When Your Plants and Bulbs Arrive
Healthy bulbs are firm without any soft or mushy spots. Some surface mold is natural and won’t affect growth.
Bareroot plants may look like a lifeless jumble of roots, but the plants will grow vigorously once they’re in the ground.
The plants you receive may be dormant with no top growth or they may have been pruned back for the winter. However, the roots are healthy and ready to grow.
Open the shipping box right away and check the contents:
Fall-Planted Bulbs: Check to be sure all bulbs are in good shape. If any are mushy or soft, please contact us immediately. Plant your fall bulbs around the time of the first frosts, when evening temperatures average between 40° to 50° F. You can, if necessary, store bulbs for a month or longer if you keep them in a cool (room temperature), dry place. When in doubt, however, the bulbs belong in the ground. They won't last until next season.
Spring-Planted Bulbs: Check to be sure all bulbs are in good shape. If any are mushy or soft, please contact us immediately. Wait to plant the bulbs until all danger of frost has passed. In the meantime, store the bulbs at cool room temperature (60° to 65°F) in a dry, dark place.
Bareroot plants: Open the package and moisten the peat moss packing material if it’s dry, and then loosely rewrap the roots. Plant as soon as possible. In the meantime, keep the package in a cool place out of direct sun and protect from freezing.
Potted plants: Plants will arrive in one of three stages of growth depending on the plant and the time of year.
- Plants with green leafy growth: Wait to plant until after the last frost date.
- Plants with no top growth, or with dried-out foliage from the previous year: The plant is dormant and will sprout from the buds at the soil line. You can plant these dormant plants right away.
- Shrubs with bare twigs: The plant is dormant. Look for green buds or scrape the bark with your fingernail. If you see green tissue under the bark the plant is healthy. Plant as soon as possible.
In the meantime, keep plants in a cool room where they get some sun through a window, protect them from freezing and keep the soil moist but not soggy.
Choosing the Planting Site
Unless otherwise noted, most plants prefer moist but well-drained soil. Soggy soil can lead to rot. If your soil is wet consider planting in raised beds or in containers.
For full-sun plants, select a spot that gets at least 6 hours of sun per day. Part-sun plants grow best with a few hours of direct sun or dappled sun all day.
Preparing the Soil
Loosen soil in the planting bed to a depth of at least 8" and remove any weeds, rocks or other debris. You can mix in compost, other organic matter or slow-release fertilizer at this time.
Step-by-Step Planting Instructions