Frequently Asked Questions

Viewing Plants

Where can I see the beautiful plants in your catalog and website growing closer to home?

You may contact your Local County Extension Agent. They can answer most gardening questions and direct you to gardening clubs in your area. Visit your state university online to see if the plants you are interested in are planted in their research or display gardens or visit your regional botanical center.

Finding Plants

How do I know if you sell a particular plant?

Using the search box near the top of the page, enter the plant you are interested in and click “Search”.

How can I tell if a plant is in stock?

If our website will allow you to purchase the item, we have it in stock. The website will not sell you anything that isn’t available.

You can also tell which products are sold out because the product will tell you that it’s sold out on the search results and the product details pages.

Shopping Online

Is there a minimum shipping amount?

No, there is no minimum shipping amount.

Are plants shipped year round?

We ship live plants from late February until the last week in June. This allows the plants to travel to destinations, avoiding extreme summer temperatures while in transit. We resume shipping in mid August until mid November, earlier for colder zones and later for warmer zones. However, hard goods can be ordered and shipped year round. Fall planted bulbs are only available for ordering and shipping during the fall shipping season. For more information and specific dates, see: Shipping Information

How do you ship?

We use multiple shippers. We ship the plants with the carrier who will provide the quickest and most beneficial shipping for the plants. For more information, see our Shipping Information page.

What is your guarantee?

If the plants fail within one year from shipment you can chose one of the following options: to have a High Country Gardens credit issued, to receive a one-time replacement plant if available, or a refund. Our guarantee does not cover loss due to neglect, severe weather or animals. For more information, see: Our Guarantee

Payment: When will my credit card be charged?

Your advance order allows us to make growing commitments for our perennial nurseries and Dutch bulb growers. As has been traditional in the mail-order business for many years, your credit card is charged when you place your order through our secure servers. This allows us to accurately project inventory. We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover.

What is your cancellation policy?

If you need to cancel your order, please notify us one week prior to your shipping date.

Do you offer wholesale prices?

Currently we do not offer wholesale prices.

How safe is your site?

Our cart uses SSL encryption to ensure that no one can eavesdrop and get access to your personal information. In addition, we never store your credit card information, because we want to ensure that your account number will not fall into the wrong hands. The information is sent securely to the card processor, and is never stored by our files or databases.

I put something in my cart, but then when I went to look at my cart, it said it was empty. What's going on?

You probably have cookies turned off in your browser. Our website needs to set a cookie in order to keep track of your shopping session. Please make sure that you aren’t blocking cookies from our site and try again.

How do I redeem my gift certificate online?

Enter your gift certificate number in the gift card field at checkout.

Where do I create a shipping address?

To send your order to a shipping address different from your billing address, select "Different Ship Address" during the checkout process on the page where you enter your billing address.

How do I subscribe to your newsletter?

We offer a free monthly newsletter on-line. To subscribe, go to: Email Sign Up

Hardiness Zone

How do I determine my USDA plant hardiness zone?

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map refers to minimal temperatures reached during the winter months in your area. If you are unsure of how cold it has gotten in past years and how cold it can get, you can contact you Local County Extension Agent to find out that information. Below is a hardiness zone reference. You can also use our zone finder to determine your hardiness zone. Enter your zipcode, and the zone finder will tell you your hardiness zone. For more information, see: Choosing the Right Plants for your Region

Is there a difference between plant hardiness zones and climate zones?

Climate zones consider environmental conditions such as sunshine, elevation, temperatures, precipitation, humidity and wind. Similar climate zones contain similar native vegetation no matter where they are found in the world. Climate zones are used more frequently in the science disciplines in studies of indigenous species and habitats. Hardiness zones consider the minimum winter temperatures and are used more frequently in agriculture and horticulture to determine if an introduced species will survive in a particular environment. For more information, see: Choosing the Right Plants for your Region

Perennials

When should I transplant perennials?

Although early spring is the ideal time, you can transplant perennials at almost any time during the growing season. Avoid transplanting in summer when temperatures above 90 degrees or prolonged periods of drought are expected. Plants transplanted in the fall should have at least six weeks to establish viable root systems before the ground freezes.

When should perennials be pruned?

Perennials have different care requirements. Some need to be pruned in fall, others in spring. In general a good time is in spring. It helps your plant to over winter. You will then be able to tell what didn’t make it over the winter months and allow you to make way for new growth. Some perennials like to be cut back to the ground. Others need pruning 4-6” from the ground. There are also some that just need to have any dead growth cut off which can be taken off at any time.

When is the best time to plant roses?

The best time to plant roses is before or on Mother’s Day.

When is the best time to plant a Thyme lawn?

It depends on where you live. Thyme plants prefer moderate temperatures to establish themselves. If you live in zones 4-6, thyme should be planted in spring before the summer heat begins. If you live in zones 7-10, thyme can be planted in early spring or in fall after summer temperatures have begun to drop.

What is meant by the term "deadheading"?

Deadheading allows flowers to re-bloom and will continue to produce blooms for a longer period of time. To deadhead, you just remove the faded bloom by pinching or cutting it from the plant.

What does "Xeriscape" mean?

The word Xeriscape spawns from the Greek word "xeros" meaning dry and "scape" referring to landscape. Together it defines landscaping with water conservation both by plants and watering methods.

What does "Cutting propagated" mean?

A plant that is marked "Cutting propagated" refers to how we started the plant which is from a cutting from a parent plant.

What does "Seed propagated" mean?

Seed propagated is the method we used to develop that plant which it was started from seed.

What does "Division Propagated" mean?

We use division propagation methods on some plants, which is a method where a plant was divided to create another plant. This method is mostly used in development of Ornamental Grasses.

What is the definition of deer and rabbit resistant plants?

Our deer and rabbit resistant designation means that the plants are less likely to be eaten, not that they never will. Wildlife browsing habits change from region to region and season to season. Environmental conditions such as droughts, fires or development can have dramatic and unpredictable effects on wildlife feeding habits. Animals are more likely to eat tender new growth. Younger animals are more likely to taste a new plant in a garden than mature animals. Sometimes they will eat the plants to the ground and never touch them again. Consider protecting new growth and transplants until established. We recommend spraying with Deer Off to help protect plants in your garden.

Flower Bulbs

Why should spring blooming bulbs be planted in the fall?

Spring blooming bulbs need the cool temperatures and winter moisture to produce and store energy to bloom in the spring.

I need to transplant my bulbs. When is the best time to do it?

Feed the bulbs in early spring with a recommended bulb fertilizer or one low in nitrogen. Allow the bulbs to bloom as usual. Wait until the foliage dies back and separates easily from the bulb when given a gentle tug. If you cannot transplant them immediately, mark their location and transplant anytime through late summer. Fertilize again in fall.

Grasses

When should Buffalo and Blue Grama Grass be planted?

The ideal time to plant Buffalo and Blue Grama Grass is when nighttime temperatures are in the 50’s and 60’s at a constant of 6 to 8 weeks. Both Grasses are warm season and will germinate properly planted during warm temperatures.

What are the differences between warm and cool season grasses?

Warm season grasses are dormant from the first frost in fall until after the last frost in spring. They prefer warm summer temperatures and require less water during the growing season. Cool season grasses prefer the moderate temperatures of spring and fall. They stay green longer in the fall and break dormancy earlier in the spring. However, they go dormant during the heat of summer without copious amounts of water.

When is the best time to prune ornamental grasses?

Ornamental grasses provide visual interest and structure to the winter garden and the decomposing leaves feed the soil. You can cut back most ornamental grasses in the fall or in late spring unless a specific variety notes to be cut a specifically during one of those seasons.

Mulch and Fertilizing

When should I fertilize?

Fertilizing can be done in the spring and in the fall. We strongly recommend the use of natural and organic soil amendments and fertilizers to build healthy soil and provide vital plant nutrients. Never use chemical (synthetic) fertilizers on your soil. (They are OK for containers.) Fall is the best time to fertilize but mid-spring is OK if you forget.

Your company has a great selection of soil amendments and fertilizers. How do I know which is best for my situation?

To fertilize, top dress the soil with a blend of high quality compost and Yum Yum Mix in the fall (or mid-spring if you forget). Scratch it in lightly and water thoroughly.

When planting individual plants, a mix of compost, Yum Yum Mix and Plant Success Granular micorrhizal fungi into the bottom of the planting hole and back fill to get transplants off to a great start. For new beds dig the same soil amendments deeply into the soil just once. There after, don't disturb the soil again, just add Yum Yum Mix and compost as top dressing. The Root stimulator combo (SuperThrive and liquid seaweed) is very beneficial to jump start new root growth.

Should I mulch? What should I use?

Mulch is essential to successful gardening in the west. It conserves moisture by helping hold precipitation in the soil. It also helps by shading the soil from the sun’s heat, protects shallow plant roots from temperature extremes, suppresses weed growth and prevents rapid runoff of rainwater.

Good mulch materials are coarse compost, pine needles, shredded leaves, crushed nutshells and other organic materials that do not compact or smother the soil. Woven rot proof weed barriers can be used under mulching materials to further suppress weeds. Only permeable materials should be used under organic mulches.

Xeric species such as Penstemon, Agastache, Cacti, Succulents, Lavenders, Tanacetum, and rock garden plants are best mulched with crushed gravel. Apply a 3/8” to 2” layer depending on the size of the plants. Gravel mulch prevents crown rot from excessive winter moisture and it encourages reseeding.

How thick of a layer of mulch should I apply?

The depth of mulch to add depends on many factors. Consider the size and type of plants, the size of the mulch material and the purpose of the mulch. For most plant based (wood bark, nut shells, etc.) mulches a depth of 2-4 inches in recommended. For crushed gravel a depth of ¾ to 2 inches is acceptable. A thinner mulch layer is needed for smaller plants and finer mulch material. Thicker mulch is acceptable for larger plants, shrub and trees; coarser mulches and aggressive weed suppression.

How do I calculate how much mulch I will need on my perennial bed?

You must first calculate the area of the bed. Multiply the length by the width for rectangular shapes, Pi multiplied by the radius squared for circular shapes or ½ the width times the height for triangular shapes. One cubic yard equals 27 cubic feet. The following lists the coverage at various depths.

  • 1 cubic yard @ 4" thick covers 81 square feet
  • 1 cubic yard @ 3" thick covers 108 square feet
  • 1 cubic yard @ 2" thick covers 162 square feet

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