Unpacking your plants - what to do when your plants arrive

Unpacking your plants - what to do when your plants arrive


We pride ourselves on the quality of our packing. Our dedicating packing team have many years of experience, to ensure that your order arrives in good condition. We normally pack with straw or shredded paper, parcels are strengthen using a wooden lath, and sent in either a cardboard box or a polythene-wrapped bale, so the plants aren't damaged in transit and the roots don't dry out.

If you intend to plant within 4 days of the arrival of your plants, keep the original packing intact and simply store in a cool but frost-free place such as a garage, shed or cold-greenhouse. Unpack your plants just before planting.


If due to inclement weather conditions, or if the final planting site is not yet ready, there will be a delay between the plants arriving and planting, the parcel will need to be unwrapped and the plants will need a temporary home preparing. There are several ways to do this:

Rootballed and container-grown plants can simply be left outside in a sheltered spot (against a house wall is ideal). If the weather is exceptionally cold, move inside to a cold greenhouse or polytunnel until the worst of the weather has passed.  

Bare root trees and shrubs need to be 'heeled-in' - either by digging a large hole or trench and roughly planting, or by plunging the roots into an open bag of compost. Provided the roots are well-covered with damp soil and not exposed to the air they are quite safe for several weeks.


For deciduous roses, trees and shrubs planted as bare root plants, there is generally no need to soak the roots if planting within 4 days of arrival. The roots may be dry to the touch, but our packing quality ensures they are not desiccated. If you wish, you can soak for up to 30 mins before planting, but no more.

For evergreen shrubs (generally supplied in pots or as rootballed plants) it is a good idea to water or soak the root ball before planting. Try not to damage or remove the hessian wrap to minimise root disturbance.

If planting between November and February, there is normally no need to water the plants after planting - make sure you have planted firmly and the next rain shower will do the rest. If planting from the start of March onwards, do water well straight after planting. Buds will soon be breaking, and we have experienced very dry spring weather for the past few years.

All freshly planted trees, shrubs and roses should be generously watered throughout their first growing season. 

A shortage of water is by far the main cause of plant failure. A very good soak once a week in any dry spells is sufficient, but it must be a thorough watering, making sure the water soaks down to the the roots.