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Determining What Size to Purchase

Buying Guide
Determining What Size to Purchase

Before you begin shopping for plants to fill your garden, several decisions must be made to guarantee that you will be pleased with your plants and that you can give them the care that they need.

If you choose to start small, caring for young plants takes a bit of special attention, including keeping the soil moist without overwatering and possibly waiting up to a year to plant out in the garden until the roots are well developed. Younger sizes occasionally have the rootstock or understock still growing to help nurse the plant until it becomes established on its own. This green foliage can be removed, usually the following winter; however, some more tender or variegated varieties should have the understock preserved to prevent light-colored foliage from burning. For specific care instructions for your plants, feel free to ask us for advice: we are happy to help!

At Conifer Kingdom, we generally graft our maples and conifers in fall and winter. The following fall, we replant these young grafts into 1-gallon containers and sell them as BP-1s, our smallest size. At this stage, they are still very young plants, but they are in the process of rooting into a larger container. These plants are, therefore, between 1 and 2 years old before being considered full-size 1-gallon plants at the end of the following growing season. If the roots are not especially well-developed, we suggest leaving them in the container and keeping them moist for 6-8 months until mild planting weather returns.

Beginning gardeners may find it best to start with the full-size #1, #2, or #3 size. All of these are fairly young and quite easy to plant, yet they are well-developed enough to not require too much special attention.

Most varieties are offered in this range of sizes, each of which equates to a corresponding gallon size. #1s are the same as 1-gallon containers for instance, and these plants are typically 2-3 years old. If you have patience, this is an excellent place to start. You can watch your plant develop and get an amazing assortment of plant material for not a lot of money!

Picea omorika 'Aurea' – the golden Serbian spruce in #1 containers – this crop is about 3 years old. They are quite tall, largely because they are an intermediate grower. A 2-3 year old dwarf or miniature will typically be much shorter.

Faster-growing varieties are planted directly into 3-gallon or #3 containers, while more dwarf or miniature varieties will either stay another year in the #1 size or be replanted to the #2 size. Both the #2 and #3 sizes offer fairly well-developed plants that are essentially landscape-ready.

Acer palmatum 'Crimson Carole' is shown above in #3 containers. This is a typical size #3 Japanese Maple we ship – though dwarf and tight growing Japanese Maples are smaller. Please make sure to pay attention to the container size and the height – faster growing varieties are typically taller for their container size.

For something a little bigger still, we also offer #5, #7, & #10 containers which are very well-developed plants that would look great in a more mature landscape. At this size, most staking has been done such that the plants are shaped as they should be, requiring less effort from the customer. However, because the plants are substantially larger than the previous sizes mentioned, a bit more care will be needed in getting them established. The larger roots will require a bit more effort to get them appropriately untangled from the root ball, and simply because of their age, these plants will take longer to root into their new home.



All of the aforementioned sizes, can be shipped in cardboard boxes via FedEx.


Plastic bags are placed around the containers of the plants to preserve moisture and prevent soil from spilling in shipment.


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Cardboard boxes are stiffened with bamboo to prevent the plants from shifting during delivery.


Larger plants are "wrapped" to save on space and therefore shipping cost!


Holes are made in the cardboard boxes to insure good air circulation for the plants inside. Our packing team takes special care to insure that the plants are packaged very well before we send them to you!

We generally ship on Mondays unless you request otherwise, and your package should arrive by the end of that week, regardless of your location in the US. For those seeking really phenomenal, large landscape centerpieces, our Specimen plant listings are an excellent place to shop for a choice, very mature specimen. Specimen plants are generally considered 25-gallon (#25) and up. These large plants are sent on a wooden shipping pallet on a semi-truck and delivered to your home. Even if you choose to stick with the smaller sizes, these listings provide useful photographs of how a plant will develop in many years. No matter which size you choose, we are sure to offer you plants of exceptional quality that arrive fairly quickly and in excellent condition!

Picea abies 'Gold Drift' is offered in an array of sizes from a little 2-year-old plant to a #7 size. On the far left is pictured a mature 20-gallon specimen.


Acer palmatum 'Orangeola' is shown here ranging from a small 1-gallon plant to a massive 95-gallon specimen plant. These mature specimens really make a statement in your landscape!