Potted plants may be kept for a short time outdoors in a sheltered, but bright location. If cold temperatures are forecast, protect your plants from freezing. Water the plants when the soil begins to dry on top.
Dormant Woody Plants
These leafless, soilless plants will keep for a few days in their plastic bags in a cool (34° to 40°F is recommended) and dark location with their roots covered with damp newspaper. Lightly mist the roots and newspapers as necessary to keep them damp. Protect them from direct sunlight and wind.
Some bareroot trees and shrubs are more sensitive to drying out and will arrive with their roots wrapped with moisture retentive material and plastic in order to maintain moisture during transit.
Maintain moisture around the roots until you can get the plant in the ground. Upon receipt, unwrap the plastic and check to make sure the roots and packing material are still moist. Add water as necessary and rewrap the roots until planting. Store in a cool location. If dry, soak the roots in a bucket of water for up to 12 hours then rewrap until planting. Check root moisture as needed to make sure roots stay moist.
Dormant Perennial Roots
Keep roots in their original bags at about 40°F for no longer than three weeks. Despite their appearance, the roots are dormant and will sprout into life after planting.
Open bags to allow air to circulate and store bulbs in a cool, well-ventilated location. Protect them from any danger of freezing.
Fall Shipped Items
Items may be in a dormant or semi-dormant condition with the leaves falling off or yellowing. This is their normal cycle to prepare for a winter resting state. The root systems are fully developed, and prompt planting will allow the roots to grow throughout the fall. Most bulbs will not show any signs of growth until spring.
Dormant plants and bulbs may show signs of gray mold, or botrytis, also known as "storage mold." This is not a problem as long as the division or bulb is firm and not mushy. The mold exists as a saprophyte,an organism that lives on dead organic matter. Molds such as botrytis are a natural part of healthy soil.
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