It’s been happening for a while. I am guilty of using Amazon for garden hardware that’s kind of boring to shop for in person, like hoses, nozzles, timing systems, and the like. I have never shopped for plants there. But a recent article in the industry mag, Garden Center, reports on Amazon’s recent launch of the Amazon Plants Store, which invites consumers to shop for plants by brand, with the list including such well-known icons as Proven Winners.
Ordinarily, if you go to Amazon’s home and garden section, you’ll find a list on the left that includes plants, with items like trees, perennials, and shrubs. But click on trees and, most likely, the first item might be a book, with other choices including a bottle tree, solar lights, and fairy houses to hang on trees. It’s not much help and you’ll soon be headed to your local tree nursery.
The new Plants Store, however, focuses on live plants only. Except. After scrolling down past the grower logos, some plant images appeared, none of them plants I would ever think of for outdoor gardening purposes. They included a sago palm, a lucky bamboo, a bunch of orchids, and some other tropicals, all mixed in with Knockouts and azaleas. This is not the way I like to shop for plants. My favorite IGC has separate areas for these things and they are arranged in a way that makes sense, something that Amazon’s algorithms are incapable of, by definition. Amazon just doesn’t work that way, which can be fun when you’re looking for books or face cream.
I am a big online shopper for bulbs, and, occasionally, annuals or perennials I can’t find anywhere else. But, by far, the bulk of my shopping is done in person, at local IGCs and I do not see that changing.
Here’s my favorite quote from the Garden Center article, from a retailer who sells both ways: “We kind of like Amazon, and we kind of feel like we don’t like Amazon. It’s a really weird relationship.” That sounds about right.
Otherwise, I’m envisioning hordes of newbie gardeners filling their yards with orchids, sago palms, and lucky bamboo.