Packing Your Plants for Shipping

We are serious about making sure that your plants arrive alive, healthy and in good condition. Whether shipped in an actively growing state, or during dormancy, successful delivery is essential. Boxed plants are carefully packed with "excelsior," a compostable material made of sustainably sourced Poplar. The material is filled around the sides and on top, to minimize movement of the plants during shipping. Depending upon the species and time of year, plants may be trimmed-back to better fit into the box.

Plant Roots

The first example below shows a vigorous looking white root. The second example, shows the naturally dark brown roots of Prairie Dropseed. Both examples are alive and healthy, and illustrate some of the natural variation in root color of healthy roots. Rest assured that plants you receive are ready to spring to life once planted! 

3" and 4" Potted Plants

Most of our plants are potted and shipped in 3" pots, and some in 4" pots. Plants are shipped at different stages in their growth cycle, depending upon the time of year. Occasionally, plants are shipped in a dormant state and may appear lifeless. However, the roots are alive and the tops will grow when they're planted.

Early spring shipments sometimes include plants that are just beginning to emerge. The dormant Liatris plant, above left, looks like a mere stick. But leaves will appear (center image) as the dormant plant begins to wake-up. The Liatris plant on the right is fully leafed-out. Fall-shipped plants are likely to include species that are finished growing for the season, and are heading into dormancy. If you receive dormant plants, don't worry, we guarantee that you are receiving viable live plant material. Just plant them with the usual care and expect the green spikes to emerge on schedule.

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. Below are 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 below is trimmed-back and ready to be packed for shipping. Larger plants are sometimes trimmed-back before they are packed for shipping, which not only allows larger plants to fit in the boxes without breakage, but can help them conserve energy during the transportation and transplanting period. Once they are planted, all of their energy will spur healthy new plant growth, rather than recovering, or restoring any damaged growth. Read our Plant Guarantee for more information.

Packing Shrubs

Shrubs are packaged with either one or two shrubs per box. The video below shows Addie (one of our shrub packing specialist) packing two shrubs in a box. In the photos series she is packing one shrub per box. Thanks Addie!

or create an account to submit a question.