First Time Ordering?: What You Need to Know

May 6, 2020
Category: About Us

While there are many industry standards, the ordering process among starter plant companies can be very different. When you are ordering from North Carolina Farms, we try to make things as easy and accessible as possible because we want you to be successful. 

If you are new to ordering with us or you would just like a refresher, we’re going to walk through everything you need to know to get the most out of your experience with us. 

Ways to Order

We have built our website with the goal of making ordering easy. You will find all of the necessary information on our website, including pricing, availability, product information, and growing tips. 

You can create an account or log into your existing one and order right there. The cart will empty after 30 minutes of inactivity, but once you load another item into your cart, it should auto-fill with the items you had before. (If they are still available.)

You also have the option of emailing or mailing in your order. Make sure you include your company information, payment method, and requested ship week with your order, and we will enter it for you!

Our office staff is available Monday-Friday from 8 am-5 pm to help you place your order. If you have questions or just want to place your order over the phone, give us a call. 


Our availability is listed on our website. These numbers are live, so as orders are placed, item counts will reduce. We update the starting count weekly and release our list of products available for shipment the following week. You do not have to log in to view any of this information. 

The availability that you see online is the same availability that our office staff sees. If your item is not listed on availability, it is more than likely not available. We highly recommend checking availability before you begin placing your order. This will make the process better for you.

Ship Week

The greenhouse industry standard for scheduling orders is by week number. To simplify the process, we schedule our orders by the Monday of that week. (03-30-2020 was week 14.) 

We do not guarantee that all orders will ship on Monday, but that they will be shipped that week. We ship Monday through Wednesday of each week. Orders are usually shipped on the same day in which they are pulled.

Order Minimums

Our order minimum is four full trays for rooted orders, and 600 cuttings for unrooted orders. This minimum is per order. As mentioned above, our orders are split up by ship weeks. 

If you were to order four trays over a period of three weeks, even though you appear to have ordered the minimum, you have placed three separate orders, and those orders will fall below the minimum. You will be charged a low order fee on each of them.

The low order fee for rooted orders is $8 per missing tray. If you order one tray, the low order fee will be $24. When you order two trays, the low order fee will be $16. And when you order three trays, the low order fee will be $8.

The low order fee for unrooted orders is $5 per missing 100. If you order 100 unrooted cuttings, the low order fee will be $25. If you order 200 unrooted cuttings, the low order fee will be $20 and so on. 

Rooted and unrooted orders ship separately, so if you’re ordering four trays of rooted and 200 unrooted cuttings, you will be placing two separate orders, and your unrooted order will be below minimum.

Maximizing Your Box

There are multiple reasons to maximize your box, all of which benefit you. First of all, we’ve noticed that larger boxes ship better. They are less likely to be tossed around by delivery drivers, and therefore it is less likely for your plants to be damaged. 

Second of all, you will get the most out of your freight cost by filling your box. Your cost per tray will come down as you make the box fuller. When you leave empty space in the box, you will end up paying for that space in freight because the freight cost is determined by box size.

So how can you maximize your box? 

  1. We highly recommend picking a ship week where all of your items are available so that they can ship together. The availability on our website is accurate, but there is a tiny bit of wiggle room. If three of your items are available for the week of January 1, but the fourth item isn’t available until January 8, we can (more times than not) hold the three items one week to ship with the fourth item. We cannot, however, ship the fourth item before it is ready.


  1. We recommend ordering in even trays. Our typical box can hold six to eight trays depending on the plant height. For Aloe, Begonia, Geraniums, and taller items, we recommend planning for a six-tray box. For average height items like Ajuga, Pilea, and Purslane, we recommend planning for an eight-tray box. You can always ask our staff to advise you on the capacity of the box, but at times we will not truly know how full your box will be until it is packed.

Freight Cost

The majority of our orders are shipped via FedEx. We also offer delivery on our truck and pickup at our location when available. Rooted orders ship FedEx Second Day, and unrooted orders ship overnight. 

We ship Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of each week, so the latest that you should be receiving your order on any given week is Friday. 

When an order is placed, we will quote freight for the order. This freight quote is usually very accurate. If actual freight is lower, we will only charge you for what actual freight was. 

The freight that we charge is the lowest we can charge. We are continually negotiating with FedEx to get a better price for our customers. If we deliver on our truck, we will never charge more than what FedEx quotes.


There are multiple payment options when ordering with us. The easiest and most common is Credit or Debit Card. We will not charge your card until the order ships. 

The only exception is if you are placing your order online and the order (or any of the orders in your cart) is set to ship within the next three weeks. Our online checkout system is set up to go ahead and capture payment in that case. 

One to three days before your order is set to ship, you may see a preauthorization charge to your account. We preauthorize in advance to make sure there are no issues with the information we have on your card. Once the order ships, we will capture the payment due for the plants shipped.

Other payment options are Paypal and check. With these methods, we will just need the payment before we can ship your order. You will receive an acknowledgement with the estimated total and a pricing breakdown. You can send in a check for that amount.

Wholesale Ordering Only

We are a wholesale company and can only sell to businesses, schools, and nonprofits. We are not allowed to sell to the general public. 

If you are not buying to resell, we recommend reaching out to locally owned garden centers. Browse what they have to offer and let them know what you’re looking for. Then tell them about our low prices in case they are willing to place an order for you. It’s a great way to support a small business — and your community.