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FBTS 2023 Purchasing Guide

We hope the information on this page helps you to manage your ordering easily and efficiently.

New Varieties

We've been busy this year trial growing every new Salvia variety that seemed at all promising.  As the genus becomes more and more popular the number of annual introductions continues to skyrocket.  Our standards are high, and only a fraction of the new plants for 2023 that we trialed are ones we've deemed appropriate to add to our offerings.  If a Salvia you have heard about or seen advertised is not on our New Introductions list, there is a good reason for it.  You can read more about our selection process here.  New does not necessarily mean good or better.

We have added over a dozen exciting Salvia varieties - in our opinion the cream of the crop.  Many of these are plants were developed here before being tested in nationwide trials.  Others are from the breeding programs of other plant development nurseries.  We'll start sending out individual Salvia Alerts with detailed information for each of them soon.  Expect a few more additions before spring 2023 arrives.

For the first time in many years we've significantly pruned the list of plants being grown for 2023.  Most of the varieties we're dropping have not been particularly popular over the years, and likely will not affect your planting scheme.  We plan to continue to grow most of these on a rotating basis,  a portion of the list every third year.  This allows us to concentrate on the most unique, new and wanted varieties, and to have the resources to continue to develop new ones.  So if a plant you have seen previously is no longer listed on our site, take heart - it likely will return at some point in the future.

Hence, every plant listed on our website will be available at some time in 2023.  If a variety sells out for the season we will clearly say so on that plant's page. If a plant has a zero inventory and is not showing "Out of stock for 2023", it will become available soon - when we have successfully propagated it.  Be sure to use the "Notify me when back in stock" feature to receive an email when something that is temporarily out of stock once again becomes available.

Shipping Dates

In order to better serve our customers in southern climates, we are continuing the accelerated production schedule we adopted this spring for many of the deservedly popular plants that have in the past been responsible for later-than-desired ship dates.  Some plants just cannot be made available early in the season, but we're trying our best to accommodate your needs.  We anticipate that the early shipping dates will fill up rapidly.

Rare and Difficult Species

In years past we have made available almost all of what we grow when ordering starts in November.  This year we've decided not to do so, most notably for some of the rare and difficult to grow species.  Why, you ask?

Because more often than we would like, we have found it necessary to delay or even cancel orders for some of these tricky ones when they fail to grow on schedule.  Instead of risking disappointment, we will only make these available when the plants are almost ready to ship.  Remember, you can add to an existing order at any time and pay only the incremental shipping charges for the additions.  If something you are looking for is not in stock when you place an order, press the "Notify me when back in stock" button on that plant's page and when it is ready to go, we'll let you know.

Supply Chain Disruptions

The horticulture industry in this country is highly dependent on timely availability of the various materials.  These last two years pots, potting soil, fertilizer and other important components were becoming increasingly more difficult to source, and many nurseries were strongly impacted.  We've lined up our supplies for the entirety of 2023 and feel confident that our production schedules will not be disrupted by the lack of an important item.

Shipping Costs

UPS is raising their rates across the board by 6.9% for 2023, and the surcharge for residential and rural delivery is increasing as well.  The most troublesome factor is the cost of fuel, which determines the "Fuel Surcharge" - a percentage of the base shipping charge that is added to the total. In 2021 Fuel Surcharges were hovering around 6%. As of today they are 22.75%.  We've looked at other shipping options, but UPS continues to offer the best rates and the most reliable & timely service.  We continue to believe that our large, well grown plants are a good value - even with shipping rates going up.

BODACIOUS® Hummingbird Falls

Our most anticipated new plant from last year was the first Salvia specifically breed for hanging baskets.  It quickly became our top selling plant.  Attractive and easy to grow, Hummingbird Falls provides high sugar nectar in countless flowers to hummingbirds over an extended growing season.  Unlike sugar-water feeders that require frequent cleaning and filling, Hummingbird Falls asks only for some slow-release fertilizer and regular watering.  Enjoy our video on building a hanging basket here.  And see just how hummingbirds love this plant here.  We are growing a large number of these for you in 2023.

Offering Value & Early Ordering

Gardening is soothing, productive, and somewhat predictable, which is why it blossomed as one of the most popular activities nationwide during 2020.

At FBTS, the x, y, and z of our value equation are providing quality plants at fair prices, being as reliable as possible about delivery dates and resolution of shipping problems during this difficult time, and working hard to offer a sense of certainty through policies like Early Ordering. Normally, we wait until after Thanksgiving to give you the leap on making orders for the next growing season. But this year, we will open early ordering before the holiday. 

Combined Shipping Saves Money

One of the big benefits of registration at our website is being able to save on shipping charges by combining orders. This is a substantial perk, because it reduces your shipping charges per plant, and there is no limit on the number of orders you can combine. Combined shipping also makes it easier to add in a newly introduced plant that catches your attention after placing an order.  However, here are some important things to remember about this process: First, when requesting combined shipping, you must be logged in to your registered FBTS account. Second, when you combine orders, the original delivery date(s) for the earlier order(s) automatically changes to the delivery date set for the latest order. That's because the later date is when all the plants will be ready for shipping and planting.   The option to combine orders is presented on the Checkout page.

Combined shipping is the only way FBTS merges orders now. We no longer accept additions to orders or combined orders via email or telephone. For combined purchases, this policy eliminates the confusion of refunding shipping fees. Read more about combined shipping at our Everything Salvias Blog.

Accessing Rare & Unique Plants

Rare Salvias and other unique FBTS plants can be difficult to obtain. Examples of challenges limiting their availability include difficult propagation and seasonal growth patterns, such as a plant that is ready to grow in summer but not spring.

It can be risky to list these plants well before they are ready for shipping. To avoid out-of-stock disappointments for you and headaches for us, we now wait to list some of these species until they are nearly ready to ship. Some of the plants exemplifying this situation include:

  • Many of our Fuchsias
  • Milkweed species like Asclepias speciosa, A. incarnata, and A. tuberosa
  • Fruit Sage (Salvia pomifera) and
  • Sacred White Sage (Salvia apiana).

When one of our plants is out of stock - whether rare or a high-volume favorite - the least time-consuming way to track its return to availability is to click the button on its description page that says Notify me when back in stock. You will receive an automatic email alert when it is available again, but you may need to act quickly. Here are some tips for avoiding out-of-stock frustration.

Creating Wishlists to Aid Planning

The FBTS Wishlist Registry is a helpful and easy-to-use tool for planning purchases. Unlike a temporary list of ideas you might leave - and lose - in a digital shopping cart, an FBTS wishlist is something you can return to repeatedly. However, you need to be logged in to your registered FBTS account to access this tool.

The Registry can be used in a number of ways, including:

  • Setting up a list that account-holding friends can see when they want to give you an FBTS gift
  • Maintaining private lists of plants you want to give to family and friends and
  • Keeping private records of plants you intend to purchase for your own garden.

At Flowers by the Sea Online Nursery, our shopping cart will only retain your choices for three days. That's because as soon as you log in to your registered account and put a plant in your shopping cart, it's no longer available to other customers. If we allow plants to stay in carts overlong, they become overgrown and unsaleable. An FBTS Wishlist solves that problem.

Looking for a Larger Quantity?

Some of us love to mass large swaths of the landscape with one kind of plant or use green groundcovers instead of gravel or bark chips.

At FBTS, we continually propagate hundreds of Salvia varieties, many companion plants, and - as of 2020 - several kinds of luscious Fuchsia. Yet we usually can only maintain a limited number of any given plant in our greenhouses at one time. Often, however, we accept special orders to meet your specific needs. If you need a large quantity of an FBTS plant that exceeds what is available in our inventory, please contact us. We can discuss a delivery schedule that fits both your needs and our propagation schedule.

Understanding Shipping Dates

Flowers by the Sea Farm and Online Nursery grows and ships plants year-round, weather permitting. We serve gardeners in varying climates nationwide. Customers in warm winter locales may already be planting in early February while others in chilly regions have to wait until late spring. But whatever your weather expectations, FBTS makes it possible for you to order now and select a delivery date.

Unlike most mail-order plant companies, FBTS maintains a propagation schedule designed to meet the needs of many climates. We can closely estimate set shipping dates far in advance of when you need your plants.

When you place an order, our shopping cart page lets you select a shipping week from a list of choices. But if extreme weather is predicted for the week you choose, we'll protect your order by shipping later. Here's more info about FBTS shipping practices.

Registering for a Secure FBTS Account

Before saying anything about the benefits of registration for an FBTS account, we need to note that we never share or sell your data. Also, we don't store information from credit, debit, or any kind of payment cards. Furthermore, we protect user privacy via the cyber security leader Trust Guard, which secures you and us against data breaches and malware as well as payment card fraud.

Now, on to the benefits, some of which are already detailed in other newsletter articles here. They include:

  • Money-saving combined shipping
  • Participation in the FBTS Wish List Registry
  • Ready availability of records about your past purchases and
  • Access to special discounts, such as the Salvia Daily Deal - a 24-hour sale offering a limited number of a specific plant at a rock-bottom price.

It's easy, fast, safe, and helpful to register for an FBTS account.