Planning Your Winter and Early Spring Liners

Liners going dormantIf you receive liners during winter or early spring, we’ll probably ask where you’re putting the plants. Why do we do that? It helps ensure the plants you receive have the best chance of growing and thriving in their new conditions.

Most of Hoffman Nursery’s liners are grown and overwintered in cold frames, so the plants are vernalized and ready to go when you receive them. The root systems are fully developed, healthy, and hardened off. Depending on when you receive them, the plants may be completely dormant or have recently broken dormancy.

Focus on Dormancy
Why does it matter whether liners are dormant? Dormant plants can usually handle sub-freezing temperatures and harsh conditions. They can go into a cold frame or heated house without any worries. The plants then break dormancy based on conditions at the local site.

Plants that have broken dormancy will be actively growing and have tender foliage. They can be damaged if exposed to colder temperatures than they’re acclimated to. The key is to match the condition of liners you receive with conditions where they’ll be stored and grown out once potted.

Regional differences matter with actively growing linersFor example, a grower in southern Georgia could receive actively growing liners in late March and place them in a cold frame. Conditions there are likely to be similar to those here in North Carolina where the liners were grown. However, the same liners going to Wisconsin would need to be placed in a heated house. Local conditions in a cold frame would likely be too harsh and too much of a change for the plants to survive.

That’s why we pay particular attention to where plants are going during winter and early spring.

More Points to Consider
With winter and early spring shipments:

  • We recommend getting plants before and relatively close to the time they will start growing.
  • At our nursery, liners start breaking dormancy late March through early April.
  • snowing-157116_640With tender selections (e.g., Pennisetum x advena ‘Rubrum’) we ship only when temperatures are appropriate or the plants can be protected from freezing.
  • We advise against storing newly potted plants outside with no cover if there is a threat of frost or freezing temperatures.

For more information or to check on timing for your shipments, email our sales team or call us at 919-479-6620.

To learn more about off-season growing, go to the overwintering grasses article in our container production section.

Dormant liners of Prairie Dropseed

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