Frequently Asked Questions

Assisting our customers to order the right plant for the area they live in and providing tips and care instructions to have it thrive is all part of our commitment to you. The questions below are some that we receive most often. Should you need further assistance please contact us via our Facebook business page or email We look forward to serving you!

plant questions

We get a lot of requests for pictures. Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate this request, as we stock over 1000 plants in different sizes. Completing the task of sending pictures of a specific plant to a customer can take 1-2 hours per request. And this same plant can be sold the very same day to another customer. Fortunately, our website has pictures of most of our plants, which are remarkably like the actual plant that you will receive.

Rootstock is the plant that makes up the root system of your Exotica NZ grafted plants. A different type of plant is budded or grafted onto the rootstock. This combining of plants gives you the best of both – a mature root system that is strong, supportive and pest-resistant, combined with a tree that bears the best fruit.

It means just what the term describes – that the roots are bare and are not contained in any soil.

The plant is in a dormant state. It comes to life upon contact with soil again once re-planted. We have a specially designed plant box to ship plants to you in the soil they were grown in at our nursery. This helps reduce shock to the plant when you transplant it to your garden or orchard. However sometimes the plant might need to be sent to you with bare roots if the size of the plants are too big to fit in our largest size box available. Our boxes can fit up to a size PB18 bag however sometimes we might still need to use bare rooted or soil-less options in order to deliver the plants to you. This option will be discussed with you beforehand.

The scion is the upper part of a plant that has been developed by joining two different plants to grow as a single plant (an action called budding or grafting). The stock or rootstock is the lower part of the grafted plant that produces the root system.

The pH scale measures whether the soil is acidic, neutral or alkaline. Soil with a pH below seven is considered acidic. Above seven, the soil is alkaline. Fruit trees tend to grow best in soil that is near the “seven” mark (neutral) or slightly below (slightly acid). A balanced PH for most of our plants are between 6.5-7.

Shipping & Delivery

Our plants are shipped year round depending on stock availability. Typical shipping time is up to 5 - 7 business days depending on the destination. It can take up to 10 business days however with any Covid-19 restrictions affecting regional travel. We will endeavour to send your plants on the Monday after your order is placed (or the Tuesday following a public holiday). This will allow the courier company enough time to deliver your plants safely without having to transit the plant at a shipping depot over the weekend. All plants will be sent to you via signature track and trace. We cannot deliver plants to PO Box addresses. For rural addresses, please contact us first to discuss the best option to minimise any issues with delivery.

We carefully box or package each plant by hand, adding protective measures to absorb excessive vibration or movement while in transit. The root balls are then bagged to hold in moisture while the plants are on their way, with an additional cardboard collar placed over the tree to provide additional protection from movement. Some leaf drop may occur, but the plant, once positioned in a suitable and safe location should re-foliate very quickly.

Stress – Shipping can cause stress to plants, mostly by spending several days in a dark stuffy box. Most plants survive with no problem or with minimal stress (some leaf drop may occur) and recover quickly; whereas others may require extra love and attention with watering and gentle light after arrival. 

Accidental Damage - Sometimes a carrier may damage the boxes during shipping. It does not happen often as we try to pack your plants with extra special attention, but unfortunately there are some aspects beyond our control. In cases of serious damage, only the carrier can be responsible for it, so please contact the carrier within 7 days to lodge a claim. If it’s a broken branch or even part of a stem, just let it grow and take care of your plant and it will respond to your love. We understand your frustration if damage occurs, and strive to do everything we can on our end to minimise all damage and stress on the plants.

Since we ship most of our plants potted in soil, yes we are able to offer shipment year round. In winter, we monitor the weather and hold shipments temporarily if the weather forecast is too extreme. We add water reserves to the package as weather dictates, packaging each carefully by hand to ensure the best possible condition when your plants arrive. In the summer, we water the plants thoroughly before departure. Sometimes we also ship bare rooted plants that cannot be re-potted into a smaller bag for postage. However, we will discuss this option with you first if the plant needs to be shipped in this condition. 

Shipping through the summer, plant containers are bagged to hold in added soil moisture. Boxes are ventilated and inserts added to help absorb any road vibrations. 

Depending on the time of year when we ship (i.e summer) brown discoloration may appear on some of the leaves. We will inspect every plant carefully to ensure the plants are healthy to go. If we feel the browning of the leaves will take longer to heal or if the new shoots won't come out very soon, we will be letting you know beforehand. We could agree to deliver or else hold them back and look after them a bit longer until regrowth appears. In some instances, if we feel the plants are no healthy enough to go, we will offer you in store credit or a full refund - no questions asked. We trust this will put your mind at ease knowing that we want to make things right the first time.

If there are any leaf issues from transport, the plant usually re-foliates very quickly if allowed to acclimate a bit before transplanting. Remove the plant from its packaging, give it a little bit of water and rest the plant in an open air shaded area during summer, or inside during the colder weather, leaving the plants 1-3 days to adapt to their new environment. You could also make up a small mixture of diluted fish tonic and water in a large container and soak the plant bag for a couple of hours to mitigate root shock and prepare the root systems for replanting.

Returns & Warranty

In some cases yes. There are cases where the plant has suffered damage, but it can survive with proper care. In this case, we ask you to ship the plant back to us.

Once we have received the plant, we will either issue a store credit or a gift card and on some occasions may issue a refund for the value of your purchase. Please water the plant every day, until you ship it back to us.

Address changes & Incorrect addresses

We are not responsible for shipping addresses that were entered incorrectly at the time you placed the order. Also, we are not able to change addresses or reroute packages once you have placed the order. Carriers charge a fee for address changes and these are the responsibility of the customer and customer assumes all of the risk and responsibility including but not limited to delays, damaged, or dead plants.

What if I changed my mind?

We reserve the right to decline returns based on a change of mind as plants are precious to us and very fragile.  We do not support putting plants under unnecessary stress with multiple trips by a carrier. We ask that you consider your decision very carefully before purchasing. Please contact us if you need any help in making your choice. 

Our warranty only covers the tree arriving alive and in reasonable condition. If you receive your plant in a condition in which the plant may not survive, please take several pictures of the entire plant - not just the affected branch and also the outside of the box as it arrived to you and submit them via email to our address: . Please do this within 48 hours of receiving your plants and include your order number in your email. We will review your email and get back to you within two working days. Remember to keep the box in case we ask you to ship the plant back to us. Our warranty does not apply once you have planted in the ground.

 If your plant is not looking healthy and you plant it in the ground, the plant will suffer even more. This voids any warranty. Nurse the plant for 10-15 days to allow it to recover. Unpack the plant and water the plant every day.

 If you follow the steps above, and your plant does not recover and does not survive, our warranty will apply and you will either be shipped a replacement plant or you will be issued a store credit or gift card for the total value of your purchase. A replacement plant is subject to availability.

Growing Tips

Follow the simple instructions below:

1. Choose a sunny area for planting with a 2-3m radius of clear space surrounding.
2. Dig a hole in the ground twice as deep and wide as the dimensions of the container or poly bag if possible.
3. Partially fill the hole with a mix of soil and organic matter to bring the level up to the base of the root ball final position. 
4. Take the plant out of the container or poly bag by laying it on it’s side and slipping the container or bag off. It may be necessary to push and tap the bottom of the plastic container/bag. 
5. It is often a good idea to put some of the removed dirt from the container back into the hole.
6. Place the root ball in the hole and top up with soil so the finished ground level is the same as it was in the container. 
7. Gently compact the soil. 
8. Leave a mound around the tree to form a basin, fill with water, washing the soil into any empty pockets around the root ball.
9. Now is the time to fertilise. Be extra careful because plants are very susceptible to burning with excessive fertilising.
10. Recommended fertiliser: NPK 7-15-19 (or similar) with manganese, iron and zinc. Scatter one level tablespoon per foot of plant height (do not apply fertiliser if the plant/tree is flowering or during colder spells below 15 degrees Celsius).
11. You can spread mulch around the base of the plant, but leave the trunk area uncovered so the plant can breathe. Mulch to retain humidity. 

It varies, depending on the variety. You should plan on it taking at least a couple of years for grafted plants and 3-10 years for non-grafted from the time they are planted. Whilst we provide guidance based on the normal fruiting nature of the plants with the appropriate care and environment; we cannot guarantee that you will see exact identical results - as many things affect the success of a fruiting tree such as age, health condition, soil type, nutrients provided, the surrounding climate and temperature, and most importantly the level of care it receives in order to produce fruit. 

We don't claim to be plant experts, rather we call ourselves ‘Plant Enthusiasts’. We will do our very best to help you grow the plants of your choice by giving you our honest opinion and advice. Please feel free to ask questions of us, and also undertake your own research, so that you’re confident and satisfied with what you are buying from us.

As a general guideline, here are typical fruiting times that you may find helpful. Please also be aware that this depends on the type of plant and the propagation method used to produce the plant. 

Grafted Plants
Typically produce fruit in 1-3 years. They are a copy of a mature tree.

Air Layered Plants
Typically produce fruit in 1-3 years. They are a copy of a mature tree.

Plants Propagated from Cuttings
Typically produce fruit in 1-3 years. They are a copy of a mature tree.

Plants Propagated from Seedlings
Typically produce fruit in 3-8 years. There are many exceptions to this rule. For example: Calina Papaya: 4-9 months, Sugar Apple 2-4 years, Custard Apple 2-4 years, Soursops 1-3 years.

Gift Options

Absolutely! The Exotica NZ gift card is a great idea for all plant enthusiasts and gardening family members and friends in New Zealand. You can purchase gift cards online or by emailing us at