Here are answers to frequently asked questions about Northern Grown Perennials and the plants we supply:
QUESTION: What size plants can we expect to receive from you?
ANSWER: We go out of our way to supply large size plants with strong root systems. Our plants are field grown on our farm. We do not ship so-called “junior” size plants which come from a wholesaler. You can expect to receive doubles/triples on daylilies.
Peonies will be 3-5 eye crown divisions at minimum. Slower growing hostas will be large single plants, while rapid growers will be 2-3 eye (or more).
QUESTION: How long have you been in business?
ANSWER: We have been growing and supplying our mainstays for over 25 years.
QUESTION: Where can we find pictures of all the plants you list?
ANSWER: The internet is the best source of pictures. For most hostas, go to “hostalibrary.org” . The pictures on this site are mostly accurate. For both hostas, daylilies and peonies, do a Google search using the word for the type of plant and followed by the name of the cultivar. This resource is increasingly helpful. You can also do a Google “image” search on the Google homepage—click “image on upper right, then type in the name of plant and cultivar, and hit “enter”.
Photos and detailed information for our Northern Grown Perennials introductions of Hostas and Daylilies are available on our web page.
QUESTION: Are all our plants tested for virus/rust?
ANSWER: We do not submit every plant we grow (about 2,000 cultivars) for virus testing. However, our plants are inspected each summer by a USDA inspector from the Wis. Dept. of Agriculture. All our own NGP hosta introductions are checked for virus before being introduced. And we are careful to “inspect” our own stock for any problems in the course of the season. Daylily rust does not survive in our climate, thankfully, and since we do not grow plants in a greenhouse setting, this problem does not present itself here.
QUESTION: Has the inspector ever found virus or rust on your plants?
QUESTION: Are your plants guaranteed to be true to name?
QUESTION: Do you have your NGP hosta introductions tissue cultured?
ANSWER: No. We have never had any of our introductions tc’d or mass produced. We know that several of our introductions have been tissue cultured and are in the trade as such both in the US and in Europe; however, this has always been done without our permission. Non-tc’d hostas from other hybridizers are indicated with an “OS” in our listings (Originator’s Stock).
QUESTION: What sort of guarantee do you give on your plants?
ANSWER: In addition to the guarantee of being true to name, we will replace or refund any plants which might not prosper in the summer of their planting. In addition, we offer a further guarantee on NGP introductions: If you are not satisfied with their performance at the end of the second growing season, simply return the undivided plant and we will refund both the price of the plant and shipping. There is no other such offer to be found in the nursery trade to our knowledge. We want customers to be satisfied.
QUESTION: Can we visit the farm to see and purchase plants?
ANSWER: While we do not have a walk-in type of nursery as we have nothing growing in pots for instant pickup, we can usually arrange for visits once the craziness of the spring rush has abated somewhat. Just contact us a few days in advance and we will do our best to be available. Saturdays work best, but Thursday and Friday afternoons are often good times as well. Although we are not usually able to dig “on the spot” during a visit, if you wish to place an order in advance and then pick up your plants here we will be glad to have them dug and waiting for you. And we always enjoy talking plants with gardening friends!
QUESTION: Do you offer discounts?
ANSWER: Yes. These are detailed on the General Information page on this site.
QUESTION: Do you sometimes have special sales?
ANSWER: Yes, we usually have two or three special sales during the season. Just check our website and take advantage of them when they are listed.
QUESTION: Do you have display gardens?
ANSWER: That depends on one’s definition of the word “display”. Ours is not a public garden for the purpose of display only. Ours is a working nursery where one can expect to see large numbers of hostas, daylilies and peonies, both older classics and very recent introductions. Some are planted in “display” type beds, while others are in field row type settings. About an acre of daylilies are grown in mulched nursery rows—one can expect to see some of the newest from upper Midwest hybridizers, as well as other popular types. In addition we grow about 100 Peony cultivars, several of which are the new Intersectional varieties that are becoming so popular.
QUESTION: Are intersectional (Itoh) peonies as hardy as the herbaceous types?
ANSWER: Yes, the intersectionals are equally hardy and much more resistant to crown rot problems.
QUESTION: Do you ever allow groups to visit?
ANSWER: Yes, with some prior arrangement, we can often arrange for such visits.
QUESTION: Do you offer discounts to plant societies and clubs?
ANSWER: Yes. Contact us for specifics.
QUESTION: What is the best method to contact you for information?
ANSWER: E-mails are the surest method of communication. We try to answer e-mails quickly. Our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org .
QUESTION: Are you available to answer questions about plants by phone?
ANSWER: Certainly. The best times to reach us are in early morning (6:00 a.m. CST) or after dark in the evenings. When the weather is good we are outside during daylight hours and do not have a secretary to answer calls. Evening calls up to 11:00 p.m. CST are welcome.
QUESTION: Do you ever send gift plants with orders?
ANSWER: Yes, we always do so with hosta/daylily orders. Gift plants will be of the same type and price range as the plants ordered. We are glad to choose from your long list of requested possibilities.
QUESTION: Do you offer gift certificates?
ANSWER: Yes, we offer gift certificates in whatever amount you desire.
QUESTION: What method of payment do you accept?
ANSWER: We accept checks, money orders and Paypal. Paypal is increasingly popular with our customers since we are not set up to do credit cards. With Paypal, just contact us as to availability of plants you desire; we will then confirm availability and you can make your payment to our email address.
QUESTION: What is the meaning of DORMANT, SEMI-EVERGREEN and EVERGREEN regarding daylilies?
ANSWER: A dormant daylily “goes to sleep” during the winter with the foliage browning down. A semi-evergreen partially goes to sleep with its foliage partially browning. An evergreen plant does not send a signal to its foliage to brown down. Many evergreen types are tender and not necessarily totally winter hardy. Accordingly, dormant varieties usually are best grown in the north and evergreen types in the south where winters are warmer. However, some evergreen types are quite hardy in the north if given a bit of winter protection.
QUESTION: How much water do the plants need?
ANSWER: Especially with newly planted plants, one should keep them moist, but not sopping wet, while they re-establish a root system. During dry periods is it wise to provide your plants with a good, deep watering once a week. It is far better to water deeply once a week than to give a shallow watering every day as this encourages the plants to grow a deeper root system.
If one encounters a very dry fall, it is wise to provide additional water before the ground freezes. A dry fall and a hard, open winter can be very, very hard on any sort of plant.
A couple tips in regard to DAYLILIES and WATER: If you want really great bloom, give your daylilies extra water. This is especially important early in the season, well before one sees any scapes popping up. At this pre-scape stage, ample waterings will produce better branching/higher bud count. We have noted this time and again when we have had luxuriant early season rains. Of course once the daylilies are developing sizeable buds, ample water will produce the large blooms of good color that one desires.
QUESTION: What do you do with daylily seedling clumps after you have selected what you want to keep for possible introduction?
ANSWER: We hate to just till them under as these are still nice flowers with tons of vibrant color. Accordingly, we offer them to gardeners, clubs, and landscapers. These are usually husky 3-4 fan tetraploid clumps and most are dormant in nature. All have survived two Wisconsin winters. They are sold in minimums of 10 at $5.00 per clump. Each is an individual unto itself in color/form. These are for on-farm pick up.
QUESTION: Are your daylilies winter hardy?
ANSWER: We test all the daylilies we offer for two seasons before listing them. This testing process eliminates the very tender types in our northern climate. The excessively tender ones simply cannot stand our rigorous conditions and succumb, while others may live, but do not prosper. These are also eliminated. Our Frostline Daylily introductions have been grown on for a minimum of 5 seasons to test for hardiness and performance before introducing them. The daylilies all receive some loose hay mulch over the tops in the planting rows during winter. This is a practice we heartily recommend for all daylilies as it protects against crown damage on open winters, diminishes the need for summer watering, and holds down weeds.
QUESTION: What kind of mulch do you recommend?
ANSWER: To begin with, Hostas and Peonies should be mulched only very carefully so that the mulch is at least a couple inches (at minimum) from the crown. Mulching tight to the crown of Hostas invites slugs!!!! Mulching tight to the crown of Peonies invites ROT. Daylilies are another matter-thankfully. With most hardy, northern bred Daylilies one can mulch up to the crown of the plant, just not extremely deeply.
What’s the best mulch to use? Good question. It depends on what you have available locally. A few suggestions: Ground bark is better than wood ships. Seasoned wood ships generally work fairly well, but be sure that there is no walnut in the blend. One of the very best mulches that is nearly always available, but seldom used is that of dry grass clippings. We can’t understand why some gardeners choose to throw away this “green gold”, buying expensive bagged mulches instead.
Here at the farm, hay is our mulch of choice as it is readily available. We apply it thickly between daylily rows and more moderately around new plantings. Some will say that it has weed/grass seeds and shouldn’t be used. True, it will usually contain seeds, unless one can acquire second crop hay. We have been mulching with lst crop hay here for 25 years and continue to do so. By doing so, we keep about an acre of daylilies “weeded” with only about 12 hours expenditure per season. That is a lot more fun than hoeing and more “green” than applying herbicides. Applying mulch annually prevents most seeds from germinating anyway—after all, it is called “mulch”.
QUESTION: When is the best time to plant hostas/daylilies/peonies?
ANSWER: Peonies require cool fall planting (late September through mid November).
Hostas and daylilies are best planted once the ground warms well. Very early planting times when the ground is still cold/wet are not suggested. In spite of ideas to the contrary, mid season planting is ideal as the warm ground facilitates fast root growth. While we try to avoid planting during times of extreme heat/humidity, we do the majority of our own plantings in high summer and fall. Since we ship large plants, customers of long standing tell us that late season plantings also work well for them. We suggest planting the smaller hosta types by early August. Since these “minis” have smaller root systems, they require time to establish for over-wintering.
QUESTION: You list only a few miniature hostas. Why is that?
ANSWER: While we realize that minis are the current “rage”, we also realize that they carry with them a challenging set of drawbacks. Their very small crowns and corresponding root systems readily fall victim to dry summers and frozen winters unless given excellent care. Those who give the minis the pampering they require are rewarded accordingly. We often hear from hostaphiles tales of woe as to disappointing losses of the little ones. We have tested dozens of the little critters and been disappointed with the mortality rate. Any of the few little ones we list must prove hardy for us under ‘normal’ gardening conditions. Nothing can be more discouraging than to invest in a flotilla of pricey minis, only to lose most of them in the course of a hot summer and bitterly cold winter. To be bluntly honest, a great many minis offered for sale are very short lived unless given pampered care.
QUESTION: What kind of fertilizer to you use?
ANSWER: We do not use any commercial fertilizers on our plants. On some of our heavier soils we will dig in a good amount of horse manure initially or when replanting a bed or row. Because the daylily rows are mulched with hay each fall, the hay composts itself during the summer, adding enrichment to the soil. We often add cleanings from the pigeon lofts to peony plantings and to some areas which are lower in phosphorus, as this pigeon “poo” seems to have just the right balance of NPK. Some folks add heavy amounts of nitrogen to hosta and daylily plantings. In combination with consistent watering this can produce some lush foliage and bloom. However, one should avoid consistently heavy applications of high nitrogen fertilizer as the lush nitrogen growth can also weaken plants to the point that they are less winter hardy.
QUESTION: Are you willing to share hybridizing suggestions with folks who are interested in this aspect of horticulture?
ANSWER: We are glad to do so.
Northern Grown Perennials
54779 Helland Rd.
Ferryville, WI 54628
Email us at: email@example.com