Frequently asked questions
Everything you need to know about plant care and ordering your pot of joy.
- What types of plants will I get?
You can find the exact plant varieties that will be included in each of our products on the product page on our website. At Muddy Trowel we aim to provide you with perennial plants that will come back year on year. Some will keep their leaves during winter, others will die back waiting for next spring. Your order will come with individual collectible postcards for each variety of plant, providing you with handy information about your plant.
- How many plants will I get?
This depends on the size of container you have selected for your order. The smaller floor standing container and the window box holds four plants and the large floor standing container holds seven plants.
- How long will they last?
Our aim is to provide you with plants that will live from one year to the next, with their peak performance months indicated on the product page. During these months the plants will be at their very summit of seasonal interest and with your care, they can continue to bring you joy for up to three months.
- When will my plants flower?
This will depend on the plant and the time of year. Weather plays an all important part in the timing of plants starting to flower. We will endeavour to send you plants that are either on the cusp of flowering or in flower so you can enjoy instant impact. The plants we select and the collections we create are designed to help you get the best out of the current growing and flowering season. Each of our products will indicate the months they will be at their peak.
- How tall will they grow?
We want you to have a dramatic, joyous display and so we select plants that vary in heights, shapes, colours and foliage. To make it easier to deliver to you, we limit the height of the tallest plants in our large floor standing container to half a metre. This doesn’t mean they might not reach for the sky and certainly if you planted some of the plants into a border or the ground in your garden, they could exceed half a metre. All our window box and smaller floor standing pots will be supplied with shorter plants that grow up to 30cm high to ensure that you can still see out of your windows and that the smaller pot isn’t prone to being topple over due to being too top heavy.
- Where do the plants come from?
We source the majority of our plants from UK growers that are located in South East England.
- One of your brand values if 'sustainable,' why are you using plastic containers?
We have chosen plastic containers as they are lightweight, durable, and long lasting. This allows us to deliver large pots to you without worrying about your ability to move them around the patio. Our containers are also from a Dutch company, Elho®, who manufacture high quality plastic plant containers from recycled materials, using 100% wind energy for their manufacturing process. The plastic holding pots that the plants originally come in can be reused for cuttings and future transport of plants.
- Can I buy the plants without the container?
Yes you can! Every collection/container size has the option for you just to buy the plants without the container if you wish. If you buy a plant-only selection, the compost and after-care instructions will still be included, as with the plant pot kit selection on our site.
- Where do your containers come from?
We have chosen to source the planters for each of our products from Dutch firm Elho® who manufacture high quality plastic plant containers from recycled materials, using 100% wind energy for their manufacturing process.
- Can I just buy the container?
We don’t sell containers separately. At Muddy Trowel, we want to deliver you joy and we believe the combination of stunning plant collections atop a stylish container is the way to do this. You can, however, if you already have a container of your own, buy a plant selection without the container.
- Do the containers come with saucers or brackets?
Our large and medium pots do not currently come with saucers, and our window boxes also do not currently come with a hanging cage or brackets (but we are working on this!). All our pots do have holes in the bottom to help with drainage.
- How often should I water my plants?
Immediately when you have received your order and again once you have completed planting them in your container. After that, it does unfortunately depend, so our advice is as follows: Feel the compost about an inch under the surface to see if it feels damp. If it’s bone dry, give the plants a drink. Try to water close to the compost and avoid spraying the leaves repeatedly, the plant absorbs water through it’s roots and so watering just above those wastes less water and is more likely to benefit the plant. Water first thing in the morning during warm summer months, the water is less likely to scorch tender leaves and evaporate off the soil. In hot summer months you might want to water twice a day (early morning and late evening) to keep your plants happy. To reduce the amount of watering you need to do when it’s very hot, consider moving the container to somewhere a bit more shady. Be careful not to overwater your plants as they can drown or suffer from root rot if the container becomes waterlogged.
- Should I feed my plants?
Yes, during big growth spurts and energy intensive flowering or fruiting, plants get very hungry and in containers especially they need regular feeding. Use a high potash-based fertiliser like a tomato feed.
- How often should I feed my plants?
At Muddy Trowel we aim to provide you with plants that are on the cusp of peak performance and so you should feed your plants once a week. Don’t be tempted to gorge them on a more concentrated liquid feed than indicated on the instructions as they won’t be able to absorb the nutrients and you’ll just end up wasting money on liquid feeds. Plants in flower or producing edible fruits or vegetables will love you if you provide a weekly dose of liquid feed for tomatoes which is high in potash and will encourage your plants to continue to bloom throughout the season.
- How do I deadhead a plant?
Deadheading is the process of removing spent flowers that, if left, may turn into seeds and your plants will think their job is done for the season and stop flowering. You can tell a flower is spent when it no longer brings you joy and the petals have dropped, gone brown or are looking a bit frilly round the edges. The best thing to do is take a pair of scissors (or secateurs if you have them) and cut the stem below the dead flower head and above a leaf node (where the leaves grow from the stem). This should encourage new growth and new flowers. Some flowers still bring huge joy even though they have gone over, for example agapathus seed heads can still be magnificent and architectural and you may decide to retain them, particularly as agapanthus flower once in a season.
- I'm going on holiday, what should I do with my plants?
By far the way the best thing to do is to get a friendly neighbour or family member to stop by every few days and check your plants and water them as needed. There are a plethora of irrigation systems out there which are pretty cost effective, but in our opinion it can take some experimentation to get them to water your plants correctly over time. Our best advice is trial and error, plan ahead and get to the point before you go away on holiday, that you know the system you have opted for works the way you would expect.
- Do I need to cut bits off my plant to keep it healthy?
Apart from deadheading, not really, unless you are finding it has got so boisterous that it’s crowding out some of the other plants in the container.
- Can I prune my plants to a smaller size?
Yes, but be aware to avoid cutting off flower buds and avoid pruning if frosts are imminent as this could result in the plant being weakened and suffering through winter. In May time, it’s quite normal to cut some perennials down by a third of their height (this is called the Chelsea chop and coincides with the week of the Chelsea flower show) in order to encourage a larger profusion of flower heads and prevent the plants from getting too tall and straggly.
- Do I need to weed my plant?
Despite our best efforts at Muddy Trowel to supply you with a weed free bundle of joy, weeds are masters at travelling by wind, bird and every other possible route to find their way into nice new digs. So if you start getting weeds sprouting then pull them out. If you aren’t sure if it’s a weed, then you can wait a little bit to see the shape of the leaves and if they don’t resemble anything on your plant postcards then get rid of it. Make sure you pull all the roots out to prevent them from returning.
- Should I re-pot my plants?
You shouldn’t need to repot your plants for three months – when the time is right, we will be in touch with tips for either planting individual plants out into other pots or garden borders, or lifting them for storage over the winter.
- Can I make more plants from the ones I have?
We definitely try to source plants that not only have a longevity but can also be multiplied to make more plants. Where this is possible with plants in your order, we will tell you on the plant postcards included in the order and the technique you can use to create more plants.
- How should I store seeds?
Ideally harvest the seeds when they have dried out on the plant and the store them in a paper bag or envelope. Don’t forget to label them so you know what they are are. Store them in a cool, dry and dark place and try to ensure you have sown all of them the following year as germination success rates fall over time if you are sowing with old seed.
- When should I divide my plants?
This depends on the plant and if any of the plants in your order can be multiplied by dividing the root ball, we will tell you on the plant postcards with your order.
- My plant has stopped flowering, what should I do?
There might be a number of reasons for this. Your plant may only be a single flowering variety and once it has flowered, it won’t flower again until next season. These plants typically are the more showy, taller and more spectacular plants that are great for centrepiece plants in a container. If your plant is a repeat flowering variety, it could be that it needs feeding. A liquid tomato feed will keep the flowers coming through it’s flowering season. If your plant has lots of spent flowers or has developed seed head, you should remove these to encourage further flowers.
- The leaves of my plant have turned yellow, what's wrong?
This is difficult one to diagnose and can be due to over and under watering. The best way to tell if your container is too wet or too dry is to feel the compost about 1 or two inches down from the surface. If it’s bone dry give your plants a good watering. If it’s really wet and even claggy, then stop watering for a while. Yellowing leaves can also be a sign of nutrient deficiency. Try feeding your plants with a multi-purpose liquid feed once a week.
- My plants are lopsided or not growing evenly, what should I do?
Uneven growth is often as a result of plants growing towards the light and if your plants are starting to grow more one side than the other, try turning the pot through 90 degrees once a week, so all the plants get their chance in the sun. This will help ensure their growth is more even.
- The leaves of my plant are dropping off, what's wrong?
If your plant is a herbaceaous perennial it will naturally lose its leaves at the end of autumn. If however, your plant is losing leaves during it’s peak performance months, this could be due to a number of issues. Over or underwatering can cause plants to drop their leaves. As can pests like aphids and certain types of beetle like the vine weevil. Inspect your plants carefully to see if there are any obvious signs of pests. Vine weevils look like black beetles, the length of a thumbnail. Their larvae do the damage to the plant’s roots. Nematodes are a good way to kill them and you can buy these online and get them posted to you. Aphids can be squashed using your fingers or hosed off with water. Soap mixtures can also be sprayed onto the leaves to kill off aphids, but at Muddy Trowel, we have found that this can sometimes caouse powdery mildew in hot and humid conditions, so keep an eye on your plants following this treatment.
- My plant is covered in bugs, what should I do?
Part of the joy of our pots is attracting wildlife including insects – we are in general big fans of our six-legged friends but an abundance of any can indicate you have a pest problem. First of all it helps to identify the type of bug you are dealing with. Are they green fly or black fly? Do they look like aphids and are they producing a sticky sap? Are they caterpillars or beetles? Once you have got them identified, drop us an email to [email protected] and we’ll share some advice
- My plant has white blotches on the leaves, what is it?
A common problem is powdery mildew, which occurs in warm, humid weather. It can be brought on my overhead watering so try to water your plants closer to the roots and avoid splashing the leaves too much. At Muddy Trowel, we have found spraying milk on the leaves to be a good cure for powdery mildew. Spray it on and leave the plants in the sun keep spraying ever couple of days until the mildew has gone. It sounds crazy but it really works!
- Should I wear gloves when using compost?
Compost can harber bacteria and spores that mean you need to be careful with it and if in doubt wear gloves. You should avoid breathing in compost, ingesting it or exposing open wounds to it. People with weakened immune systems are advised to wear gloves. If you have open wounds on your hands, either wear gloves or use a sticking plaster to protect the wound. Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling compost and before touching your face or food.
- Are my plants harmful?
We aim to select plants that are safe for humans, but if there is a level of toxicity, we will indicate this on the product on our website and on our plant postcards that come with your order.
- How heavy will my order be, will I be able to lift it?
The large plant pot is the heaviest of the containers purely as a result of the volume of compost it can hold. We target a weight of 20kg or under for this container.
- What's included in my order?
Your order will include: your plants in plastic nursery pots (reusable for taking cuttings, growing seeds or dividing plants), your eco-friendly planting container in your chosen colour, pre-filled with drainage material and compost, collectible plant postcards for each variety of plant included, a gift card message (if you have opted to include a personalised message) and a small bag of compost so you can complete your creation. You can also order plants without the container if you wish (but it will contain all the other components e.g. compost).
- I wanted to order the same again, why can't I find the same collection?
Changing seasons and weather conditions means that outdoor plants reach their peak at different points throughout the year. Therefore we adapt and design our products with this in mind. to make sure you get plants that are joyous at the time of year you order the product. This means that our products may evolve over the course of a season and the benefit of this is that you will be introduced to different varieties for you to discover and expland your collection of beautiful plants.
- Can I buy extra bags of compost along with my order?
Currently we do not sell compost bags separately.
- Why have I got a different plant variety to those described in the product description on your website?
At Muddy Trowel we put a huge effort into sourcing high quality, beautiful plants for each of our products. From time to time, however, weather and supply can interfere with this and if we don’t think that a plant variety is looking tip top for your order and if we can’t obtain additional stock of the same plant, we will substitute it for something that we think will still bring you joy. We will try our best to make sure the substitute is similar to the plant being replaced, but this may not always be possible.
- Where do you deliver?
Inside (and just outside) the M25 around London. We currently deliver to postcodes AL, BR, CM, CR, DA, E, EC, EN, GU, HA, HP, IG, KT, LU, N, NW, RM, SE, SL, SM, SW, TN, TW, UB, W, WC, WD
- Is delivery included in the price?
No, delivery is separate from the price shown for each product and is per order.
- How soon will I receive my order?
Within 5 working days from placing the order
- Can I state a date and time for delivery?
No, we will confirm delivery date and details the day before we are due to deliver to you.
- What do I do if I'm not going to be in?
If you tell us you won’t be in, we can leave your delivery in a designated place at your home or with a neighbour.
- Will you leave my order with a neighbour if I'm not in?
Yes, if you tell us to.
- When do I know which day my plants will be delivered?
We will notify you the day before we make the delivery.
- Can your delivery people carry my order into my home?
During covid-19 restrictions, unfortunately not. The delivery will be made to your front door. If there is direct access to your garden from the outside, it might be possible to carry it through, but this will be at the discretion our our drivers, who have been asked to maintain strict social distancing.
- My delivery didn't arrive when you said it would, what should I do?
We are sorry to hear this and you should tell our customer services team at [email protected] and we will try to expedite your delivery.
- My order has arrived damaged, what will you do?
At Muddy Trowel we aim to deliver you joy with plants that are looking beautiful and in perfect condition when they arrive at your door. We will refund you for the plants that are damaged. If you are unhappy with your pot and let us know within 30 days we will offer a full refund subject to us arranging a successful recollection of the pot.
- What does the 30 day money back guarantee mean?
If your plants are damaged* or incorrect on delivery, you must notify us within a 30 days of delivery to allow us to resolve the issue. Please email us at [email protected] with accompanying pictures of the plants. Possibilities for resolution include refunds or exchanges. If you are unhappy with the overall pot and products we will offer a full money-back guarantee subject to arranging successful recollection of all items.
*Superfluous minor transit damage such as the odd snapped twig or leaf on a plant does not make it faulty. Plants will have varying appearances depending on time of year, and images used online show plants grown at their seasonal peak of performance. Bundle packs may contain all or a selection of the plants listed as components. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.
- How will I know when you have taken payment?
You should receive an emailed receipt to confirm that your payment has been successful.
- My plant has died, will I get a refund?
If your plant has died within the first 30 days from receipt of your order, we will refund you for that plant, providing you supply us with a photo of the plant along with your refund request. If you are unhappy with your pot as a whole and let us know within 30 days we will offer a full refund subject to us arranging a successful recollection of the pot.
- What payment cards or methods do you accept?
Visa, Mastercard, Visa Debit, Maestro, American Express, Google Pay, Apple Pay
- I want to order as a gift, can I personalise my order?
Absolutely, you have the option to enter a personalised message at checkout which we will include in the order to the gift recipient.
- If my order is a gift, will it be delivered without the delivery note and price?
Yes, we don’t include traditional despatch notes with our orders, so there will not be a price displayed to the recipient of your gift.