to Unpack your Plants:
take a moment to read this page.
You will have better results with
our plants if you do!
have what we believe is the best packing method in the business!
plant has a number of small bamboo stakes in them which keep them from
shifting in the box. Carefully lift out the
plant so you don't damage the foliage. We are obsessive when
placing the plants in the box not to damage a single leaf.
They can't shift during shipping so if they get damaged it's usually
because, in the excitement of the moment, the customer pulls them out with
a little too much enthusiasm or speed. (No blame here -- we get
excited too when something comes in the mail!) Just be gentle and go slowly! They're often
wedged in fairly snuggly to keep them from shifting. Use care, maybe
even wear gloves - the edges of our pots are sharp.
will have sphagnum packed over the soil to keep the soil in the pot and/or
to help support foliage. Remove the sphagnum very gently,
especially, if you don't see foliage -- there may be a plant just starting
to emerge beneath it.
plants have a plastic bag put around the pot (which needs to be
removed), over the sphagnum
and then yet another pot is placed over the original pot to hold the
plastic in place. Since
these photos were taken, we've substituted rubber bands for tape to hold
the plastic in place. Much easier to remove! As
you can see, the plants are extremely stable with this system. Even when
the Post Office turns the box upside down, they're safe.
foliage doesn't get crushed at all and with air holes in the box in
usually very happy traveling.
having said all of that in nauseating detail, occasionally your plants will arrive packed
somewhat differently because some plants simply won't work with this
Just go slowly and be gentle unpacking
Sometimes to get an odd shaped plant to ship safely, we're very creative!
Also occasionally, we add more soil under the root ball to raise
the plant up for packing rather than using Sphagnum over the
soil. This would be common for a very well rooted plant with
multiple stems that only needs the rubber bands to hold it in and would be
tough to get Sphagnum around the stems.
foliage is often cut back for shipping. Too much foliage can simply
make the plant too thirsty to spend 2-3 days in a box without water.
Also, depending on the time of the year, we routinely cut plants back
because they've bloomed or because it makes them bushier and fuller. (We don't cut them
back for our convenience!) If they're cut back, they needed it and
will be better for it in the long run!
Plants grown in pots larger than a quart have extra soil knocked off before shipping which is customary in
the trade. They’re placed in a smaller
pot for shipping. Basically this only applies to Hostas or
Daylilies which we sometimes grow in larger pots.
very proud of our packing system, designed in part based on a suggestion
from a customer - just in case you don't think we listen to you - we do! We
have almost no damage to plants. Once last year a box appeared to
have been crushed in a truck door but even then, the customer said the plants
were fine. Ditto, for the plants shipped to Georgia in a box that arrived
so wet that the customer said the box looked more like a bag than a box
but, again, no damage to the plants!
guarantee that our plants are healthy
when shipped, arrive in good condition and are true to name but we can’t guarantee your gardening/watering
abilities, what the neighborhood dog might do, vole or deer damage, etc.
Basically, once they’re in your care, like a baby or a puppy or a
goldfish, the plants
are your responsibility!
If the shipper damages
your shipment, let us know
RIGHT AWAY -- not weeks later -- so that we can
tell you what to do and/or ship replacements. Luckily, with our new packing system, it is extremely
rare for anything to arrive damaged. However...
do reserve the right to request return of damaged or unsatisfactory plants
at our expense. Often we can revive them and/or at least try to
determine what happened to prevent it's occurrence.
to Care for and Plant your New Plants:
When they arrive, unpack them,
give them a drink if they need it after you remove the plastic bag
sandwiched between the two pots.
Then place them out of direct sun but in good
light and out of strong wind for a day or two. Remember, they’ve
been in pretty much complete darkness for several days. Gradually move
them from the protected spot into conditions where they’re going to
live. If somehow, a plant is really, really dry, see instructions at
the bottom of the page. (This almost never happens.)
Plants (if it's summer, skip down
Most of our SPRING plants need to
be ‘hardened off’ against full, outdoor sun and/or strong wind in.
In early spring, our plants are accustomed to 35 degree nights inside
the greenhouse. (And occasionally 65 degrees on nights that it snows to melt
the snow off of the houses.) Most have not been exposed to wind or direct outside sun.
If you live in places hotter than we are at
the time (check the weather channel) and sunnier or at much higher
instance Denver, keep this in mind and gradually introduce them to your
Watch for frost warnings if you’re
still having frost and place something over them. Our favorite cover
is a cardboard box with a brick or rock on top. If you have
lots of new plants, try large coffee filters with the edges held down with
mulch or soil.
Plants - especially for
low humidity/high altitude locations
No special care needed other than the day or two in light shade to
acclimate from being in the box unless you're in an extremely different
climate in which case you may need to spend a bit more time acclimatizing
In summer, our plants can easily take 90+ degree weather in full sun (if
they're sun plants) however, it's 90 degree weather with HIGH humidity
here at a low altitude. If you're somewhere that's it's 90 and low
or no humidity and maybe a high altitude where the sun is stronger, the
plants will have to make a supervised adjustment and will have higher
water needs for awhile.
plants - Spring, Summer, or Fall
sure to prepare your beds properly for you area.
many areas, soil prep can make the difference in success or failure.
We just can't emphasis this enough. Soil prep is so important. You
wouldn't move into a shack and expect to patch on it over and over while
you were living in it. The soil is your plant's home - build it
right in the first place!
Most plants will not survive in poorly drained soil. Following
is a general diagram of how to plant and mulch.
The 'raised mound' method, left, works for every garden/soil - with about
1/3 to 1/2 of the root ball out of the soil up in the 'good' mounded soil
and is absolutely NECESSARY FOR CLAY SOIL if you don't have raised
bed. This is our method of choice. It leaves a beautiful
smooth bed but does require a little more attention to watering the first
The middle method only works in well-drained soil or raised beds and tends
to channel a little more water toward the plant down in the 'bowl'.
The method on the right - with mulch over the root ball of the plant and
AGAINST THE STEM -- is a
sure way to kill them regardless of soil! Don't bury the plant under
deep mulch. The mulch must taper off toward the stem and NEVER TOUCH
After planting, while they’re getting established (usually for the first growing
season) plants need a good, deep watering once a week, either by you or Mother
Nature. This meets the plant's water needs AND encourages the plant
to grow deep roots as it searches for water near the end of the week as
the upper moisture is used up. Obviously, your weather may dictate
watering more often BUT light daily water just encourages shallow, weak
-- If you use liquid fertilizers, read
the directions. Very few people will stick with every week to 10
days, as the manufacturer recommends. This is why we’re so sold on Osmocote
14-14-14 Time-Release fertilizer. You apply it twice a year. Once in late
March and once in late June. And that’s it! You’re done. Liquid
fertilizers and organic fertilizers are fine BUT unless you’re consistent for the ENTIRE season
- spring through fall, you won’t get great results with liquid
fertilizers or even Organic Fertilizer (which also require much more
frequent applications - usually monthly). However, we love Seaweed/Fish Emulsion several times a
year for trace elements in addition to the Osomocote 14-14-14.
Occasionally, if we have them, we ship year older plants. You will be
able to tell -- they’ll be strongly rooted in -- possibly very tightly
rooted. Don’t worry -- just loosen the roots to let them know they’re
out of the pot and they’ll take right off. Don't cut them -- just loosen
them. The plant will have the
hormones and growth patterns of a gallon plant and will be a much stronger
grower than our newly potted plants. (Just don’t be alarmed at a tight
root mass if you get a plant like that --just loosen the roots, plant
it and stand back!)
Please read the descriptions on our
website if you’re unsure about the growing needs of your plants. (Trying
to grow a plant that wants sun, well-drained, neutral soil in shade and
poorly drained acid soil isn’t a formula for success!)
While we can’t do in-depth plant
consulting, (there are way too many of you and too few of us!), please
contact us if you’re having a truly serious problem with our
This is at the bottom because it's
rarely needed but it can also apply to your own plant(s) that get
What to do for a plant that arrived
REALLY dry or possibly damaged from heat in transit:
1. Water the plant well, but then
don't water it again until it needs it. This is the single
biggest error people make with very dry plants. We call it 'D&D'
-- Dry then Drowned! A weakened plant won't get better more quickly
if you give it tons of water, or even worse, leave it in standing
water. It, in effect, drowns. Just water it well, then wait
until it actually needs more water. That may be the next day but
maybe not, especially if it's in the shade. If there's been
severe foliage damage, the plant may not need water for days or even
weeks until it grows all new foliage!
Feel the pot, after you've watered
it really well to judge what a 'heavy' pot feels like. You want to
be sure the soil is thoroughly wet -- you may have to water, wait 10
minutes, water again since our pots are usually very full of soil.
You may want to submerge the pot in water until air bubbles stop coming
out of the soil. BUT then don't water it again until the pot feels
2. Place the plant out of wind, so
it can recuperate for a few days or longer.
FYI, a plant with no foliage has NO water needs. (Maybe the leaves got so dry, they fell
We repeat: No leaves = No water! Water the soil once, then
wait for new foliage to grow, keeping the pot watered ONLY when the soil
is dry and the pot is light.
Watering plants in quart pots is an
art. We consider watering here at the nursery to be one of the Most
If your plant arrives really dry or
heat damaged, PLEASE Contact Us.
It is our responsibility to replace
plants that are damaged in shipment but it's possible that the plant only
needs some TLC for a couple of days. Let us know as soon as the
shipment arrives if there's a problem so we can assist you.