Frequently Asked Questions

Do you only sell to contractors?

No. It is our mission to provide native plants to anyone that wants them. Retail customers are welcome to make an appointment to visit the nursery, schedule a plant pick-up either at our office in Washington, DC or at the nursery in Friendship, Maryland, and have plants delivered within our delivery radius. Find out how to order on our Plant Sales page.

Can I buy retail plants from Bona Terra?

You can place an order for pick up or delivery by following the steps outlined on our Plant Sales page, or you can schedule a nursery visit. Please note that our nursery is a plant production area, and not a retail store.

If you don’t have a retail store, how do I buy retail plant?

Follow the instructions outlined on our Plant Sales page to place an order for pick-up or delivery or schedule a nursery visit.

How do I make a nursery appointment?

Call us at (202) 507-9648 to schedule a nursery appointment if you need your plants within the same week. If you’re planning your nursery visit a week or more in advance, email us at bonaterra@bonaterradc.com to schedule. Please include a plant list (if you have one already), the conditions of your garden (amount of sun, soil-type, etc.), and your plant questions so we can better help you.

What should I expect when I’m visiting the nursery?

You should expect to see a workplace and plant production area, and not a retail store. Our nursery is outside and open to the weather, so prepare accordingly. You will have to contend with tripping hazards like irrigation hoses, tools, empty pots, and puddles, so work boots and sure-footing are highly recommended. If you need additional mobility accommodations, we have an electric cart with one additional seat available.

I’m visiting the nursery and know I want to buy plugs. How do I get them?

Once you know which species of plants you want to purchase as plugs (please refer to our Inventory List), email or call us with your order to save time. If you prefer to browse the plug selection at the nursery, you will need to have sales associate collect and inspect the plugs for you.

Can I buy small quantities of plugs or partial flats?

YES! You can buy as little as a single plug. We do discount larger quantities of plugs, quarts, and gallons of the same species. We highly recommend picking up small orders at our office in Washington, DC or at the nursery in Friendship, Maryland in an effort to reduce delivery emissions.

How do I return pots?

We have not purchased new plastic pots since 2020, and with pot returns and donations, we can continue to avoid contributing to the economy of new disposable plastic. If you’re returning pots from a previous Bona Terra purchase (with the return pots sticker), then let us know and we’ll give you 10% off your next Bona Terra retail purchase. If you would like to donate pots, please refer to our Accepted Pots Guide (below) before bringing them to be sure they conform to our nursery system; we have no way of disposing of pots that we cannot use. You can drop off pots at our office in Washington, DC or at our nursery in Friendship, Maryland. We are also working on creating designated pot drop-off sites to make pot returns even easier! Let us know if you would to be a pot drop-off site!

How do I pay my invoice or bill from Bona Terra?

We will send you an invoice through Quick Books, which will contain a link to view your invoice and pay. When you view your invoice (click Review and Pay), you will have an itemized list of your order that you can print or download for your records. You can pay your bill online by clicking Review and Pay, or you can mail us a check to the address included in the email.

Do I need to plant my plugs in a larger to pot to grow them out before planting in the ground?

No. You can plant them directly in the ground. Like any size plant you put in the ground, the amount of organic material and nutrients available for the plant to grow in will be the deciding factors in whether your plant thrives or languishes. As with most plants, tilling or loosening the soil where you plant will increase the survival rate of new plantings.

How often do I need to water my plugs?

For plants in the ground:

Temperature Range (Fahrenheit)When to Water Plugs
Up to 50 degreesOnce every 3 weeks without rain
50-70 degreesOnce every 10 days without rain
70-80 degreesOnce every 3 days without rain
80-90 degreesOnce every 2 days without rain
90-100 degreesEvery other day without rain
100 degrees or moreEvery day without rain

For plants in containers:

Temperature Range (Fahrenheit)When to Water Plugs
Up to 50 degreesOnce every 2 weeks without rain
50-70 degreesOnce a week without rain
70-80 degreesOnce every 2 days without rain
80-90 degreesEvery other day without rain
90-100 degreesEvery day without rain
100 degrees or moreTwice a day without rain

Do I need to wait until spring to plant natives from Bona Terra?

No. All of our plants are field-grown without the use of green houses, and therefore are acclimatized to the local weather. Our native plants always ready to be planted as long as the ground is not frozen.

Is Bona Terra open all year?

YES! You can place an order at any time of the year! We just ask that you make an appointment for plant pick-up so we know when to expect you (in case we’re out collecting seeds, brewing compost tea, expanding the mother garden, etc).

I need a plant order as soon as possible, but I have not received an email response from the office. What should I do?

You can call us at (202) 507-9648 to speak with Jeremy directly. Beth, our office manager, is only in the office on Thursdays and Fridays to process orders.

It’s spring, and I still don’t see my native plant. Is it dead?

Not necessarily. The first year after planting, the time it takes to break dormancy can vary between March and June. If you have someone maintaining your garden, make sure they know where native plants have been installed so they don’t accidentally get weeded out. Monitor your plant until late spring (May or June), and then contact us with photos of the planted area if you still don’t see them.

How do I plant a plug?

Make sure you’re planting your plug species in the correct habitat by researching your plant online (specifically check the required soil content). Amend soil as needed by adding compost, removing weeds, etc. Dig a hole so that surface of the plug is visible while the rest buried, funneling any mulch away from the plant.