Receiving Your Baby Plants
Your plants will be shipped either in their container or bare root depending on the type of plant. Generally, bamboo plants are shipped in their container because they don't like root disturbance and bare root shipping would cause a lot of damage. Most other plants do just fine with bare root shipping because their roots are more flexible and less likely to break during transit. Small sized plants, usually in one and two gallon containers, can be shipped during the active growing season while larger plants are delayed until they are dormant in the fall and are shipped until spring.
Plants Shipped In Their ContainerPlants that are shipped in their containers don't need as much care right away as bare root plants. When you receive your package, take the plants out and remove any plastic wrapping and paper around the container. Place the plants in the shade and water them well. The sooner you can get them planted into the ground or larger containers the better. Keep in mind that all of our plants are watered using automatic irrigation systems, often daily during the heat of the summer but at much lower intervals during cooler periods to maintain a healthy level of moisture evenly. Getting the plants into the ground or potted into a larger container significantly lowers the risk of your plant drying out.
Plants Shipped Bare RootMore immediate attention should be given to plants shipped with washed bare roots. The first step is to remove the plastic wrap around the root ball and place the roots into water to soak for about fifteen minutes in the shade. Keep the leaves above the water level. You can either place your new plants directly into the ground or into containers. If planting into containers, try to keep them in the shade for a few days while your plants acclimate to your climate. If planting out directly into a hot and sunny area then it is usually best to shade the plant for several days using shade cloth. Another common strategy is to place larger potted plants right next to the newly planted starts for a few days to provide even just a little bit of shade.
Heeling In Dormant Plants
If you receive your plants during the dormant season, then you also have the option of storing your plants for a while with a process called "heeling in." Often this is done if the ground is too frozen to dig or even covered in snow. Heeling in your plants means that you are covering the roots with soil or another moist material with the tops in an upright position above the soil line, just like they have been planted. Then, they can be pulled back out and planted in their permanent location at any time before the plants begin to grow in the spring.
One of the easiest ways to heel in your plants is to use the box they came in. We usually use side loading boxes, so open one side and keep the other side closed on the ground. After removing the plastic around the roots, place the plants back into the box upright and fill the box with loose potting soil, coarse sand, perlite, or sawdust with the tops above the soil line. Water them in lightly and keep the box in a dark, cool location such as a garage or basement. Check the box periodically to ensure the soil remains moist.