Sunday, December 8, 2019

Mountain Crest Gardens succulent mail order experience 👍

The wonderful thing about mail order is that it doesn't matter where you are. This is true not only for the buyer but also for the seller. Case in point: Mountain Crest Gardens, one of the bigger players in the online succulent business, is located in the small town of Fort Jones in a remote corner of northwestern California. Real estate is much cheaper there than in urban areas, allowing them to offer their plants at very competitive prices.

Coincidentally, Fort Jones is less than an hour's drive from my mother-in-law's house, and this summer she and I checked out Mountain Crest Gardens in person. Click here to read my post about our visit.

On online rating sites like Trustpilot, Shopper Approved, and Yelp, Mountain Crest Gardens has overwhelmingly positive reviews. Plant friends of mine who've ordered from them have been very pleased, not only with the quality of the plants but also with the packaging. If you think that latter is a trivial matter, you must not have ordered a lot of plants online. While some sellers have mastered the art of packaging plants securely for their arduous journey (Plant Delights and Annie's Annuals come to mind), others think sticking plants and a few wads of newspaper in a box is enough.

I hadn't really planned on ordering anything from Mountain Crest, knowing I'd visit them again in the spring, but when I saw their Black Friday deal—20% off and free shipping on orders over $49—I decided to bite. Better to give my money to a small family-owned business like Mountain Crest Gardens than ordering yet something else from Amazon.

Mountain Crest Gardens processed and shipped my plants in record time. The box arrived less than a week after I'd placed my order.

The first thing I do when I receive plants in the mail: I shake the box. In this case, there was no movement. Very good sign. This is what the inside looked like after I removed the top layer of packing peanuts (the biodegradable kind that dissolves in water):


The box itself can be recycled (duh, it's cardboard), and the materials inside—peanuts and shredded brown paper—can be composted. High marks for that.

The plants were wedged in tight in the bottom third of the box. Not one broken leaf (remarkable, considering echeveria leaves bruise and break easily), just a bit of loose soil. High marks for that as well.


Here are my purchases after I took them out of the box:



Next step: repotting. Since the plants pretty much filled the plastic containers they came in, I put them in larger pots and used a richer mix than I usually would because I'm planning on keeping them inside the house for the winter so they can bulk up. With rain forecast, I left them out all night so they could get a good soaking. The next morning, they looked squeaky clean and sparkly.



This is Echeveria 'Raindrop', so named because it has occasional bumps (called “caruncles”) on its leaves. A bit hard to tell in this photo because there are real raindrops as well.

Most of the plants I ordered are echeverias in various shapes, colors, and mature sizes. They'll go outside in the spring, either in the ground or in a shallow bowl.

But two plants fall squarely in the rare and usual category: Prometheum muratdaghense and Rosularia platyphylla. You've never heard of them before? I hadn't either. Both are members of the Crassula family (Crassulaceae) and are closely related to sedum. According to the Mountain Crest Gardens web site, they are extremely cold-hardy (down to -20°F!) groundcover succulents from Turkey and Armenia that form mats no more than 4" tall. That makes them ideal for tucking into crevices or having them spill over a rock. I aim to put mine in the newly renovated succulent bed next to the front door.

For reference (mostly mine), here are the plants I bought:
  • Echeveria 'Blue Atoll'
  • Echeveria 'Blue Dude'
  • Echeveria 'Dusty Rose'
  • Echeveria 'Hercules'
  • Echeveria 'Raindrops'
  • Echeveria lilacina
  • Echeveria subalpina
  • Graptoveria 'Bashful'
  • Prometheum muratdaghense
  • Rosularia platyphylla

After I'd had such a good visit to their Fort Jones greenhouses earlier in the year, I was a bit concerned that my mail order experience might not live up to my expectations. There was no need to worry. In fact, I'm happy to second all the accolades Mountain Crest Gardens has received online. It makes me feel great being able to recommend a small business that does everything right: a large selection of plants, competitive prices, and great shipping.


© Gerhard Bock, 2019. All rights reserved. No part of the materials available through www.succulentsandmore.com may be copied, photocopied, reproduced, translated or reduced to any electronic medium or machine-readable form, in whole or in part, without prior written consent of Gerhard Bock. Any other reproduction in any form without the permission of Gerhard Bock is prohibited. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States and international copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Gerhard Bock. If you are reading this post on a website other than www.succulentsandmore.com, please be advised that that site is using my content without my permission. Any unauthorized use will be reported.

6 comments:

  1. I'll add my own endorsement. I ordered plants on Black Friday as a Christmas gift for a friend and everything arrived in perfect condition. This is the second time I've ordered from them and I was pleased both times, especially with the disintegrating packing peanuts.

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  2. Beautiful healthy looking plants. Always hesitate about mail order due to the packing material but love the idea of the biodegradable packing peanuts,paper and cardboard as compostable

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    1. To me, this shows that they really care about plants, the environment, and their customers.

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  3. What!? Prometheum muratdaghense and Rosularia platyphylla where have you been all my life? Then again, maybe they're like Orostachys iwarenge and even though they're fully hardy here they can't take the rain no matter how much I amend and try to ensure great drainage.

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    1. Keeping my fingers crossed about the Prometheum and Rosularia.

      I planted a couple of Orostachys not long ago. So far so good but it's only the beginning of the rainy season. In addition to the rain, I'm about our long hot summers...

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