How Our Plants Are Shipped

We ship our plants in different forms, depending upon the type of plant and the time of year.

Our goal is to ship the plants in a form that minimizes transplant shock, so they can adapt quickly to their new home in your garden. The plants we send may range from being in a dormant (resting) state in early spring, to being fully leafed out and actively growing later in the spring or fall. However, you can be confident that all of your new plants are ready to spring to life once they're planted. In fact, sending smaller, dormant plants often helps them grow with a youthful vigor once they're planted. 

Please give your potted perennial plants and bareroot plants at least 3 weeks after planting to become established in your garden and show signs of life. Perennials may not bloom until their second growing season and take two or three years to fully mature.

To determine how your plant will be shipped: On any product page, look under "Planting Information" for the "Ships as" box. It will say "Potted Plant," "Bareroot," "Bulb, Rhizome, Tuber," or "Planting Kit." 

Read on to review how we ship our plants:

 

 

 

 

small plant ready to plantsmall plant ready to plant
A small plant with healthy roots, like the ones we ship, will quickly outgrow larger plants that are rootbound.
bareroot perennialbareroot perennial
Bareroot perennials have extensive root systems, acclimate quickly, and are often the most economical form to purchase.
bulbsbulbs
Bulbs like this Liatris look inert, but will spring to life once planted. You may or may not see small sprouts.


Potted Plants

  • These plants are potted in a planting mix and have established root systems. 
  • They may be in a dormant state (like the plants in a winter garden) and in some cases the aboveground portions may have died back so the plant looks lifeless. 
  • However, like the perennial plants in your garden, the roots are alive and the tops will soon grow.

We ship our potted plants in one of three stages of growth, depending on the plant and the time of year.

  • Plants with fresh, leafy growth: These plants have already broken their dormancy and begun to grow. The new foliage is tender, so wait to plant them out in the garden until after the last frost date.
  • Plants with no top growth, or dry foliage from the previous year: These plants are dormant and will sprout from the buds at the soil line. If there are dried-out leaves, feel free to prune them off (as you might do to the perennials in your garden). Take care not to damage any small emerging shoots. You can plant these dormant plants right away; you don't need to wait until after the last frost date.

The roots are the most important part of the plant! To determine plant health, the best thing to do is to check the roots. White roots means that the plant will continue to have healthy growth in your garden.

Plants shipped in early spring may still be dormant:

dormant coralbellsdormant coralbells
Coralbells: Last year's foliage is shriveled...

Plants shipped a few weeks later may show more top growth:

new top growthnew top growth
but new leaves will soon emerge...

Plants shipped later in the season may be fully leafed out:

leafed out coralbellsleafed out coralbells
...and the plant will quickly fill out.
small top growth shasta daisysmall top growth shasta daisy
The top growth is just beginning to emerge on this Shasta daisy...
shasta daisy shootsshasta daisy shoots
...a few weeks later the shoots are growing strong...
large top growth daisylarge top growth daisy
...and several weeks later the plants have even more top growth.

 

Shrubs

  • Shrubs with bare twigs: These dormant plants lost their leaves last fall and will soon leaf out again. 
  • They may look lifeless, but if you examine them closely you may see green buds. Or, scrape the bark with your fingernail; if you see green tissue under the bark the plant is healthy. 
  • Plant these dormant plants as soon as possible.

The roots are the most important part of the plant! To determine plant health, the best thing to do is to check the roots. White roots means that the plant will continue to have healthy growth in your garden.

hibiscus roothibiscus root
Hibiscus: This hibiscus looks like a dead stick...
dormant hibiscusdormant hibiscus
... but it's just dormant. The roots are healthy...
sprouting hibiscussprouting hibiscus
... and the plant will soon sprout.
dormant shrrubdormant shrrub
This shrub is dormant, just as it would be if it overwintered in your garden.
sprouted shrubsprouted shrub
This shrub is being shipped later in the season, so it has sprouted leaves.
pruned shrubpruned shrub
This shrub has been pruned back hard but the roots are healthy and it will quickly sprout.


Bareroot Plants

  • These plants are dug after they go dormant in fall.
  • The soil is then washed from the roots and they're packed in moist wood shavings, shredded paper or peat moss. 
  • The plants may look like a bare stick but don't worry — once they're planted they'll grow quickly from the dormant buds and the stored energy in the roots.
bareroot astilbebareroot astilbe
Astilbe, bareroot
bareroot daylilybareroot daylily
Daylily, bareroot
peony barerootpeony bareroot
Peony, bareroot

"I purchased several bareroot perennials from American Meadows this spring. I was impressed by the quality of the product I received. Most bareroot plants I order via the Internet were quite small and took quite some time to establish. These were all quite large and in great condition. The ones I planted a couple of weeks ago are doing great." — "mikesmets," CT



Bulbs, Tubers and Rhyzomes (Fleshy Roots)

  • Some perennials survive winter by storing their energy in these underground bulb, tuber, or rhyzome structures. 
  • Like bareroot plants, these plants are dug after they go dormant in fall.
  • The soil is then washed from the bulb/tuber/rhyzomes and they're packed in moist wood shavings, shredded paper or peat moss. 
  • The plants may look bare but don't worry — once they're planted they'll quickly sprout and grow.

Check out these beautiful flowers, and their humble beginnings as bulbs or tubers:

Bulbs come in a range of shapes and sizes

Begonia, Lily, Anemone and Dahlia flowers & bulbs

lily bulblily bulb
Lily, bulb
liatris bulb and rootliatris bulb and root
Liatris, bulb/root
lily bulblily bulb
Lily, bulb
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