How to Understand Our Availability

August 19, 2018
Category: Growing Tips

When placing an order, you’ll have greater success getting what you want when you want if you know how to read our availability chart.

Reading the Availability Chart

The availability chart shows our current availability. The numbers you are seeing are live. Just because you see something now doesn’t mean it will be there in five minutes. Orders are coming in all the time, and we have customers in many time zones.

When you put something in your shopping cart, it is reserved for you for 20 minutes from your last activity on our site. So when you select 100 Alternanthera, it’s yours unless you leave the page and watch a sitcom on Netflix before coming back.

For each item you see the date of the ship week. This is the Monday of the week that we will ship your plants. However, we ship through Wednesday. So an order for a ship week of 11/26 could be sent on the 26th, 27th, or 28th.

Shipping everything before Thursday ensures you get your plants before the end of the work week. We want you to have time to unbox them and get them settled into their new home.

Across the grid you see the availability numbers. Each item has projections for individual weeks. Unlike Amazon, these numbers aren’t concrete. We’re working with living things, which aren’t always predictable. That’s why we keep our projections fairly conservative.

Our numbers typically increase throughout the season when the stock performs better than original expectations. As customers book orders, the numbers go down.

Rooted Cuttings

Our rooted cutting availability is driven mostly by the availability of unrooted cuttings. We take the number of cuttings that are available to us at this moment and add in a lead time based on how long it takes to get the plant ready. We also adjust for expected crop loss.

The average lead time from sticking a cutting in soil until it’s ready to ship is five weeks. So, if we have 1,000 unrooted cuttings available to us now, we will calculate that out to having about 1,000 plants available as rooted cuttings five weeks later.

However, it would be slightly less because we expect some loss. (We’re good, but no one’s perfect!)

That leads us to the fact that the unrooted cuttings you see on our chart are the same cuttings that are being projected out as rooted cuttings five weeks later. So…

Unrooted Cuttings

Unrooted cutting availability is affected by both rooted and unrooted orders. It’s our unrooted inventory that is generating our rooted liners.

So if we sell 200 rooted, they come off of the unrooted as well. But not from the same week. The five-week lead time means we are removing the unrooted cuttings from the ship week five weeks prior to the rooted order.

All of our unrooted cuttings come from plants we stock here. That’s how we are able to forecast what is available. However, we don’t take any cuttings until we get the orders. Cuttings are delicate and must be received quickly.

Because of this, the current week’s availability will typically roll off sometime on Wednesday. At that point, it’s too late to take a new order and get it shipped out on time.

Fluctuating Numbers

Remember how we factor in some crop losses? Sometimes things go really well, and we end up with extra plants at the end of the week.

After the current week’s shipping is done, we recount our inventory. (This typically happens on Thursday or Friday.) Any overages are made immediately available for order the next week.

When looking at our chart, you can know that plant numbers shown in the first two weeks of the table are on the bench, ready to go.

Plants beyond that are based on cutting forecasts. We will not plant these unless we have an order. And if someone orders unrooted cuttings for this week, the future numbers on rooted will drop.

Another thing that can cause fluctuating numbers is availability from our outside sources. Some of our stock is local, but some (especially patented plants) come from cuttings we buy in.

Occasionally we may take an order here, only to contact our supplier and find out they no longer have the numbers we were originally given.

As a side note, because we have to source the cuttings for patented plants, they have an extra lead time built in. For instance, that is why you may see some Calibrachoa available sooner than others. We have to add up to three additional weeks from the time you make your order until the time they are ready to ship.

Finalizing Your Order

Now you have a general idea of what you want to order, and how much of it is available. When should you place and finalize your order?

The best time to check our availability is late Thursday, or Friday morning. Often, we send out an email to let you know we’ve finished updating it. (Not on our email list? You can sign up here.)

When placing your order, try to order from the same week. This helps you meet order minimums. The earlier in the season you order, the easier this is to do.

Most of our inventory is available at that time. If you wait too long, crops start selling out, and it’s harder to get everything you want off of the same ship week.

But what if you can find almost everything you want, save one or two plants? That’s ok. Go ahead and place your order, then email the office and ask if we can add that specific item.

We can’t ship plants from weeks that are farther out, but if there are plants available from an earlier week, sometimes we can be creative and hold them until your order.

Usually, we can’t, because the quality would go down. But it never hurts to ask!

If you have trouble finding something, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll be glad to help you.

If you find the plant you are looking for, but all you see is a line of zeros, then it is likely that we are sold out for that time period.

Ultimately, when looking at our numbers, what you see at home is what we see in our office.