ShadyGardens Blog

May 2, 2013

Selling Plants Online: How to Package Plants for Shipping

Filed under: how to, nursery, online, package, plants, sell, ship — shadygardens @ 5:38 pm

In our previous post, we explored your options for selling plants online. If you missed that post, you might first want to read Selling Plants Online: How to Do It.

Once you have decided what plants to sell online and where you will sell them, you must figure out how to best package the plants so they can reach their destination safely.

We have found the United States Postal Service to be the best fit for our shipping needs, but you might prefer UPS or FedEx. No matter which carrier you choose, every package carrier is harsh on packages sometimes. It is your responsibility as the seller to package your plants safely to protect the plant.

When shipping perishable items such as live plants, it is imperative to use a quick shipping method such as USPS Priority Mail or UPS ground which both take about 3 days to reach their destination. By the way, if you choose to ship with USPS, they offer free shipping materials for shipping with Priority Mail.

Shipping plants bare root is fine during the dormant season, but I prefer to ship plants with the soil ball intact. This means less transplant shock for the plant, and it is important that mail order plants arrive healthy and still moist to insure the plant will adjust quickly to its new home. Shipping the plant with soil ball enables shipping year round, so I am not limited to shipping only during the dormant season.

The plants you decide to sell will be up to you. Once you’ve settled on what to offer, the following steps will help to insure your success as an online seller:

  1. Prepare the plant for shipping by watering it thoroughly and allowing it to drain. 
  2. Prune away any unsightly stems prior to shipping. 
  3. Make sure all plants are labeled, especially if your customer has purchased more than one plant. 
  4. Remove plant from the pot carefully to avoid damage to the plant and its root system. 
  5. Shake off any loose soil but leave soil around the roots. This will cushion the roots and help roots stay moist during shipping.
  6. Wrap soil ball with a few sheets of newspaper and then with plastic or just do what I do and insert the paper-wrapped soil ball into a recycled plastic bag and tie it up completely.
  7. Include in the package growing instructions for the plants you are shipping, whether it is a general planting instruction sheet or detailed to fit the individual plant. By doing this you will save the buyer some time and they will appreciate the way you do business. Also, it will cut down on phone calls and emails asking you questions about growing preferences for the plant. 
  8. If the plant has tall stems wrap the topgrowth in a few sheets of newspaper to cushion them and also to protect them from tangling with the other plants in the package. 
  9. Securely attach the plant to the box by taping the rootball into the box. This will prevent slipping around and breaking of the stems. Taping the rootballs to each other as well as to the inside of the box will help to keep any sliding from occurring. 
  10. Enclose any shipping papers you intend to include – I include a cover letter thanking the customer for their order. This makes sure they have our information so they can purchase from us again. Any personal information about your company just helps the customer feel connected to you.
  11. Securely tape the package closed using package tape. 
You are now ready to ship the plants to their new home.

Check back soon for our next installment of the series on Selling Plants Online: Shipping Methods.

March 28, 2013

Selling Plants Online: How to Do It

Filed under: amazon, ebay, gardens, nursery, online, plants, sell, Shady, ship, walmart, website — shadygardens @ 1:18 pm
Sample of Plants shipped
 from Shady Gardens Nursery
These days, almost everyone is looking for a way to make money online. And if you are a gardener, you might have considered selling plants online.

I’ve done just that for several years. Since I frequently am asked how I ship shrubs, I thought I’d reveal some of my secrets. I don’t fear competition, and I enjoy helping someone who might need their own way to make money as much as I did when I started.

It takes quite awhile to receive traffic to your own website. You might consider trying to sell your plants on an established site first, like ebay. I started out by selling my plants at auction on ebay. Later I opened my own ebay store. Selling plants on ebay was surprisingly lucrative for me at first. This went on for a couple of years, until a few sellers ruined it for everyone else by selling their shrubs too cheap. Don’t undervalue your merchandise. You will never make any money if you sell everything at far less than it is worth. That’s why those sellers are no longer selling their plants on ebay. They put themselves out of business right after they ran everyone else off ebay with their undercut prices. Set your items at a fair price that is not only reasonable for interested buyers, but fair to you. Consider the total cost of growing the plant, the time involved in packaging the plant, and also the cost of supplies and actual shipping. Your time is worth some money too.

I sell plants on Amazon also, from time to time. But there again we must compete with the sellers who are out to undercut everyone else. Also, selling on Amazon is not quite as easy as ebay for a first-time online seller.

Although you might end up building your own website as I did, selling your plants on other established sites can give you the experience you need. Ebay will advertise, and they will help bring buyers to your listings, so you won’t have to.  If you’ve never bought anything on ebay before, I recommend you log on and do that now. That way you’ll learn how ebay and paypal both work. Before doing that though, think about a unique user name related to your new business idea. My user name is ShadyGardens, but you should make yours say something about you or more importantly what you sell. Something catchy or cute is always nice.

Don’t offer a guarantee on your plants beyond delivery. You are not Walmart and you cannot replace plants because the gardener who purchased from you did not properly care for the plants. And while we’re on the subject of Walmart, if the plants you want to sell can be bought at Walmart, there’s no need to even start. No one can compete with Walmart on price. They sell items much cheaper than you can, because they deal with huge volume. Grow and sell plants that aren’t easily found somewhere else, and you will make money.

Check back soon to learn how I package plants for safe shipping. In the mean time, check out our feedback on ebay and Shady Gardens Nursery online store.



January 5, 2011

Planting Instructions for Native Azaleas

Filed under: azaleas, gardens, instructions, native, nursery, online, planting, Shady — shadygardens @ 4:30 pm
Native Azaleas are definitely a spectacular show in spring, but don’t wait till Spring to plant them! Shrubs planted in Fall and Winter have a much better chance to get established and become healthy plants by next summer. 

The American Native Azaleas, species Rhododendrons, are deciduous, meaning they lose their leaves for the winter. This defoliation begins quite early in fall, depending on the climate conditions and the variety. Usually the earlier the bloom time in spring, the earlier leaf loss occurs in Fall.  
Fall is the best time to transplant shrubs because they are then dormant. Fall planted shrubs have all winter to become established before time to bloom and grow next year. This is especially important when your plants are received by mail, as is most often true with rare plants like native azaleas.
When planting native azaleas, soil preparation is key. All azaleas prefer well-drained soil. Amend the soil for drainage, especially if your soil is clay.  Prior to planting your native azalea, work in some compost or composted manure and shredded bark to the planting hole. To help insure good drainage, mound up the soil so your azalea is planted high. Be sure that the root collar is slightly higher than soil level so water will drain away when those heavy downpours occur.
 
When planning your native azalea garden, consider the site. Native azaleas naturally occur in the filtered light beneath large trees near stream banks, but will grow in full sun when water is adequate.  They perhaps will bloom more profusely in full sun, but need more water with more sun. 
Make sure you can get water to the plant if drought occurs. Native azaleas are quite drought tolerant once established, however, water weekly the first year or two, as the plant grows in to its new environment.  Also, the blooms buds are formed during late summer on the early blooming varieties, and if your area is prone to a late summer-early fall drought, pay attention to those weekly waterings, so you won’t miss out on your fragrant spring blooms! 
Finally, obtain some good organic mulch. Azaleas have a shallow root system. Apply a thick layer of any organic mulch such as shredded bark, leaves, or straw to conserve moisture and keep the roots cool. Never cultivate around your native azaleas, since this can damage those shallow roots. 
Once planted, your native azaleas will need water at least once weekly to insure good root development and beautiful blooms for years to come. 
For more information on the beautiful and fragrant native azaleas, visit us at Shady Gardens Nursery.

October 16, 2010

Lycoris Radiata: Spider Lily or Hurricane Lily

Filed under: hurricane, Lily, lycoris, nursery, online, radiata, spider, surprise — shadygardens @ 1:17 pm
We all forget about the Spider Lily until the blooms arise to surprise us with their bright red spidery petals. This time of year our nursery receives numerous inquiries as to why we don’t have these bulbs in stock. Unfortunately, September is not the time to plant Lycoris radiata. 
Just as you wouldn’t plant daffodils or tulips in the spring, Lycoris radiata cannot be planted in the fall during their bloom time. All flowering bulbs should be planted when dormant, and for Lycoris radiata, that optimum planting time is early summer. 
To help you understand, let me tell you a little about the life cycle of the Spider Lily.  One common name for Lycoris radiata is easy to understand–the petals have a spidery appearance, so many of us know this plant as the Spider Lily. But another common name, Hurricane Lily, was given to this bulb because of its surprise appearance in the middle of hurricane season. Lycoris radiata lies dormant all summer, during the heat and drought of July and August. Then in September, often right after a period of heavy rainfall, the stems shoot up seemingly overnight with a bright red spidery bloom at the top (no foliage!) Blooms last up to a month before fading. As the bloom begins to fade, grassy foliage begins to emerge. This foliage looks a lot like liriope. Don’t cut it back. The grassy leaves must be allowed to remain all fall and winter to take in energy from the sun in preparation for multiplying and blooming next year. 
Once the plant begins to send up the blooming stem, Lycoris bulbs should not be disturbed. If transplanted at this time, blooming and growth could be disrupted for next time.  
If you like this unusual flower for your garden, make a note on your calendar right now to remind you to look for Lycoris bulbs in June.  You probably won’t find Lycoris radiata at your local super center, but they are available from several online sources, including Shady Gardens Nursery. June and July are the best time for planting these bulbs so ordering can usually be done as early as May.

March 21, 2010

Mahonia: Bright Yellow Blooms for the Shade Garden

Filed under: dry, grape holly, leatherleaf, mahonia, nursery, online, oregon, shade — shadygardens @ 9:04 pm
Mahonia is my favorite non native plant. After the cold wet winter we’ve had, I’m excited to see the first blooms in our garden, and each year they appear on the Mahonia first.

Mahonia is an evergreen shrubby plant from Asia. Often referred to as Leatherleaf, this plant has tough green leaves with spines.

Bright yellow blooms appear in winter as early as January, but this year the blooms didn’t open until March due to our prolonged winter weather. Blue black drupes appear in clusters like grapes in spring, lending the common name of Grape Holly.
Mahonia is very easy to grow in the Southern United States, since it is hardy in USDA Zones 7-9. This evergreen plant prefers shade and well-drained soil. Bloom is not prevented even in the deepest shade. Very drought tolerant once established, Mahonia is an excellent choice for a dry shade garden. 
The growth habit of mahonia makes it a striking architectural feature for foundation planting as well. 

Leatherleaf Mahonia is available online from Shady Gardens Nursery.

October 16, 2009

Aesculus pavia: Red Buckeye Bloom in October!

Filed under: Aesculus, buckeye, buy, gardens, nursery, online, pavia, red, sale, Shady, ship — shadygardens @ 3:37 pm

Speaking of climate change, this crazy weather causes unusual phenomenon in the garden!

Take a look at the photo of our Red Buckeye Tree blooming today–October 16, 2009.

The Red Buckeye normally blooms in March here. This particular tree has a few other bloom buds getting ready to open within the next few days. I hope that doesn’t mean it won’t bloom in March, when I will be searching for signs of spring.

October 13, 2009

Saxifrage: Saxifraga, Strawberry Geranium, Strawberry Begonia

Saxifrage possibly has more common names than any other plant I know. Perhaps that’s because this plant is also one of the most versatile plants one can grow. 
Whether you know Saxifrage as saxifraga stolonifera, strawberry begonia, strawberry geranium, mother of thousands, or one of the many other names, you must agree that this is a wonderful little plant. 
Often grown as a houseplant by our grandmothers, Saxifrage is hardy in the garden all over the southeastern United States. When grown outdoors, saxifrage could not be any easier! Provide shade and soft moist soil, and she will reward you with many little plants. Saxifrage multiplies by sending out little plantlets on runners just as strawberry plants do. 

Saxifrage forms an evergreen mat of ground-hugging foliage about 4 inches tall. Foliage is very attractive–scalloped deep green leaves are mottled with a silver veining and can have purplish undersides.
Flowers look like little soft pink butterflies fluttering well above the foliage. 
Saxifrage prefers moist, rich soil in full shade. Grow it with ferns and other moisture loving shade plants in the woodland garden. 

Lovely as an easy care houseplant. Especially nice in hanging baskets. Hardy outdoors in USDA Zones 6-9. For more information on this and other easy to grow shade plants, visit us as Shady Gardens Nursery


Native Azaleas: Plant Now for Spring Blooms & Fragrance

Filed under: American, azalea, buy, garden, gardens, native, nursery, online, plant, plants, rhododendron, sale, shade, Shady, ship, shrub, species — shadygardens @ 2:27 pm
Native Azaleas are definitely a spectacular show in spring, but don’t wait till Spring to plant them! Shrubs planted in Fall have a much better chance to get established and become healthy plants by next summer. 

The American Native Azaleas, species Rhododendrons, are deciduous, meaning they lose their leaves for the winter. This defoliation begins quite early in fall, depending on the climate conditions and the variety. Usually the earlier the bloom time in spring, the earlier leaf loss occurs in Fall.  
Fall is the best time to transplant shrubs because they are then dormant. Fall planted shrubs have all winter to become established before time to bloom and grow next year. This is especially important when your plants are received by mail, as is most often true with rare plants like native azaleas.
When planting native azaleas, soil preparation is key. All azaleas prefer well-drained soil. Amend the soil for drainage, especially if your soil is clay.  Prior to planting your native azalea, work in some compost or composted manure and shredded bark to the planting hole. To help insure good drainage, mound up the soil so your azalea is planted high. Be sure that the root collar is slightly higher than soil level so water will drain away when those heavy downpours occur.
 
When planning your native azalea garden, consider the site. Native azaleas naturally occur in the filtered light beneath large trees near stream banks, but will grow in full sun when water is adequate.  They perhaps will bloom more profusely in full sun, but need more water with more sun. 
Make sure you can get water to the plant if drought occurs. Native azaleas are quite drought tolerant once established, however, water weekly the first year or two, as the plant grows in to its new environment.  Also, the blooms buds are formed during late summer on the early blooming varieties, and if your area is prone to a late summer-early fall drought, pay attention to those weekly waterings, so you won’t miss out on your fragrant spring blooms! 
Finally, obtain some good organic mulch. Azaleas have a shallow root system. Apply a thick layer of any organic mulch such as shredded bark, leaves, or straw to conserve moisture and keep the roots cool. Never cultivate around your native azaleas, since this can damage those shallow roots. 

Once planted, your native azaleas will need water at least once weekly to insure good root development and beautiful blooms for years to come. 
For more information on the beautiful and fragrant native azaleas, visit us at Shady Gardens Nursery.

 

September 30, 2009

Fall Planting: Shubs that Will Flourish!

Filed under: azalea, bloom, blueberry, buy, fall, garden, gardens, Hydrangea, nursery, online, plant, Rain, sale, Shady, ship, shrub — shadygardens @ 2:02 pm
Fall is the best time to plant shrubs and trees. Our weather usually begins cooling off in September, making gardening easier on both the plant and the gardener! Although daytime temperatures are still hot, our nights are cooler. 
October is a great time to plant Azaleas, Blueberries, and Hydrangeas. This time of year just brings better weather for shrubs to establish themselves without having to fight for their lives! So if you dream of beautiful blooms covering your yard on shrubs like azaleas, hydrangeas, snowball bushes, etc, do yourself and your plants a favor and plant them now, instead of waiting until spring. If your dream includes eating tasty blueberries from your own garden, plant those now too! 
Since we are now receiving regular rainfall here in Georgia, you can take advantage of that and be ready to plant when another shower is headed your way.
Shrubs planted in fall will have a head start over spring planted ones, and will have a greater chance of survival during our heat wave next summer. Even though the top growth of the plant will be dormant and might not even have any leaves, the roots will continue to grow through the winter. So get out there and enjoy the beautiful weather we’re having!

September 4, 2009

Rhododendron My Mary: Fragrant Yellow Azalea

Filed under: azalea, deciduous, garden, George Beasley, My Mary, nursery, online, rhododendron, sale, Shady Gardens, ship, shrub — shadygardens @ 8:59 pm

Rhododendron ‘My Mary’ is a new plant for me. Aside from the large and very fragrant yellow blooms appearing in April, the romantic story behind the name compelled me to plant this one.‘My Mary’ is a deciduous hybrid azalea–a cross between Rhododendron Nacoochee and Rhododendron Austrinum (the native Florida Flame Azalea.) As written above, the blooms are large and very fragrant–a beautiful yellow funnel-shaped flower with an orange tube. The flowers are borne in clusters, or bouquets, as I like to call them. As you might imagine, pollinators of every sort just love them!

Rhododendron ‘My Mary’ was developed by the well-respected Mr. George Beasley of Lavonia, Georgia, who named this plant after his wife, Mary. She must indeed be lovely, to have such a plant named in her honor. I’m proud to have this shrub in my humble garden.

Hardy in USDA Zones 5-8, this deciduous rhododendron can be grown almost anywhere in the United States.

 
Culture is the same as for just about any other rhododendron or azalea: well-drained soil with a nice addition of humus, regular water (weekly is great), partial shade, and a thick layer of mulch to protect the roots.

 
For more information on this plant, you may contact us at
Shady Gardens Nursery or consult the Missouri Botanical Garden Plantfinder, who so graciously permitted us to use their lovely photos.
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