1) Box Stores are where plants go to die, often because under trained staff have little horticulture knowledge. By “rescuing” sick, clearance plants, you can introduce unwanted pests to your landscape. Generally, buying a heathy plant at a reputable nursery is a better investment.
2) Some box stores now work strictly on consignment, meaning growers have to eat the costs if the plants don’t sell. (or if their staff kill them before folks can purchase them) 😉 This puts an unnecessary burden on the grower and is an unfair business practice. (imho)
3) Box stores buy plants regionally, meaning their inventories are NOT well tailored to thrive locally. Although there have been improvements in recent years, many of these “bread and butter” plants are often short lived in our climate. Other times they sell plants that have little chance of surviving even one season. There is zero comparison to the plant selection at local nurseries. Local plant shops sell species that are best adapted to our area.
4) Buying from local nurseries (and garden clubs) supports our local economy and ensures that they can stay in business, providing a resource for higher quality plants AND educational resources season after season. Plus they sell the RIGHT Plants, in the RIGHT Season, setting gardeners up for success.
5) It’s silly. Would you go to a local nursery to buy lumber? Would you ask someone with limited financial knowledge to do your taxes? Could you imagine going to your mechanic and asking for a physical? As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. In this case the value added that you get from purchasing from a local nursery will pay dividends for seasons to come.