pathway stones or solar lights. They sell plants and gardening supplies.

That means they offer a depth of product. For example, rather than offering two or three varieties of tomatoes, they will have a dozen or more. They will also offer hybrids and specialty vegetables you may not be able to find elsewhere.

4. You’ll likely get a guarantee.

Most plants you buy online will come with a satisfaction guarantee. If your plants arrive wilty or dead, you can get a refund. Oftentimes if your plant doesn’t survive the season or if it fails to produce, you will be entitled to a refund too.

Note that some box stores and nurseries will offer a similar guarantee. Just be sure to keep your receipt if that’s the case.

Cons of Ordering Vegetable Garden Plants Online

There really aren’t very many reasons not to give it a try. Having plants delivered is convenient, and speeds you towards your goal of getting the garden growing. However, consider the following.

1. You don’t get to choose your specific plants. You’ll have to trust someone to choose them for you. It’s not a big deal, especially if they’re guaranteed, but if you want to begin your human/plant relationship by hand-selecting plants, this isn’t the way to go.

2. You’ll have to wait. Ordering plants online requires a bit of pre-planning. Unlike a run to the local plant store, having plants shipped can take days or weeks. It’s best to map out your garden early in the season. Then place your order and allow the company to decide the best time to ship to your region. You can spend your waiting time prepping the garden beds, stirring the compost, and building a garden fence.

hand planting vegetable seeds

What to Plant from Seeds

While buying plants that have already begun to grow will launch your gardening plans, you’ll be paying for the time and money that was required to grow those plants.

After all, before they arrive to you, those plants began as seeds, were nurtured under lights with the proper balance of nutrients, and nursed into perfect health. That costs you.

The other option is to grow plants yourself. However, depending on your growing situation, that might be excessively challenging.

For example, if you have a short growing season and haven’t yet invested in a greenhouse, slow-growing plants like peppers are going to struggle to mature before the end of your summer.

Other plants, however, are easier to grow from a seed and will likely thrive in just about any climate. Carrots and lettuce are two fast-growing vegetables that can be ready for harvest in less than two months.

Also research the preferred growing season for each vegetable. Cool weather crops can be planted as soon as you can work the ground, while warm-weather vegetables need to be planted later and won’t tolerate frosts early or late in the season.

When choosing seeds, look for the maturity date so you know what to expect. Carrots, for example, can be harvested between 60 and 80 days. You can also continuously plant a revolving supply of carrots so they have staggered maturity times, keeping you stocked throughout most of the season.

If you want to grow a portion of your garden from seeds, look to fast-growing, cool-weather crops like carrots, lettuce, chard, spinach, all types of lettuce, peas, radishes, and dwarf green beans. You may also find success with cucumbers, squash, and pumpkins.

Why Use Plant Starts

vegetable garden plant starts

Do You Have a Greenhouse?

A greenhouse can help you get a jump on your growing season. Creating an environment where seeds can germinate means you will have a wider variety of plants you can grow yourself. Start onions, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and more long before the soil is warm enough for transplanting.

If you don’t have a greenhouse, take advantage of vegetable garden plants sold online. If you enjoy gardening and plan to do more of it in the future, make plans to build a greenhouse next season.

Do You Have Space to Grow Vegetable Garden Plants?

Although a greenhouse might be the first thing that comes to mind when imagining shelves full of seedlings popping out of the soil as a start for your seasonal garden, many gardeners grow plants inside their homes as well.

Garden vegetables will germinate in a warm, moist environment. That means they can be tricked into thinking it’s time to convert from a sleepy seed to a thriving plant, even indoors. However, you’ll need to decide if you have the space to accommodate this endeavor.

Many gardeners use a window sill or a table placed near a sunny window. With persistence and a nurturing hand, this can be enough to grow some seeds. However, other plants will require growing lights and other aids in order to thrive.

If you have the space and the right system, growing your own plants can be a rewarding and cost-effective option. However, if this isn’t the case for you, ordering plants online might be a better solution.


Even within the same vegetable family, there can be a wide variation in maturity dates. For example, some tomatoes are ready for harvest in a short 60 days. Others require at least 85 days.

Most vegetables require full sun and many shouldn’t go into the ground until all threats of frost have passed. In an area where you can’t plant until mid-June and need to harvest by the end of August, you may have no choice but to buy plants for some types of vegetables.

Research each vegetable and use the maturity information to help you decide what vegetables to buy as plants and which foods to plant from seeds.

Where Can I Find Vegetable Plants Locally?

Ready to plant and don’t want to wait for a mail-order shipment? No problem. Most communities will have several options for sourcing vegetable garden plants. Start at your local farmer’s market. This may be an indoor or outdoor event.

It may be a large or small function. If you’re not aware of a farmer’s market in your area, contact a few farms to ask if they sell at one.

If not at a public market, see if your local farms sell directly to the public. That way you can take advantage of their expertise, and their greenhouses, to buy plant starts.

Large box stores are another option for sourcing vegetable plants. Check out the garden store at Lowe’s and Home Depot, which will likely have a wide variety of options as the planting season gets underway.

Also check out warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club, which stock vegetable starts seasonally and typically offer a comparable price.

Even large department stores with garden centers will feature vegetable starts in the spring and early summer. Look to big names like Kroger, Target, and Walmart.

hands planting pepper plant

When Should Vegetables Be Planted?

The answer to this question varies depending on your planting location. The first step in planning any successful garden is to have an idea of what will grow in your area. Garden centers and commercial plant growers try to make it easier for the consumer by labeling seeds and plants with a hardiness zone.

The label might read, “Zones 4-7” for example. If you aren’t familiar with hardiness zones, it’s time to visit the USDA Hardiness Map to find out where you lay. By inputting your zip code, the map will show you which of the 11 zones you land in. With that information, all you have to do is match your zone with appropriate plants.

These same planting guidelines are available when ordering vegetable garden plants online, which is a big aid when planning your harvest for the year.

There is no single answer to the question regarding when you should plant your vegetables. In general, though, cool-weather vegetable plants can go in the ground between March and May.

Warm weather crops need to be planted after all risk of frost has passed and the ground can be worked easily. Plan for May to July depending on where you live.

Also note many cold weather vegetable plants can be planted again in the fall, following the harvest of warm-weather produce and before the freezing weather settles in.

Planting your own vegetable garden is a great way to provide healthy food for your family and save on the grocery bill. Up your gardening game with additional information about The Hardiest Vegetables, how to Plant a Vertical Vegetable Garden, and get some Beginning Vegetable Gardening Tips.