Frequently Asked Questions
When do plants start shipping in the Spring?
Spring shipping begins at the end of February for certain plants and for the warmest climates. Shipping to your zip code takes place after the last estimated frost date, unless you specify a particular ship date at checkout. Find your last estimated frost date by entering your zipcode here: Frostdate
How big are the plants?
The plant size depends on the type of plant, growth characteristics, time of year, and batch cycle.
- Most plants are shipped in 3.5 inch pots (shrubs and trees in various tree-pot sizes). The product page for each plant will specify the pot size if different from 3.5".
- Most plants are at least 4 inches tall before shipment (or 4 inch spread depending on growth habit)
- Usually our plants range from 6-24 inches tall (shrubs can be taller)
- Plants shipped in early spring are usually smaller than late spring and summer plants
- Some perennials simply won't grow much their first year
- Please contact us if you need to know the plant size we are selling of an individual variety at any given time
How are the plants shipped?
- Our plants are shipped in their growing containers (not bareroot)
- The plants are specially wrapped to hold in moisture and protect the leaves
- We ship either through USPS or UPS, whichever will get the plants to you the fastest and safest depending on the size of your order and your distance from us
- We price and plan our shipping for 1-3 day delivery to keep the plants from being in a box longer than 3 days
- If plants arrive late due to postal failures, we will replace any plants that are damaged or dead at no cost to you.
How much water do I give my new plants?
All plants should be watered as soon as they start to dry out in their shipping pots. All of them should be watered thoroughly as soon as they are transplanted. This helps settle the soil around the root ball. From that point on it depends on the plant preferences and your weather. One thing to be aware of is that even drought tolerant plants may need to be watered during dry spells for the first few months while getting established. They need a chance to spread their roots out and down from the original root ball before they can support the top growth during droughts.
How do you get rid of aphids?
There are several ways to handle aphids on milkweed. This article covers several different options for your consideration: How to Get Rid of Aphids on Milkweed The main methods we use here are manually squishing them or spraying with Safer Insecticidal Soap. Safer Insecticidal soap (without the Pyrethrin) is literally just a soap, safe for most plants, that should be applied to thoroughly coat the aphids, then rinsed off after the aphids are dead or after the soap has dried (15-30 min). The soap is completely safe to use when you do not have active butterfly egg/caterpillar activity on the milkweed - it washes off.
When should I plant my seeds?
Specific instructions can be found on each product page but in general: Annuals - Seeds should be planted outdoors in the spring after your last frost, or you can start them indoors in a sunny window about 6-8 weeks before your last frost. Perennial seeds that need cold stratification - Several options:
- Fall-planted: Plant outdoors after your first frost
- Winter sown: Start Your Garden in January with Winter Sowing
- Cold stratification: You can do this anytime before you want to plant. If you want to start your seeds early indoors for spring planting then back out the amount of time you need to start your cold stratification. For example:
- Find your last frost date by entering your zip code here: Frost dates
- Plan to plant your seeds indoors 6-8 weeks (or whatever you prefer) before your last frost date. This new date will be when you want your seeds to be done stratifying so they are ready to go in the dirt on this date.
- Find out how long your seeds need to be stratified and back that time up from the date you want them to go into the dirt. Start stratification such that your seeds will be done stratifying on the date you want to plant them in the dirt: How to Cold Stratify Seeds
- Summer planting: Perennials seeds should be planted in the ground several months before your first fall frost so the plants have time to establish before winter. If you do not have time to stratify them and get them planted before mid summer then it is probably best to wait and plant the seeds in the fall for spring growth.
Why are the leaves on my plant turning yellow?
There are many reasons leaves will turn yellow:
- The most common reason is watering stress - overwatering or underwatering. Make sure you know the needs of your plant. Some like it dry between waterings, some like to stay moist, and others require wet conditions to thrive. Our product page for each plant will let you know what your plant prefers.
- We ship our plants in small pots. Sometimes the plant itself is rather large and very ready to get out of that pot! Pot-up your plant in a larger container or in the ground as soon as possible. Taking care of a large plant in a small pot can be quite challenging with manage watering, nutrients, soil pH, and other conditions - all of which can contribute to yellowing leaves.
- Root diseases can cause yellowing leaves. We are constantly monitoring the roots of our plants because it has such a large effect on the overall health of the plant. Overwatering and/or poor drainage can cause root damage. If root damage has occurred, then simply reducing the watering frequency may not be enough. You may have to dig the plant up, cut off any unhealthy (mushy) roots and replant in fresh soil if there are still good roots (firm) left.
- Nutrients (fertilizer levels, too high or too low) can cause yellowing of leaves. If potting into containers, make sure you use potting mix with fertilizer or add some to the soil if it doesn't already have some mixed in. It is beneficial to mix compost in around the plant when planting in the ground.
- Some yellowing and dropping of lower leaves is normal as a plant is growing. Shipping and transplanting can affect this as well. This should just be the loss of a few leaves from the lowest leaves and should not continue up the plant. If it is continuing up the plant it could be watering issues or an insect such as spider mites.
- Several of the milkweed perennial species we carry will tend to die back during their first summer. We often see die-back in the middle of the summer of first year milkweed plants. The amazing thing is, all we have to do is cut them down to about an inch from the ground and they send out new shoots from their roots - even in the small pots! Common, Prairie, Showy, Green and Purple Milkweed will often appear to be dying, only to send out more mature shoots from the ground in a few weeks!
Do you use pesticides?
We are required by law to treat the soil (not the plants) for fire ants and Japanese Beetle larva in order to ship to other states. The treatment is only active for a few months and is non systemic - which means it is not taken up by the plant through the roots. The plant, and thus all the caterpillars and pollinators, never know it is there. We are grateful that our state does not require any other treatments in order to ship our plants around the country. We also use insecticidal soaps against aphids. Insecticidal soaps fall under the description of "insecticide" or "pesticide" but they are an organic and safe alternative to the wide variety of chemical pesticides used by most other commercial growers. Insecticidal soap is literally a pure form of soap that rinses off the plant. We pledge to always sell plants that are safe for all pollinators and caterpillars. This is the heart of our business - providing safe plants for the butterflies!