Frequently Asked Questions

Take a look below at answers to a list of our most frequently asked questions. Still need more information? Feel free to call us at 800-852-5243 or email us at service@bluestoneperennials.com.

General Questions

We offer a 100% guarantee for your plants to reach you in good condition and to grow. If you are not satisfied, we will reship or refund immediately. We want you happy because we want to stay in business.

A perennial is a plant that will live multiple growing seasons unlike an annual which grows, sets seed, and dies all in one season. Their flowering time is not as long as an annual because the plant must take time out to gather enough strength to overwinter. The range of flowering times, colors, heights, foliage color, and textures make for a fascinating plant pallete to create a landscape with.

Our perennials will be 6 to 9 months old. Our shrubs will be 12 to 18 months old. The plants will be fully rooted and leafed out. The plant tops will vary in height by variety, but if they are taller than 6-8" above the pot we may have to cut them back to fit in our boxes. This does not harm the plant in any way, and actually helps to promote a bushier, fuller plant.

We grow in one size – a biodegradable plantable fiber pot 3.5" x 3.5" x 4" deep (27.4 cubic inches, 15.2 fl. oz., 450 ml). We usually grow all our own plants, but occasionally we have to buy plants from other nurseries, in which case, sizes might vary, but only slightly.

Use our handy zip code search to find your hardiness zone in our Plant Finder. Also, most books dealing with plants will have a US map depicting the climate zones. Please treat hardiness zone ratings on perennials as a best guess, but only a guess. Many factors influence plant survivability: reliable snow cover, wind swept location, proximity of structures, depth of soil, just to name a few.

We do offer both printed and digital (email) gift certificates for giving anytime. We also have pre-planned prepared gardens which make excellent gifts. They are acknowledged to your friends with a personalized gift message, if desired, and with a full write-up of the plants along with instructions for soil preparation and planting. The plants themselves and a second set of instructions follow at the proper planting time for their area. To order any of these gardens, see our Pre-Planned Gardens page.

Our print catalog offers abbreviations and diagrams for sun requirements, bloom time, evergreen, and more. Here is the Legend to explain it.

Insecticides containing Neonicotinoids have been receiving quite a bit of press lately and are implicated in possibly contributing to the decline in the bee population and other pollinating insects. Although studies continue to be run, in our efforts to be good stewards, we have not used any product containing Neonicotinoids since 2012.

Plant Questions

Here are the full instructions: Upon Receipt of Your Order. Basically, you should open the box, unpack the plants, and place the plants in a shady spot, and water them thoroughly. They should perk up overnight if looking at all wilted. You can plant right away or let them catch their breath for a day or two, then plant them in the ground, again watering thoroughly. Plants can actually be maintained in their pots for several days, just keep them moist and in dappled light. Any questions, just give us a call. Our 100% guarantee assures your happiness.

Your goal should be a self sufficient flower border. If you water everyday, you will always have to water everyday. Normally, 1" of water a week, either from you or Mother Nature the first year is enough. You want it to soak deeply so that the plants will send their roots down to look for water. The second year you can water every other week, more often just to help them through droughts, or if wilting before lunchtime.

The plants need 6 weeks of growing to anchor themselves in the ground and to get ready for winter. We ship in the Fall from early September to early November (weather permitting). The farther north you are the sooner you would want to receive your order.

With the exception of the garden mums, the plants will be able to handle a heavy frost to a light freeze. It is much better to plant your order than to hold it until all threats of bad weather are past. If in doubt, let us advise you as to the best time for your area.

In most cases, no, you should not cover your plants for the wintertime. A protective mulch (salt marsh hay, pine boughs, straw, etc.) can be applied after the ground is frozen, and removed with the first thaw. Here in the Midwest that is very hard to do (since we typically have a December thaw, a January thaw, and February/ March thaws. The biggest killer of perennials is having the crown of the plant smother (or rot) in the late winter/ early spring. Overwintering mulch put on too soon, or left on too long will do this. Exceptions would be areas with extreme cold and little snowcover. Or when plant material is way outside of its normal climate range. (i.e. 2 or more zones away.) We never use mulch here in Northern Ohio, and never lose plants to Old Man Winter. Decorative mulch such as cedar is another issue. While convenient for weed control and appearances, its depth should be no deeper than necessary to discourage the weeds, and it should NEVER be raked over the crown of the plants for the winter. The jury is still out on decorative mulch as it can harbor insects and plant diseases, but its use is so prevalent now that we address it here. Our best advice for your plants is to avoid excessive decorative mulch, and plant your garden so that it will fill in.

Clematis are the Queens of the Climbers, prized for their incredible flowers. They will train onto trellises, fences, or arch over doorways. They only need to have their roots shaded and their flowers in the sun. Stunning when used alone or when several colors are mixed. Pruning Types are noted in both the printed catalog and the online catalog.

Type 1: Flowers are produced from old stems, so pruning is done immediately after flowering has stopped. Prune by removing all dead and weak stems immediately after flowering. Larger, older plants (over 15') are normally not pruned, especially if growing in trees. Tie stems into place after flowering. New growth will begin, and these are the stems for next year's flowers.

Type 2: In this group all first flowering comes from last season's ripening stems. In early Spring watch for swelling leaf buds beginning to show. Cut all dead material off above these swelling buds. Be sure all growth is tied to the trellis, etc. at this time. Do not tie too tightly, so growth will not be hampered or cracked by tying too tight.

Type 3: This group blooms later and from new growth. These should be pruned in February or March as new leaf buds begin to show low on the plant. Also remove all dead material above the buds and clean out any old or mildewed foliage at this time.

Almost every plant we grow will be okay in a container for one season. The difficulty comes in wintering over the container. Since the roots are now "above ground" in the container, the moderating effect of the soil's warmth is lost. Either transplant the perennials into your fall border, or sink the entire container in the ground. In mid zones, you might get away with protecting the container with hay bales, or by placing the container along the sheltered foundation of your house.

Our bulbs usually arrive in late September from Europe and are shipped out by late October. If the temperatures have not yet cooled in your area (zones 8,9,10 especially), it may be best to store your bulbs until they do. Keep them in a cool, dark, dry place until the conditions are favorable. Conditions are best about 6 weeks before the soil freezes, when day temperatures begin to drop to 55°. This usually happens when night-time temperatures are dipping to 50° or cooler consistently. Avoid storing them in the refrigerator - it is too moist and some foods can be affected.

Our bulbs usually arrive in late March and will ship at the appropriate time for planting (or a bit before). If the temperatures have not yet warmed in your area (cold zones 3,4,5 especially), it will be best to store your bulbs until your last frost date has passed. Keep them in a cool / not cold, dark, dry place until the conditions are favorable. Avoid storing them in the refrigerator - it is too moist and cold. The planting instructions are printed on each bag for reference. Depending on the variety, you will typically need to dig up your annual bulbs in the Fall and replant them in the Spring. See our Guide for doing that.

Link through to our Tips & Tricks article for help on this topic.

Shipping Questions

Yes, you may request a ship date if you wish that is within our shipping seasons. Or you can let us select the best time for your area. Mention your request in the checkout sequence, and we will honor your request to the very best of our ability.

In the pre-season, we normally give you a two week window in which to expect your plants. If spring has arrived to your area and we are currently shipping to your area, you will receive your order within 7-10 days of ordering, often sooner. If it is late in the spring, we are usually shipping the next weekday. Also see the question below about requesting specific shipping times. Call our office with any questions - we are standing by to help.

If you order during the season, your order usually ships within days (unless otherwise indicated at checkout). However, when booking in advance, the approximate dates below apply. You can indicate a specific ship week (noted in the third part of the checkout sequence) if needed.

Due to the weather in Northeast Ohio, we are not able to ship before the end of March. We take a break from shipping between mid June and the first of September. Fall shipping typically finishes at the end of October or as the weather closes down in NE Ohio.

In the Spring, we ship as follows based on the recommended planting time for your area (unless otherwise indicated at checkout). Accent Annual varieties will ship with your plants when we can.

Zone 3, 4: Early to Mid May

Zone 5A: Early to Mid May

Zone 5B: Late April to Early May

Zone 6A: Mid to Late April

Zone 6B: Mid April

Zone 7A: Early to Mid April

Zone 7B: Early April

Zone 8A: Early April

Zone 8B: Late March to Early April

Zone 9, 10: Late March

In the Fall, we ship plants as follows based on the recommended planting time for your area (unless otherwise indicated at checkout). Bulbs will typically ship with your plants when we can.

Zone 2, 3, 4: Early September

Zone 5: Early - Mid September

Zone 6: Mid September

Zone 7: Mid to Late September

Zone 8, 9, 10: Late September to Early October

Bulbs begin shipping upon their arrival from Holland, usually in late September.

Based on your plant total:
$0 - $14.99 = $9.95
$15 - $24.99 = $12.95
$25 - $34.99 = $15.95
$35 - $ 49.99 = $17.95
$50 - $74.99 = $19.95
$75 - $99.99 = $21.95
$100 - $124.99 = $23.95
$125 - $149.99 = $25.95
$150 - $199.99 = $29.95
$200 - $249.99 = $33.95
$250 - $299.99 = $39.95
$300 & Over = 15%
Additional Addresses on Holiday Items = $5.95 per address

Our new packaging system has completely eliminated the use of styrofoam peanuts in our shipping and all packing materials are recyclable. Our pots are individually protected with custom cardboard sleeves that not only keep the plants themselves from being damaged, but also help keep the soil firmly in place.

We combine orders to help you save on shipping costs. Once you place an order for spring shipping, we will combine any further orders from you with the original so they reflect a single order. We will only add an additional shipping charge if the new order total moves into the next rate chart band. Please note: If ordering online, you will see shipping charges on every order. Your credit card is not charged at that time! Once we bring the orders into our system, we will combine the orders and adjust the shipping charge accordingly. Pay Pal: We love our PayPal customers! unfortunately, we can only combine a PayPal order with another PayPal order - sorry. Don't worry though, you can freely mix and match other methods of payment and we'll combine them. Any questions? We are standing by at 1.800.852.5243.

Yes! Place your order online and select the Pickup option as you check out and let us know when you are coming. Please note that we will need a day or so to process and prepare your order. When you arrive, park by our Sales sign and come in to our sales desk. We will have your order at the desk. Additional items can be purchased and be sure to visit our Bargain Bench for deeply discounted temptations!

The state of Idaho has placed new regulations on plants shipped into Idaho because of concern over the spread of Japanese Beetles. We take concerns regarding the spread of invasives (in this case, an insect) very seriously, and wish to comply. Unfortunately, this means we are not able to ship plants to Idaho. We are sorry to disappoint you, and hope you will support your local suppliers and continue to enjoy all that perennial gardening offers! We hope to be able to ship plant material to Idaho in the future if regulations change. Please take a look at our Bulb offerings when they are available, as those are shippable.

The state of Montana has placed new regulations on plants shipped into Montana because of concern over the spread of Japanese Beetles. We take concerns regarding the spread of invasives (in this case, an insect) very seriously, and we wish to comply. Montana regulations will allow us to ship plant material into Montana to arrive before June 1st and in October at this time.

Questions About Our Website

No, but close. We currently have about 95% of our varieties on our site. You are welcome to call if you don't see a variety you want, we are probably growing it. If you are looking for an item from last year's catalog that is not on the site, call us, we may have a limited supply available.

You can unsubscribe by clicking on the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of one of our emails and then resubscribing with your corrected address.

If you have coupons to apply to your order, enter them in your cart. Type the number of the coupon in the Discount/Coupon Code box at the right of the Cart page. The coupon will then appear in your cart. The site will prompt you if you have not met the requirements of the coupon. Once the requirements are met, your coupon will activate. Still having trouble? We are always here to take your phone order, if that proves easier. Here is how to contact us.

Subscribe to our Newsletter online and we will send offers and coupons from time to time. New discount offers will be emailed to you as they occur as a subscriber. Other offers appear from time to time in our newsletters and on our website.

You must create an online account to save a wishlist. If you are already logged in to your established account, you can move any item from your cart to your wishlist for future reference at any time, from any device.

Discount codes can be entered in the cart. Please enter Gift Certificates on the first page of the checkout sequence. We will check the number of your certificate and the amount to verify its validity before your card is charged. If you are paying with PayPal, the site cannot apply a gift certificate. Contact us and we will credit the gift certificate amount back to your PayPal account. If you have trouble with any of these, please don't hesitate to call or email us.

Bankcards are not processed automatically by the website. We process them from our offices after your internet order has been received, reviewed, and booked on our in-house computer system. This means that if you should happen to select an unavailable item, you will not be billed for it. Bankcards are charged within a day or two of when the plants are ordered.

We have state-of-the-art security.

Several years ago we completely removed any payment information from our systems. When you trust us with an order you are entering your bank card information on a remote hardened server thats only job is to communicate directly with the bank card companies. This server is completely firewalled from the internet and only accepts input from our payment page. (We call it "The Vault"!) Your information is immediately encrypted and exchanged for a Token - an ID number that only has significance to the bank card processor. Your bankcard information is never stored or saved anywhere when doing business with us.

This is the most secure and safest way known to handle transactions on the internet. We have taken extraordinary steps to ensure the security of your data. We highly value your trust and are very proud that when we say, "you can order from Bluestone with confidence" - we mean it!

After hitting the submit button, you should immediately see a Receipt page with your order number. A few minutes later a confirmation email should arrive. Here's another way to tell: If the items are still in your cart, you probably didn't place the order successfully. Please don't hesitate to get in touch with our office whenever you have any concerns.

Questions About Bluestone

Bluestone is a family owned and operated business founded in 1972. We grow and ship over 3 million plants a year nationwide. See our About Us section to learn more.

Yes, although we do not have display gardens, we do have thousands of visitors come and browse our mail-order setup. Outlet pricing discounts apply. We're located half-way between Cleveland, Ohio and Erie, Pennsylvania, just off I-90. It's a great way to see 900+ varieties all alphabetized on tables. We also have mums, shrubs, bedding annuals, hanging baskets, planted containers and in the fall, bulbs. Find out where we're located. Or you can take a virtual tour.

We are one of the last nurseries on a national scale to propagate, grow, and then ship its own material. We do buy in some of our plants for stock, but basically it is all done here.

Our catalog is full of pictures, information on our varieties, and recommendations on planting solutions. It is sent out twice a year for the spring and fall planting seasons and many people like to use the website and the printed catalog together. You can request a catalog anytime and receive it within 2 weeks.

Our catalog and website are chock full of pictures, and we are proud to say that we take quite a few of our own pictures right here on the nursery. A special thank you for those who supplied additional photography: American Takii, Armitage Images, Ball Seed, Blooming Nursery, Blooms of Bressingham, Bluebird Nursery, Briggs Nursery, Casa Flora, Concept Plants, Creek Hill Nursery, DeVrooman, Donahue's Greenhouse, Dowdeswell's Delphiniums, Elburg Botanical, Emerald Coast Growers, Flora Graphics, Garden World, GET Group Inc, Green Leaf Plants, Heuger, Hoffman Nursery, Horticultural Images, Intrinsic Perennial Gardens, Itsaul Plants, Ivy Garth, Jelitto Seeds, McGregor Nursery, Millette Photomedia, Netherlands Bulb Company, North Creek Nurseries, Northwest Garden Nursery, Pacific Plug & Liner, Perennial Pleasure Nursery, perennialresource.com, Pioneer, Plant Haven, Plants Nouveau, Plant Select, Plant Stock Photos, Proven Winners, Q&Z Nursery, Skagit Nursery, Spring Meadow, Stonehouse, Swift, Terra Nova, Van Bloem, Van Bourgondien, Van Hoorn, Visions Pictures

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