Getting started with your new plants

When your plants arrive

Your plants have been packed with great care to insure their safe arrival.

It is important to remove your plants from all packaging as soon as you receive them. Please be gentle when unpacking.

Inside the box is your packing list and your plants. Check your plants against your list as you remove them.

Because your plants have been in a dark box for between two and four days, it is best to set them outside in filtered light for a couple of days.

Avoid exposing them to drying winds or freezing temperatures. This resting period allows the plants to adjust to their new surroundings.

Unpacking pots

Our three-inch potted plants are held in place by a cardboard tray that holds six pots. At the top of this tray, on either end, is a convenient finger hole to help you remove the tray from the box.

Next, you will need to snip the masking tape which holds the tray together. Now your pots are free, but still have collars on the tops of the pots. Remove these carefully so as not to damage tender stems.

Unpacking plug trays

Plug trays should be removed from their box immediately. No cardboard or paper should remain on the plugs. Occasionally plugs will "pop" out during shipping. If this happens, either plant immediately or gently coax the plant back into its cell.

As long as the plants do not dry out, there is no hurry to transfer them to the ground or another pot.


When you are ready to plant

Early spring growth can be particularly susceptible to sunburn. Bay trees are a good example of a plant that should not have its tender foliage exposed to direct sunshine.

To avoid exposing the roots to bright sunlight and damaging winds, have the holes in your garden or the soil in your container ready for your new plant before removing from pot.

Removing the plant from its pot

Before you try to remove the plant, make sure to water it. To remove the plant from its pot, gently squeeze the sides of the pot. Then, holding the pot with one hand, take the other hand and, with your palm down, place your fingers on either side of the stem. This gives the stem some support and protection as you then turn the pot upside down and remove the plant. Do not disturb the roots.

Planting your new plants

Bury the root cube completely to the same depth on the stem as it was in the pot. (Tomatoes are an exception to this and may be buried to the top set of leaves which will allow them to form more roots.)

Water well. It takes three or four weeks for roots to establish into the soil around them. During this time the root cubes need to stay moist. If you are planting in the ground, a three to six inch layer of mulch will help to conserve moisture and improve the fertility of the soil. Leave a two to three inch air space around all new plants.

If you are transplanting into a larger pot, choose a container that has at least a one gallon capacity. If you don't have a gallon pot, use a gallon container to measure your soil. Each plant will need its own gallon of soil. It is preferable to plant only one variety per container. Potting soil should not be too fine and should contain larger particles. Adding one part perlite to three parts potting soil will improve the potting soil's drainage. An organic fertilizer should be thoroughly mixed into the soil. Moisten this mix before planting. Never use dirt from the garden or yard in a container.


Frequently asked questions about new plants

  1. Will I have to bring the plant in for the winter?

    First determine your growing zone. There is a chart at our website for this. Then check the zone the plant is rated for. Each plant has its own page on our website with the zone rating in its description. It is also on the pot you receive. A zone 5 plant, for example, should over winter in zones 5 –11. Choose plants suited to your winter time temperatures or treat them as annuals.

  2. How much sun or shade does my plant need?

    Most of our plants take about 6 hours of sun a day. Plants grown in really hot summer areas can sometimes benefit from afternoon shade. When a plant does not receive enough sun it will grow lanky.

  3. What can my plant be used for?

    This is the fun part of growing herbs and useful perennials. Each plant on its web page is marked for its use, for instance, C for culinary and M for medicinal.

  4. Will my plant die back or stay green all year?

    When a plant dies back, it is marked with an H for ‘herbaceous’. When it is ‘evergreen’ it is marked with an E. These designations assume this plant is hardy in your zone.

  5. Can I grow my plants indoors?

    The plants we sell are outdoor starter plants and may not do well when held in the house. Plants need fresh air and sunlight. Beneficial insects and organisms outside help keep plants pest free and healthy. It seems bad bugs have no trouble finding indoor plants but good bugs do.

  6. Why is my tomato plant missing its top?

    We often pinch the top out of the tomato plant to help it branch out and grow more tomatoes!

  7. How big will my plant get? Or, how far apart should I space my plants?

    With the exception of ground covers, the general rule is that plants will get as wide as its gets tall. Mature heights are listed on the pot and at our website.

  8. How often should I water?

    This depends your soil and other cultural conditions. The most important thing is to water to the depth of the root zone. Soil should be moist, well drained and not soggy. The first four weeks are critical.

  9. What does it mean to waive my warranty?

    We begin guaranteed shipping in the spring after all danger of frost has passed in your area. However, we do give you the option to waive your warranty and have in stock plants sent sooner. This means that you have no recourse if the plants arrive in poor condition or do not do well for you. The only guarantee you have is that we have sent the correct plants.

  10. What is my guarantee?

    You have 7 days from the date of arrival of your plants to notify us of any problems caused in shipping. All issues need to be reported to us by email at customerservice@mountainvalleygrowers.com. We do not guarantee plants once they are removed from their containers . Because traveling is hard on plants, there may be some yellowing, loss of leaves or slight wilting. In spring, you may notice fungus gnats in the box. These are the same flies that appear on rotting fruit. They are naturally occurring and feeding on the organic matter in the soil. They usually disappear when plants are transferred outdoors.

For answers to more questions, check out our frequently asked questions page, or search for your plant to find specific information about it.

We hope you enjoy your new plants!

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