We've all had some success stories with plants over the years, and always a frustration or two along the way. Below are a few tips that may assist you in having more happy endings then not. Here's to lots of fruit, beautiful flowers, a bit of shade and some just plain fun. If you need greater detail, please feel free to phone our office at 888-209-4356 or email info@plantsonline.net If something works really well for you or you have an especially awesome success story to share, please drop by.

Frequently Asked Questions
Can you really ship trees or plants this time of the year?
Since we ship all of our plants potted in soil, yes we are able to offer shipment year round. In the winter, we monitor weather.com and hold shipment temporarily if weather is too extreme. We add insulation to the trees as weather dictates, packaging each carefully by hand to ensure the best possible tree when it arrives at your home. In the summer, we water very well before the plant's departure. Unlike our competitors who mostly ship bare rooted plant material, our plants, by traveling in the only soil they've ever known experience much less stress in transport.

What can I expect from the plant upon arrival?
If there are any leaf issues from transport, the plant usually re-foliates very quickly if allowed to acclimate a bit before transplanting.

How are your plants prepared to make their trip?
We carefully box each tree by hand, adding protective measures to absorb excessive vibration or movement while in transit. The root balls are then bagged to hold in moisture while the trees are on their way, with an additional card board collar placed over the tree to provide additional protection from the elements. Some leaf drop may occur, but the tree, once moved to a proper and safe location should re-foliate very quickly.

What are Plant Zone Maps?
Gardeners need a way to compare their garden climates with the climate where a plant is known to grow well. That's why climate zone maps were created. Zone maps are tools that show where various permanent landscape plants can adapt. If you want a shrub, perennial, or tree to survive and grow year after year, the plant must tolerate year-round conditions in your area, such as the lowest and highest temperatures and the amount and distribution of rainfall.

The 1990 USDA Hardiness Zone Map
The USDA Hardiness Zone Map is one of several maps developed to provide this critical climate information. The USDA map is the one most gardeners in the eastern United States rely on, and the one that most national garden magazines, catalogs, books, and many nurseries currently use. This map divides North America into 11 separate zones. Each zone is 10?F warmer (or colder) in an average winter than the adjacent zone. (In some versions of the map, each zone is further divided into "a" and "b" regions.)

Great for the East
The USDA map does a fine job of delineating the garden climates of the eastern half of North America. That area is comparatively flat, so mapping is mostly a matter of drawing lines approximately parallel to the Gulf Coast every 120 miles or so as you move north. The lines tilt northeast as they approach the Eastern Seaboard. They also demarcate the special climates formed by the Great Lakes and by the Appalachian mountain ranges.

Zone Map Drawbacks
But this map has shortcomings. In the eastern half of the country, the USDA map doesn't account for the beneficial effect of a snow cover over perennial plants, the regularity or absence of freeze-thaw cycles, or soil drainage during cold periods. And in the rest of the country (west of the 100th meridian, which runs roughly through the middle of North and South Dakota and down through Texas west of Laredo), the USDA map fails.

Problems in the West
Many factors beside winter lows, such as elevation and precipitation, determine western growing climates in the West. Weather comes in from the Pacific Ocean and gradually becomes less marine (humid) and more continental (drier) as it moves over and around mountain range after mountain range. While cities in similar zones in the East can have similar climates and grow similar plants, in the West it varies greatly. For example, the weather and plants in low elevation, coastal Seattle are much different than in high elevation, inland Tucson, Arizona, even though they're in the same zone USDA zone 8.

Where can I go to find the plant zone for my area?
On our site, click on "Dave's Garden Watchdog Feedback & Other Links" and you will see at the very bottom a link to the USDA zone map. Click here and enter your zip code and/or your state and you will be shown more information on planting zones for your city.

Growing coffee plants...
Try a coffee plant...a plant easy to grow indoors and one that will provide fragrance and beauty as well as your very own coffee beans to roast and enjoy. Coffee likes soil that is moist and rich and well drained. You can keep the soil constantly moist, just not soggy. A coffee plant is evergreen eventually growing to 5 to 8 feet tall if you allow, though can easily be clipped to 3 to 4 feet and still expect decent bean production. Provide bright light while indoors, though not necessarily direct sunlight. Diffused sunlight from a window would be great. If grown outdoors, partial shade is recommended if in extreme summer locale. Do feed regularly as they grow, as a consistent accessibility to nutrients does help them load up with leaves and flowers. Thanksgiving Coffee company from Northern California states, 'Rose food is my favorite coffee food but try to stay as organic as you can. It effects the flavor of the coffee you will be getting...' Do up-size your coffee plant to larger containers as it matures, as allowing a deep and extensive root system to develop is important. Soon you will see flowers, flowers that will fill your home with the sweet aroma of orange and jasmine, a treat unto itself! After about a month, the flowers will drop and the coffee 'cherry' will form next. Coffee is self fertile. The coffee beans or 'cherries' ripen slowly, so give them time on the plant, usually 5-6 months. Time to pick the fruit after they turn from green to light pink, then to 'cherry red' then to a dark red. As far as water and temperature, knowing that most coffee is grown in the tropics, try to mimic these conditions as best you can. Aim for mild to moderate conditions, but a coffee plant can take light frost if for short duration. When you do irrigate, warm the water first (if you can, if not no worries), as this will more closely match the water the coffee tree is used to getting back home from a nice tropical cloud burst. Give this plant a try! If you don't quite make it to 'beans', the fragrance and beauty of the plant itself is well worth the journey. Shipped potted in soil for best results.

How do you succeed so well shipping plants in the heat of the summer?
Shipping through the summer. Plant containers are bagged to hold in added soil moisture. Boxes are ventilated and the plants cushioned to absorb any road vibrations.