Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is your minimum to place an order?
A. 6 flat minimum per order (72 cell full flats only).
Q. Am I allowed to use TERRA NOVA® Nurseries photography?
A. All photography is property and © of TERRA NOVA® Nurseries, and is only to be used for promotional material related to TERRA NOVA® Nurseries products.
Please credit TERRA NOVA® in the following manner:
Photo(s) courtesy of TERRA NOVA® Nurseries, Inc.
Q. Where can I buy TERRA NOVA® plants?
A. TERRA NOVA® Nurseries is strictly a wholesale nursery. Although this is the case, we have a listing of local garden centers that carry our material. Click here to access the retail-source area.
Q. How do I find out what kind of hardiness and light needs your plants have?
A. Each plant is described in detail, with hardiness, culture, unique characteristics, and size. Click here to see all of our plants.
Q. What shipping methods do you use?
A. View our shipping page for details.
Q. Will my plants freeze in transit?
A. At TERRA NOVA® we understand that many of our customers may experience COLD and HOT weather that could negatively impact the health of plants in transit.
We ask for your assistance in contacting us 3-5 days in advance of your scheduled shipping date if you feel you may have extreme weather conditions. We would be happy to adjust your ship date accordingly to avoid potential losses upon delivery.
Please call your sales rep. at 800-215-9450
We do our best to ship complete orders at all times, however, due to the nature of the business, that is not always possible. It is our policy to phone or fax our customers prior to shipping, to assure you are ready and expecting you shipment. At this time, you may also add to your order to fill your box, which minimizes your shipping costs on a per plant basis.
Please be aware that if we do not hear back from you, your order will ship, so let us know if you need to delay a shipment.
Q. What kind of soil should I use?
A. Starting from ground-zero, let’s talk soils. Most of the plants in our breeding program are woodlanders–plants that enjoy PERFECT drainage and an even, level moisture. A good soil mix is the key to all of this. We recommend the following mix: 40% Pumice (or large grain Perlite), 30% Bark and 30% Peat. 7/3 aggregate to Peat. To this mix we add a small starter-fertilizer charge w/micronutrients, lime to bring pH up to 5.8 (TEST your local water supply for Ca levels before adding ANY lime–we have lime in our water and do not add any), and a surfactant (for even watering). This mix will dry out faster than annual mixes, but will keep the plants stronger and better able to handle the “dog-days” of summer.
Q. What kind of fertilizer should I use?
A. Perennials are NOT annuals. Soluble applications in the 250 – 300ppm rate may be tolerated occasionally but we prefer a very mild 75 – 100ppm. Hostas and daylilies can take that heat, but Heuchera, Pulmonaria and Tiarella cannot. We all know that too much lush growth will inhibit flowering and create a plant that is more difficult to maintain. Lush plants crowd (and kill) smaller plants, they dry out faster and become fertilizer “junkies” needing more than normal to support their extra foliage. For most perennials, a moderate growth rate with firm foliage is preferred. Soluble feed can be very variable–check your proportioners often for proper dilution. Different container sizes require different fertilizers.
We prefer to use a slow release fertilizer in larger containers. We have tried several products in the market, some of which did well until the first week of warm weather where they “poured on the juice” and just about burned our crop. We prefer to use a polymer coated product with small particle size like Apex. We use a 16-5-9 formula with an 5-7 month formulation w/micros + w/iron. Rates are on the bag. Most of the TERRA NOVA® line has lower, rather than greater fertilizer needs. McConkey (800-426-8124) or your local ag store may handle Apex. Fertilizer may be mixed directly into the soil or top dressed. If it’s mixed in, prepare only enough for a potting session as salts can build up in a soil pile after time with any slow-release fertilizer.
Q. What kind of pots, potting and watering should I use?
A. Pots should be selected for a good water column for Pulmonaria, but I have seen Heuchera, Heucherella, and Tiarella perfectly happy in an 8″ Azalea pot. This will save employee’s backs while presenting a pot that is perceived by your customers as a premium size but hold the same soil as a gallon pot. I have seen very nice plants in 5 1/2″ to 6″ plastic terra cotta pots. If you are getting a premium price you should try very hard to offer a premium pot!
When transplanting into containers, DO NOT bury the crowns of the plants. This is the single most common mistake and the most deadly. Match the plug soil-height or the transplant soil-height and you will have no problems. In greenhouses with moss, algae, or liverwort problems-a 1/2″ layer of pumice can do much to keep these primitive weeds down. A cup of vinegar in a gallon of water can be a reasonable liverwort-killer. ALWAYS practice on a single plant before you do a bunch, and spraying the vinegar solution may be just as effective a drench. Vinegar can kill plants too. Always water plants in after transplanting. Air pockets can kill! Big, elongated plugs of Heuchera and Salvia can be planted deep-just keep the crown above the soil.
In Holland, watering is done by journeymen, quite often the most skilled in the nursery. The opposite is true in the U.S. and I have seen more damage from overwatering than from drying out. Train your people to feel the soil, to not be afraid to knock the occasional plant out of the pot to see how well pots are getting watered. Ask them to let most of the TERRA NOVA® plants to dry out slightly, then water well. Pulmonaria will suffer however if they go too dry–so keep them a little more moist. Know that different nurseries use different soils and to identify tags and water the particular nursery’s pots accordingly. Many pots will develop hydrophobic tendencies especially high bark mixes. “I can’t get them wet!” is a familiar cry in midsummer. This may be the time to work some surfactant into the soil by proportioner or by watering can–1/2 teaspoon will do several gallons!
Q. What type of deadheading or maintenance should I do?
A. Would you handle produce in the store if it was covered with mud and had dead leaves or broken, saggy flowers hanging on it? Would you accept vegetables that were covered with bugs or disease from your distributor? I’ve seen all of the above in nurseries. Try to apply this produce scenario with your customers. If it’s brown, cut it down. If it’s done flowering, clean it up. Pots covered with mud should be cleaned. Pot washers are de rigeur’ in European Garden Centers. I find it very helpful to move plants on displays. This allows more uniform light to hit all plants and to expose the “orphan” in the back. Rotate plants if there is a single source of light. I was at a Behnke’s store in Baltimore and saw such a dedication to quality–there weren’t gaping holes in displays. It seemed that displays were freshened not weekly, not daily, but on an ongoing basis.
I see nurseries with “1/2 off” benches with straggly, anemic, and sick plants. What message does this tell your customer? “Hey, our plants will do this?!” “Hey, look here–we can’t sell plants and we let them go to hell!” Why not use this all too precious display space to house more plants or a pot-your-own area: free soil (buy bulk) and plants and containers must be bought at the store. This is America, people –INNOVATE! (may be modified for our Canadian friends!)
Q. How do I maintain Heuchera?
A. Some varieties are not suited for deep south areas that are very hot and/or humid (usually H. sanguinea types). They MAY rot if kept too moist. Do not mulch, heavy mulching can kill Heuchera in hot or humid areas. Most Heuchera are shade tolerant, but would appreciate morning sun, 30% shade is best. Too much fertilizer can also kill them.
Q. How do I maintain Heucherella?
A. These plants are not as tolerant of shade and will fade or not bloom as well when placed in full sun. Morning sun is best in the south. Even moisture is preferred. Too much fertilizer can kill them.
Q. How do I maintain Tiarella?
A. These are SHADE loving plants, but morning sun is okay. They will bloom their heads off with no sun (55% shade is ideal). Varieties are chosen for mildew-resistance; however, extreme drought followed by watering may give the right conditions for an attack. Even moisture is preferred. Too much fertilizer can kill them.
Q. How do I maintain Pulmonaria?
A. Some earlier varieties have lanky flowering stalks. These can be trimmed off with impunity and foliage will quickly follow. Do not fertilize while these plants are in bloom as it will shorten the bloom time. Keep the “puls” evenly moist. IMPORTANT – Pulmonaria like a cool root-run. Do not put on benches if it can be avoided as they much prefer the ground. 2 gallon containers can grow a much better plant than a 1 gallon. Keep in the cooler areas of the nursery/garden center. Morning sun is appreciated. Wilting is common and expected on hot days. If the soil is moist, they snap back once things are a bit cooler.
What appears to be Chlorosis (anemia) showing on the foliage can be several things: Iron deficiency, fixed by the addition of Iron Cheleate. Magnesium or Sulfur deficiency improved by the addition of Magnesium Sulfate. PH imbalance–soil is locking up available Iron. Sulfur is usually the culprit. Calcium overdose (related) also locks up micronutrients and changes pH. Sometimes lime is left out of a potting mix to compensate for lime in the water. Soil tests should indicate what problem exists.
Our grower Christine says that if micronutrients are not a problem after testing, then suspect the inability of the roots to uptake nutrients. Damage to the roothairs by overfertilizing or drought can cause a chlorotic condition. Leaching with clear water and attention to good watering practices should reverse the situation. Avoid heavy mulches in hot/humid areas. Too much fertilizer can kill them.
Some earlier varieties have lanky flowering stalks. These can be trimmed off with impunity and foliage will quickly follow. Do not fertilize while these plants are in bloom as it will shorten the bloom time. Keep the “puls” evenly moist. IMPORTANT – Pulmonaria like a cool root-run. Do not put on benches if it can be avoided as they much prefer the ground. 2 gallon containers can grow a much better plant than a 1 gallon. Keep in the cooler areas of the nursery/garden center. Morning sun is appreciated. Wilting is common and expected on hot days. If the soil is moist, they snap back once things are a bit cooler. What appears to be Chlorosis (anemia) showing on the foliage can be several things: Iron deficiency, fixed by the addition of Iron Cheleate. Magnesium or Sulfur deficiency improved by the addition of Magnesium Sulfate. PH imbalance–soil is locking up available Iron. Sulfur is usually the culprit. Calcium overdose (related) also locks up micronutrients and changes pH. Sometimes lime is left out of a potting mix to compensate for lime in the water. Soil tests should indicate what problem exists. Our grower Christine says that if micronutrients are not a problem after testing, then suspect the inability of the roots to uptake nutrients. Damage to the roothairs by overfertilizing or drought can cause a chlorotic condition. Leaching with clear water and attention to good watering practices should reverse the situation. Avoid heavy mulches in hot/humid areas. Too much fertilizer can kill them.
Q. How do I maintain Echinacea planted in late fall?
A. Plants started in the fall in (September to October) from a 72 cell size need to be bulked up for over-wintering in a 2.5 to 3 inch size container or equivalent cell pack. This step will significantly cut losses due to over potting in the fall.
Northern growers need to keep Echinacea heated at 58 degrees in order to keep them growing during the winter time. They will need light interruption during the night from 1:00 am until 2:00am and Daylight extension from 5:00am until natural daylight occurs during the day.
Do not fertilize over 50 PPM nitrogen. Regular testing of the EC is advised to insure that limited watering schedules during the winter months are not causing dangerous levels of salts to buildup in the soil. This can be a critical issue if slow release fertilizers are incorporated into the soil then not monitored very carefully for EC buildup. Echinacea like a wide range of soil-types, but all soil much have good porosity and a PH over 5.0. Watering needs to be on the dry side during the winter months.
It is recommended that there is scouting (weekly) for botrytis during the winter in the crown and on the plants. A winter drench is required at the start of the dark season or no later than the end of September, of a broad Spectrum Fungicide to control and prevent disease caused by high humidity. Air ventilation and good circulation are a must to keep the humidity down.
It is recommended that the plants not be sheared during the winter months. This will defeat the propose of heating the plants and keeping them actively growing.
Q. What is rust and how can I control it?
A. Leaves with rust. Rust is a disease commonly associated with cooler temperatures in the spring. Symptoms are medium to dark brown pustules on the bottom of the leaf, which when old enough, often show on the top of the leaf as bleached spots. The lesions will create chlorotic spots on the upper surface of the leaf. As the lesions enlarge, they are visible. They may also drop out of the leaf, leaving a hole. Leaf pustules contain spores that can spread by air movement. Rust can be introduced by infected plant material, so scout incoming plants for symptoms. The fungal pathogen Puccinia heucherae, which causes this rust, is specific to Heuchera and Saxifraga (Jan Byrne).
Like many diseases, all rusts (there are different genera) spread rapidly and the key to control is scouting and identifying the pathogen before the spots show up on the top of the leaf.
Prevention is the best cure. Good air circulation/venting is essential. Close, cool, and moist conditions will bring it on. Gold Heuchera are most susceptible. Kocide WP is helpful as a pre-winter spray. Strike®, Zerotol ® and Cleary’s® are effective as pre and post treatments. Diseased leaves should be removed and thrown in the trash and not composted. Campanula rust is treated similarly.
The disease is relatively easy to control in the greenhouse, which is to simply raise the temperatures to above 70° Fahrenheit (21° Celsius) day, and 60° Fahrenheit (15° Celsius) night. This can be done for approximately one week, which when combined with a spray treatment, is usually sufficient.
Q. Root Weevil/Vine Weevil
A. Overall, Heuchera has proven resistant to slugs, spider mites, white flies and an assortment of other pests. Cutworms may take an occasional nibble, but if there is a nemesis, it’s the dreaded Strawberry Root Weevil in the West and the Black Vine Weevil in the East. Weevil damage is usually evidenced by notching on the edges of the leaves in late May and June. Weevils are seen only during evening forages. The insidious evil occurs over winter, when the beetle larvae hatch and channel through the succulent stems. In a severe infestation, the entire top of the plant will fall off when you rake your yard. This reveals the cream-colored grubs laughing at you. Fortunately, Heuchera are so tough that I have seen many adventitious roots already sprouting from the decapitated top. This can be replanted in the soil without much further ado.
Control: Talstar® and Orthene® during active adult season May-July. Nemasys® nematodes to control larvae in September. Remember to water before and after application to get the nematodes to those evil weevils!
Q. Fall & Winter Dormant Plants
A. Plants ordered for shipment between October and the end of April may be shipped dormant.
- It is NOT recommended to pot a dormant plug into a gallon pot.
- Young plants will tolerate less cold then established plants. Plants received in late fall through winter in dormant states should be maintained in frost free environment between 35-45º Fahrenheit (2-7º Celsius).
- Dormant plants should be kept moist but NOT WET.
- Fertilizer should be WITHHELD from dormant plants until new growth begins to appear.
- When plants begin to come out of dormancy, they will not all emerge in the flat at the same time and those that have, should be removed from the flat to avoid over watering the plants that have not yet awaken.
It should be recognized that all plants are not the same, for example Athyrium have dark brown roots, which are often mistaken for dead roots. If you have any questions when you receive your shipment please call our sales department and we are happy to assist.
Q. Summer Dormant Plants
A. Arum, Corydalis and Dicentra may arrive summer dormant, or may be forced into dormancy during shipment due to heat. Reduce the amount of water, keeping plants moist but not wet, and allow to come naturally out of dormancy, which may be in the fall or the following spring. Make sure to check the roots on receipt and if they look good, your plants are more than likely going to be just fine. Please also be aware that when we ship dormant plants, we inspect each plug to assure they are good viable plants.