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!)
We Carefully Pack And Ship Your Plants At Planting Time
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.)