by Wendy

Example of our Plant Pot Size
Our potted plants are shipped in Premium (5" deep 1 1/2 pints by volume), Standard (2.5" wide by 3.5" deep) and Cactus (2.5" x 2.5") size pots.

When you order from High Country Gardens, you'll receive a box of fresh and hardy plants or bulbs, ready to thrive in your garden. (Some of our customers have been known to do a box dance upon their arrival!)

How our plants ship in the box.
We take extreme care when shipping plants by mail with our specially designed boxes that carefully cradle the plants.

We Carefully Pack And Ship Your Plants At Planting Time

Fresh and hardy plants with strong root systems.
You'll receive fresh and hardy plants, with strong root systems, ready to thrive in your garden.

Open your box and plant right away! We schedule shipments based on the optimal, zone-appropriate time to plant them for your area--and timed to be well outside the chance of a hard frost. (If there is a chance of a hard freeze in the forecast, wait until it has passed before planting, so as not to damage the tender leaves.)

At High Country Gardens, we ship different plants in different forms, depending on which method causes the least stress to the plant.

Potted Plants:

Depending on the plant and the time of year, you’ll get plants in various stages of growth. Most perennial plants arrive with fresh, leafy top-growth have broken dormancy and begun to grow. Many times, just prior to shipping, we will cut the leafy growth of the plants back to better withstand shipping and to assist with transplanting. Don’t worry, these vigorous plants have healthy root systems and should establish themselves quickly once they’ve been planted in spring.

 

In fall, you may not see much top growth after transplanting. That’s because perennials planted in fall work to establish a strong root system first—but you’ll be rewarded with well-established plants the following growing season.

Dormant Plants:

Some of our plants ship dormant--the plant version of sleeping. These plants are slower to wake in spring, but have a robust root system and crown. Once ground temperatures warm, they will sprout from the buds at the soil line. Make sure not to damage any small emerging shoots. Plant these dormant plants right away. Don’t hold off planting them until they break dormancy or up pot them. These plants will have better success being planted in your garden and waking with Mother Nature’s prompting of longer days and warmer temperatures.

Milkweed (Asclepias) plants will often ship dormant. Don't worry, these plants have a healthy root system and are just "sleeping." Plant dormant plants immediately, as they will thrive best if they wake up in your garden.

Shrubs:

If shipped early in the growing season, these plants will likely be dormant. They will have lost their leaves in the previous fall, but will soon begin to leaf out again. If you scrape the bark with your fingernail, you should see fresh green healthy tissue under the bark. If you examine them closely you may see green buds that are starting to grow. Plant these dormant plants as soon as possible.

Bulbs, Tubers and Corms:

Flower bulbs contain buds surrounded by stored food to provide energy for growth. Sometimes it’s difficult to imagine one of these “lifeless” bulbs transforming into a lush, healthy plants, but rest assured, with the right care (just follow the instructions on the package) you’ll be rewarded with beautiful blooms.

Bulbs in a basket
We carry many spring and fall planted bulbs, which always delight with big, bright blooms.

Some of our "bulbs" are actually tubers or corms, but they're all planted underground. Healthy lower bulbs should be firm, with no mushy spots. Some bulbs may have a bit of surface mold; this is not harmful. Some types of bulbs have papery coverings, called tunics, that may flake off during handling with no harm to the bulbs. Don't peel them off if they aren't coming off on their own. A few bulbs (but not all) require soaking in water prior to planting. Only soak bulbs that specifically call for this step in the planting instructions. Some bulbs have visible buds or shoots but most don't show any signs of life until they're planted. Make sure not to damage these buds during planting.

Bareroot Plants:

In our experience, most of our perennial plants establish best when grown in pots--with a few exceptions. Only our Daylilies are sold as bareroot plants. Bareroots are just that—plants that have a strong root system, but the soil has been removed. Bareroot plants arrive in moist peat moss packing material; keep the peat moss moist (but not soaking wet) and the roots loosely wrapped to prevent them from drying out until you plant them.

Example of a Bareroot - Daylily
Our Dayliles are shipped as bareroots and should be planted as soon as possible after they arrive, as they are ready to grow.

Bareroot plants may not look a bit underwhelming, but rest assured, they will spring to life after being properly planted. You can spot a healthy bareroot plant by looking for small buds at the crown (where the roots meet the top growth) or on the roots themselves. Use your fingernail to nick the surface of a root; you may see some moist tissue underneath.

Establishing Your Xeric (Waterwise) Plants:

Though many of our plants are xeric, or waterwise, they will need supplemental water to get established. Water twice at planting time. To establish healthy perennials that have leafed out, continue watering 1-3 times per week, for the first 1-3 months, depending on whether or not you receive natural rainfall and how the plant appears. For dormant plants, they will need no additional water until new growth begins to emerge. For low desert regions, watering once every 2 weeks may be necessary if day temperatures are consistently above 80 degrees. (Watch our Gardening Videos for more information watering.)

Our plant shipments all include a comprehensive planting guide to assist you in successfully transplanting your new perennials and bulbs.

View our comprehensive Planting Guides and Gardening Videos for more guidance on planting, watering and care for your plants. Read more about dormancy in our article: Dormant Plants – How To Care For Your New “Sleeping Arrivals"

  1. Silver Artemisia Powis Castle, Artemisia Powis Castle, Silver Sage close up by customer Mike D.

    Powis Castle is a superb foliage plant with finely textured silver-gray foliage and an attractive mounding habit. Use this plant to accentuate ornamental grasses and other perennials...

    Learn More
    Powis Castle Artemisia Powis Castle Silver Sage Artemisia Powis Castle
    As low as $9.99 Sale $7.49
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    Powis Castle is a superb foliage plant with finely textured silver-gray foliage and an attractive mounding habit. Use this plant to accentuate ornamental grasses and other perennials with differently colored foliage. Drought resistant/drought tolerant plant (xeric).
    Learn More
  2. Nepeta faassenii Select Blue

    Nepeta 'Select Blue' (Select Blue Catmint) is a fantastic xeric perennial with dramatic lavender-blue flowers and handsome gray-green foliage. A recurrent bloomer, the first flush of...

    Learn More
    Select Blue Nepeta Select Blue Catmint Nepeta faassenii Select Blue
    As low as $9.99 Sale $7.49
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    Nepeta 'Select Blue' (Select Blue Catmint) is a fantastic xeric perennial with dramatic lavender-blue flowers and handsome gray-green foliage. A recurrent bloomer, the first flush of flowers comes in late spring, and again later in summer. A long-lived, easily grown perennial, this is an excellent plant for beginners.
    Learn More
  3. Marrubium rotundifolium, Photo Courtesy Of Plant Select

    Silver Edged Horehound is one our very best xeric groundcovers for poor soil areas with hot, sunny growing conditions. The soft felted leaves are green with a bright silver underside...

    Learn More
    Silver Edged Horehound (Marrubium) Silver Edged Horehound Marrubium rotundifolium
    As low as $8.99 Sale $7.19
    Per Plant - 2.5" Pot
    Silver Edged Horehound is one our very best xeric groundcovers for poor soil areas with hot, sunny growing conditions. The soft felted leaves are green with a bright silver underside that curls up to give the leaves a silver edge. Drought resistant/drought tolerant plant (xeric).
    Learn More
  4. Blue Allium azureum Bulbs, Allium azureum, Allium azureum Bulbs

    True-Blue Allium (Allium azureum) flowers are the gardener's holy grail, and this Siberian native provides them in abundance. Allium azureum (Ornamental Onion) is easily grown and de...

    Learn More
    True Blue Allium True Blue Ornamental Onion Allium azureum
    Sale Price I Save 15%
    $10.99 Sale $9.34
    Per Bag of 20
    True-Blue Allium (Allium azureum) flowers are the gardener's holy grail, and this Siberian native provides them in abundance. Allium azureum (Ornamental Onion) is easily grown and decorates the garden with plenty of 1 1/2" round flax-blue flowers.
    Learn More
  5. Pink and Blue Tulip Bulbs, Tulipa, Wildflower Tulip Bulbs Little Beauty

    Tulipa humilis Little Beauty has rich, reddish-pink petals and a bright blue-eyed center. A wonderful hybrid companion to 'Little Princess', this vigorous variety is a delight in the...

    Learn More
    Little Beauty Wildflower Tulip Little Beauty Wildflower Tulip Tulipa humilis Little Beauty
    Sale Price I Save 15%
    $9.99 Sale $8.49
    Per Bag of 15

    Tulipa humilis Little Beauty has rich, reddish-pink petals and a bright blue-eyed center. A wonderful hybrid companion to 'Little Princess', this vigorous variety is a delight in the garden. Fragrant. Looks wonderful planted in large groups.

    Learn More
  6. Papaver orientale Brilliant

    Brilliant Oriental Poppy was made famous by New Mexico artist Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings. Papaver orientale Brilliant blooms in late spring with huge scarlet-orange flowers and is ...

    Learn More
    Brilliant Oriental Poppy Brilliant Oriental Poppy Papaver orientale Brilliant
    Sale Price I Save 25%
    $11.99 Sale $8.99
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    Brilliant Oriental Poppy was made famous by New Mexico artist Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings. Papaver orientale Brilliant blooms in late spring with huge scarlet-orange flowers and is an outstanding variety.
    Learn More
  7. Aquilegia canadensis Little Lanterns Employee Photo From Our Test Gardens

    Little Lanterns is a dwarf selection of a columbine native to the Eastern US. The nodding bright red and yellow flowers appear in late spring and are magnets for hummingbirds....

    Learn More
    Little Lanterns Columbine Little Lanterns Columbine Aquilegia canadensis Little Lanterns
    Sale Price I Save 25%
    $10.99 Sale $8.24
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    Little Lanterns is a dwarf selection of a columbine native to the Eastern US. The nodding bright red and yellow flowers appear in late spring and are magnets for hummingbirds.
    Learn More
  8. Yellow Penstemon pinifolius Mersea Yellow, Penstemon pinifolius Mersea Yellow, Yellow Pineleaf Penstemon

    Penstemon pinifolius Mersea Yellow (Yellow Pineleaf Beardtongue) is an English selection of our native pineleaf Penstemon grown for its bright yellow tubular flowers that cover the p...

    Learn More
    Yellow Pineleaf Penstemon Yellow Pineleaf Beardtongue Penstemon pinifolius Mersea Yellow
    As low as $10.99 Sale $8.24
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    Penstemon pinifolius Mersea Yellow (Yellow Pineleaf Beardtongue) is an English selection of our native pineleaf Penstemon grown for its bright yellow tubular flowers that cover the plant in late spring/early summer. This small shrub has attractive evergreen, pine-needle like foliage and a tidy mounding for. Drought resistant/drought tolerant plant (xeric). 12" tall x 15" wide
    Learn More

© All articles are copyrighted by High Country Gardens. Republishing an entire High Country Gardens blog post or article is prohibited without written permission. Please feel free to share a short excerpt with a link back to the article on social media websites, such as Facebook and Pinterest.

For over 25 years, High Country Gardens has built our reputation by offering the best plants and gardening products available. When you order from us, we guarantee that you will receive the hardiest plants, bulbs, and seeds available, packed with care and ready to thrive in your garden. Read on to learn more about how our plants are grown, packed, and shipped. 

How Our Plants Are Grown

At High Country Gardens, we are committed to growing outstanding plants for your waterwise garden. Chief Horticulturist David Salman continues to develop and grow our unique palette of plants in New Mexico. And, at our nursery in Utah, we grow a wide range of plants and trial exciting new plant varieties.

Plant shipping size in containers at scalePlant shipping size in containers at scale

When you order from High Country Gardens, you'll receive a box of fresh and hardy plants or bulbs, ready to thrive in your garden. (Some of our customers have been known to do a box dance upon their arrival!)

Our potted plants are grown and delivered in three sizes:

  • Premium Pot (3.5" wide x 5" deep; 1 1/2 pints)
  • Standard Pot (2.5" wide x 3.5" deep)
  • Cactus Pot (2.5" wide x 2.5" deep)

Watch the video below to learn more about our pot sizes.

Plant shipping size in containers at scalePlant shipping size in containers at scale

Video: How We Grow Our Plants

 

How Our Plants Are Shipped

Our team carefully packs your plants for shipment, using specially designed packaging to carefully hold your plants in transit.

We schedule shipments based on USDA Zones. We ship your plants at the right time to plant in your area. (Of course, weather conditions are variable! In Spring, wait until after your last hard freeze to plant.)

Depending on time time of year and your plant's lifecycle, plants are shipped in different forms, using the the method that causes the least stress to the plant. Some plants may be shipped in a dormant state, which ensures the least amount of stress on your plant. Once planted in your garden, it can "wake up" from dormancy, ready to take off and thrive. Read on to learn more about how we ship potted plants, dormant plants, shrubs, and bareroot plants, bulbs, tubers, and corms. 

perennial plant in container showing root systemperennial plant in container showing root system
You'll receive fresh and hardy plants, with strong root systems, ready to thrive in your garden.
HCG plants being prepared for shipmentHCG plants being prepared for shipment
We take extreme care when shipping plants by mail with our specially designed boxes that carefully cradle the plants.

Potted Plants

Depending on the plant and the time of year, you’ll get plants in various stages of growth. Most perennial plants arrive with fresh, leafy top-growth have broken dormancy and begun to grow. Many times, just prior to shipping, we will cut the leafy growth of the plants back to better withstand shipping and to assist with transplanting. Don’t worry, these vigorous plants have healthy root systems and should establish themselves quickly once they’ve been planted.

In fall, you may not see much top growth after transplanting. That’s because perennials planted in fall work to establish a strong root system first, and you’ll be rewarded with well-established plants the following growing season.

potted plant ready for shippingpotted plant ready for shipping

Dormant Plants

Some of our plants ship dormant -- the plant version of sleeping. These plants are varieties that are slower to wake in spring. With a a robust root system and crown, once ground temperatures warm, they will sprout from the buds at the soil line. Make sure not to damage any small emerging shoots.

Plant these dormant plants right away. Don’t hold off planting them until they break dormancy or up pot them. These plants will have better success being planted in your garden and waking with Mother Nature’s prompting of longer days and warmer temperatures.

Learn More: Planting Guide For Dormant Plants

dormant perennial plants from shipping to bloomdormant perennial plants from shipping to bloom
Milkweed (Asclepias) plants will often ship dormant. Don't worry, these plants have a healthy root system and are just "sleeping." Plant dormant plants immediately, as they will thrive best if they wake up in your garden.

Shrubs

If shipped early in the growing season, shrubs will likely be dormant. They will have lost their leaves in the previous fall, but will soon begin to leaf out again. If you scrape a small area of bark with your fingernail, you should see fresh green healthy tissue under the bark. If you examine them closely you may see green buds that are starting to grow. Plant these dormant plants as soon as possible.

shrubs at the hcg greenhouseshrubs at the hcg greenhouse

Bulbs, Tubers, and Corms

Flower bulbs contain buds surrounded by stored food to provide energy for growth. These small bulbs transforming into lush, healthy plants with the right care! Follow the instructions on the package and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful blooms.

  • Some of our "bulbs" are actually tubers or corms, but they're all planted underground.
  • Healthy flower bulbs should be firm, with no mushy spots. Some bulbs may have a bit of surface mold; this is not harmful.
  • Some types of bulbs have papery coverings, called tunics, that may flake off during handling with no harm to the bulbs. Don't peel them off if they aren't coming off on their own.
  • A few bulbs (but not all) require soaking in water prior to planting. Only soak bulbs that specifically call for this step in the planting instructions.
  • Some bulbs have visible buds or shoots but most don't show any signs of life until they're planted. Make sure not to damage these buds during planting.

Learn More: Planting Guide For Flower Bulbs

bulbs in packaging ready for shipmentbulbs in packaging ready for shipment
We carry many spring and fall planted bulbs, which always delight with big, bright blooms.

Bareroot Plants

In our experience, most of our perennial plants establish best when grown in pots, with a few exceptions: only our Daylilies are sold as bareroot plants. Bareroots are just that, plants that have a strong root system, but the soil has been removed. Bareroot plants arrive in moist peat moss packing material; keep the peat moss moist (but not soaking wet) and the roots loosely wrapped to prevent them from drying out until you plant them.

Bareroot plants may look a bit underwhelming, but rest assured, they will spring to life after being properly planted. You can spot a healthy bareroot plant by looking for small buds at the crown (where the roots meet the top growth) or on the roots themselves. Use your fingernail to nick the surface of a root; you may see some moist tissue underneath.

bareroot plant being placed into the soilbareroot plant being placed into the soil
Our Dayliles are shipped as bareroots and should be planted as soon as possible after they arrive, as they are ready to grow.

Establishing Your Plants

Though many of our plants are xeric, or waterwise, they will need supplemental water to get established. Water twice at planting time.

  • To establish healthy perennials that have leafed out, continue watering 1-3 times per week, for the first 1-3 months, depending on whether or not you receive natural rainfall and how the plant appears.
  • For dormant plants, they will need no additional water until new growth begins to emerge.
  • For low desert regions, watering once every 2 weeks may be necessary if day temperatures are consistently above 80 degrees. (Watch our Gardening Videos for more information watering.)

Learn More: View our comprehensive Planting Guide and Gardening Videos for more guidance on planting, watering, and care for your plants.

hcg shipment in box with planting guideshcg shipment in box with planting guides
Our plant shipments all include a comprehensive planting guide to assist you in successfully transplanting your new perennials and bulbs.

Shop Our Most Popular Plants

  1. Silver Artemisia Powis Castle, Artemisia Powis Castle, Silver Sage close up by customer Mike D.

    Powis Castle is a superb foliage plant with finely textured silver-gray foliage and an attractive mounding habit. Use this plant to accentuate ornamental grasses and other perennials...

    Learn More
    Powis Castle Artemisia Powis Castle Silver Sage Artemisia Powis Castle
    As low as $9.99 Sale $7.49
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    Powis Castle is a superb foliage plant with finely textured silver-gray foliage and an attractive mounding habit. Use this plant to accentuate ornamental grasses and other perennials with differently colored foliage. Drought resistant/drought tolerant plant (xeric).
    Learn More
  2. Nepeta faassenii Select Blue

    Nepeta 'Select Blue' (Select Blue Catmint) is a fantastic xeric perennial with dramatic lavender-blue flowers and handsome gray-green foliage. A recurrent bloomer, the first flush of...

    Learn More
    Select Blue Nepeta Select Blue Catmint Nepeta faassenii Select Blue
    As low as $9.99 Sale $7.49
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    Nepeta 'Select Blue' (Select Blue Catmint) is a fantastic xeric perennial with dramatic lavender-blue flowers and handsome gray-green foliage. A recurrent bloomer, the first flush of flowers comes in late spring, and again later in summer. A long-lived, easily grown perennial, this is an excellent plant for beginners.
    Learn More
  3. Marrubium rotundifolium, Photo Courtesy Of Plant Select

    Silver Edged Horehound is one our very best xeric groundcovers for poor soil areas with hot, sunny growing conditions. The soft felted leaves are green with a bright silver underside...

    Learn More
    Silver Edged Horehound (Marrubium) Silver Edged Horehound Marrubium rotundifolium
    As low as $8.99 Sale $7.19
    Per Plant - 2.5" Pot
    Silver Edged Horehound is one our very best xeric groundcovers for poor soil areas with hot, sunny growing conditions. The soft felted leaves are green with a bright silver underside that curls up to give the leaves a silver edge. Drought resistant/drought tolerant plant (xeric).
    Learn More
  4. Blue Allium azureum Bulbs, Allium azureum, Allium azureum Bulbs

    True-Blue Allium (Allium azureum) flowers are the gardener's holy grail, and this Siberian native provides them in abundance. Allium azureum (Ornamental Onion) is easily grown and de...

    Learn More
    True Blue Allium True Blue Ornamental Onion Allium azureum
    Sale Price I Save 15%
    $10.99 Sale $9.34
    Per Bag of 20
    True-Blue Allium (Allium azureum) flowers are the gardener's holy grail, and this Siberian native provides them in abundance. Allium azureum (Ornamental Onion) is easily grown and decorates the garden with plenty of 1 1/2" round flax-blue flowers.
    Learn More

 

© All articles are copyrighted by High Country Gardens. Republishing an entire High Country Gardens blog post or article is prohibited without written permission. Please feel free to share a short excerpt with a link back to the article on social media websites, such as Facebook and Pinterest.