Catalogs offering garden plants for sale have been around for hundreds of years. My guess is that ever since the first one came off the press, gardeners have wondered which ones could be trusted and which ones were frauds.
As always, the reassuring words of other gardeners is the best way to determine whom to order from. One source of “Garden Catalog Ratings” is Dave’s Garden ‘Garden Watchdog’.
A second option is to deal with companies who are members of the Mail Order Gardening Association.
It’s self-described as “a member organization of mailorder gardening and garden magazine companies. The ultimate goal of the MGA is to provide the finest gardening products, information, and service through the catalogs and magazines of its members.”
If you are contemplating ordering plants by mail, either of these sites offer good guidance in separating the good companies from the bad.