Shipping Information

Prairie Nursery wants the plants that you purchase to arrive in good, healthy condition, whether shipped to you in an actively growing green state, or during dormancy.

Packing Your Plants for Shipping


We use recyclable packing material, and the pots are made from recycled plastic. Sometimes, depending upon the species and time of year, plants are trimmed back to better fit into the box.


In the example above, Angel is holding a box that contains Solomon's Seal (a species that does not get trimmed back). Boxed plants are carefully packed with a recyclable fill material, around the sides and on top, to minimize movement during shipping.

Plant Roots

The plants you receive can range from being fully leafed out and actively growing, to being in a dormant (resting) state, showing few if any signs of life. However, you can be assured that all our plants are ready to spring to life once planted!


The plant on the left has a vigorous looking white root, while the Prairie Dropseed on the right, has naturally brown roots that can be the cause of doubt, but they are both alive and healthy!

3" and 4" Potted Plants

Most of our plants are potted and shipped in 3" or 4" pot sizes. Plants are shipped at varying stages in their growth depending upon the time of year and how far along they are in their growing cycle. Sometimes the plants are shipped in a dormant or resting (winter) state and may appear lifeless. However, the roots are alive and the tops will soon grow when planted:

The dormant New Jersey Tea plant on the left looks like a mere stick. But leaves will appear (the center image) as the dormant plant begins to "wake-up." At right the New Jersey Tea plant is fully leafed-out. During spring you may receive dormant plants when they are starting to emerge. During autumn the plants you receive are likely to be in a dormant state as the plants prepare for winter. But have faith, they will re-emerge in spring!


From dormant to fully leafed-out phases of Liatris.

Bareroot Plants


Bareroot plants are dug after they go dormant in fall. The roots are then cleaned off and packed in moist wood shavings, shredded paper or peat moss. Above are various examples of rhizomatous and fibrous bareroot stock. Once planted they grow quickly from the stored energy in the roots.

Trimmed Plants


The tray of Penstemons on the left is trimmed back and ready to be packed for shipping. The plant on the right, though it looks a little scary, is simply a dormant Prairie Dropseed plant. If you receive a dormant grass, don't worry, we guarantee that you are receiving viable live plant material. Just plant it as usual and wait for the green spikes to emerge.

There's more information in our resources section: Transplanting instructions for potted plants and bareroot plants...