Frequently Asked Questions
You are sold out of a plant which I want to purchase.
When you will offer it again?
Most of the species we sell are very hard to obtain.
Obviously, this is more true of the rare species. We take what we can get, when we
can get it. We almost never know what we will be offered in the future and thus can
make no predictions of what will be available in the future.
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I checked the postage on the box in which you
sent my order and it is less than your 15% shipping and handling charge. Why is this?
The 15% shipping and handling charge covers much
more than just the cost of the postage. It is a rather long process to prepare plants
for shipping so that you will receive them with a minimum of problems. We have been
asked why we don't just raise the price a bit and then make shipping and handling
free. On the surface, this looks like a possible solution but creates an unfair price
increase for people who buy at the nursery. This 15% charge is really rather low
when compared to other companies which charge 20%-25%. In fact, the 15% charge is
somewhat of an average. In the case of very large and heavy plants, it is often not
enough, whereas in the case of small, very expensive plants it can be excessive.
In instances where we think a 15% charge is overly excessive, we may adjust it downward.
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I found a supplier of a species at a lower price
than what you are listing. Why is this?
Although we do sell some small seedlings, many of
the plants we offer are much larger than those offered elsewhere by others. We specialize
in large mature plants for collectors and rare plant enthusiasts. Not only are these
plants much harder to get, the costs of acquiring them are very high. This is especially
true for big and/or heavy plants. Everything we import is shipped in by air and the
cost can be very high for this alone. In short, we do not usually sell what is sold
by others but rather something much nicer.
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I have been told that it is not right to collect,
grow or sell plants which are collected in nature. Why do you offer collected plants?
If done with some common sense, I see nothing wrong
with the growing of collected plants. For further information on this topic, please
see my article "Plant
Collecting: Right or Wrong?"
in the Articles of Interest section.
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Can I grow species I want to purchase outside
where I live? How much cold can this species take? Will gophers eat it, etc.?
These are very common questions and not easy for
me to answer. I grow plants in Southern California, in pots, and have no experience
growing under different conditions. If you would like to offer any of your experiences
to me I would be glad to pass them on to others. If you have any doubts regarding
what to do with your plants, I strongly suggest that you grow them in pots and at
a temperature that is comfortable for you. Many of the bulbs, succulents and caudiciform
species have a distinct dormant period where they need no light and can be brought
into the house or other warm area during these times if necessary.
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I am new at growing these kind of plants. Can
you recommend something that is easy to take care of?
The following lists are in no way complete but only
a representative sample from the species which were listed at the time I wrote them.
If a species is not listed here, it does not necessarily mean that it is difficult
to grow but only that I do not consider it among the very easiest to grow:
SUCCULENTS/CAUDICIFORMS In some cases, dormancy
requirements must be met. This is usually only a matter of noticing when the plant
starts to grow and then watering it. When it starts to go dormant, stop watering
it. Agave, Aloe, Bombax, Bursera, Calibanus, Cacti (a very large group--most are
easy), Cyphostemma, Dioscoria, Dracaena, Euphorbia (a very large genus--most are
easy to grow), Fockea, Foquieria, Furcraea, Gasteria, Haworthia, Ibervillia, Ipomoea, Jatropha,
Kedrostris, Moringa, Othonna, Pelargonium, Pterodiscus, Pyrenacantha, Raphionachme,
Sarcocaulon (all, with possible exception of S. peniculinum), Stephania, Talinella,
BROMELIADS INCCLUDING TILLANDSIAS Most are easy as long as requirements listed below are met.
BULBS Most are very easy to grow as long as dormancy
requirements are met. As with Succulents/Caudiciforms, this is usually only a matter
of noticing when the plant starts to grow and then watering it. When it starts to
go dormant, stop watering it.
CYCADS Most are very easy to grow although there
are few exceptions. Some of the Australian Cycas species and the very tropical Zamia
species (Panama and northern South America) can be difficult. One key to success
is a well-drained soil mix. More complete information on this topic is presented
in my book, Cycads: Their
Cultivation and Propagation.
ORCHIDS All the species we carry are grown outside
here and are quite easy to grow.
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How do I take care of these plants?
The following is a list of basic information what
should prove useful to people who are not familiar with the plants we sell. In the
end, there is no substitute for experience:
SUCCULENTS/CAUDICIFORMS. Water: Most of these species want to grow in the warmer
months and go dormant when it is cool. There are a number of exceptions which come
from the Western Cape area of South Africa and grow in the winter. Let your plants
tell you when they want to grow. Keep them slightly moist until they start to grow;
then you can water them more frequently. Don't try and force them into growth with
heavy watering and fertilization. Temperature: If you know the temperatures where
they grow in habitat you can use these as a guide. If you do not have this information,
a good guide is to give your plants the same temperatures that make you feel comfortable.
Light: In general, these plants like bright light. When you first get your plants,
give them some shade until they get reestablished, and then gradually give them more
light. Soil: Use a well-drained soil, such as a commercial cactus mix. Fertilizer:
Use very little and not often. Don't use unless the plant is well established.
BULBS. Everything that has been said about Succulents/Caudiciforms
above will apply to bulbs.
BROMELIADS INCLUDING TILLANDSIAS. Temperature -Usually between 90 and 40. Some of the more tropical species will want it warmer in the winter. There are also some alpine species which aren't happy above 80. Soil- Most, other than the truly terrestrial species want a well drained and open mix, just like many orchids. A good starting mix would be equal parts of bark, perlite and peat or coir. Most all tillandsias will grow very well when mounted although many grow fine in a pot also.
CYCADS. More information can be found in my book,
Cycads: Their Cultivation
and Propagation. Some guidelines
follow: Water: Most all come from Summer Rainfall areas. Most species appreciate
water all year around. Light: Bright light with the exception of the tropical rain
forest species which like shade. Temperature: Most species come from tropical and
subtropical areas. With the exception of the very tropical species, most can take
temperatures at or slightly below freezing if it is not for too long. For best growth,
however, higher winters lows are recommended. Soil: This is very important. Use a
soil which is well drained. Fertilizer: Cycads are heavy feeders and appreciate frequent
fertilization but only when they are actively growing.
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I am looking for plants which have nice flowers.
Can you make some recommendations?
SUCCULENTS/CAUDICIFORMS. I concentrate on species that are attractive because of
their shapes and sculptural qualities. These are attractive at any time. However,
many have attractive flowers in addition to the above mentioned qualities. Adenium,
Aloe (flowers are not large but are colorful and there are lots of them), Amorphothallus
(flowers are not colorful but are large and interesting), Bombax, Brachystelma, Cacti
(most all species), Cassia, Delonix, Harpagophytum Pterodicus, Sarcocaulon, Tylecodon
cacalioides, Tylosema, Uncarina.
BULBS. Most bulbs have nice flowers but some are quite small. The species listed
below have large colorful flowers or large clusters of smaller, colorful flowers:
Ammocharis, Boophane, Brunsvigia, Clivia, Cryptostephanus, Cybistetes, Cyrtanthus,
Daubenya, Eucharis, Gethyllis, Haemanthus, Lachenalia (small but often brilliant
colors), Nerine, Radamanthus namaquensis, Scadoxus, Strumaria (small but attractive
CYCADS. Cycads do not have flowers. Their reproductive structures are contained in
cones that are often large and attractive.
ORCHIDS. All are attractive and/or interesting, although not all are large.
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What do you mean when you describe a plant as
a succulent bonsai?
Traditional bonsai plants are various species of
trees that have been shaped over many years to look like a small version of an ancient
weather-shaped tree. As beautiful as many of these are, they are not all that easy
to take care of. One of the main problems is that of lack of water on hot days. Succulent
bonsai are succulent plants which are either small succulent trees such as Bursera,
Pachycormis, Sesamothamnus, etc. or various other species that lend themselves to
staging in bonsai pots with ornamental rocks, etc. As the shaping has already been
done by nature, these are more or less "instant" specimens. They have another
great advantage in that they are usually much easier to take care of than traditional
Do you ever sell seeds of any kind?
We never sell seeds.
What kind of guarantee do you provide?
Usually one side (you) is required to take all the risk and the other side (me) takes none of the risk. We want you to be perfectly confident when you order from us. If for any reason, you are dissatisfied with your order, you may return it within seven days of receipt for a full refund. The only catch is that you must first let me why you are doing this and have received a response from me. This is only so I will know why you are doing this and also so that I can possibly inform you of something you did not know regarding the growth ahbits of the plants you ordered.
Note Regarding Cold Weather Shipping:
We ship plants during cold weather, insulating them with bubble wrap and have never had a problem using this method. We also offer 60 hour heat packs at no charge. We are happy to hold your paid order and ship when the weather improves.
Please understand that we can take no responsibility for plant damage due to cold.
For international orders: All plants leave our nurseries in excellent condition.
Please be aware that international shipments must go through your customs and
agricultural departments, and we cannot control or prevent any delays or losses
which might be caused once plants leave our country.
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