- David Salman
How to Plant WATERWISE Perennials
Follow these steps and use the products recommended to ensure that your plants get off to the best start and flourish in the landscape.
When planting outdoors before last frost date (early to mid-May), harden-off plants (acclimate) them to direct sun and frost by placing them outside in a place with morning sun/afternoon shade. Leave outdoors at night unless frost is forecast. If frost is coming, bring inside for the night and put back outside in the morning once it warms above freezing. Water as needed to keep soil moist but not soggy. Continue for about 10 days, then plants will be ready to plant and not be bothered by frost or sunburn.
1) Digging the Hole—Plants need plenty of room to spread their roots. For pots, 5 gallon sized and larger, make the hole twice as wide and 3-4” deeper than the pot. For smaller plants in 2.5”, 5” and #1-gallon pots, dig the hole 1 ft. wide x 8-12” deep.
2) Amend the Soil from the hole—Improve soil texture with the addition of good quality compost like Reunity Resources Compost and Yum Yum Mix natural fertilizer or Gro-Power® Plus and 0.5 tsp of Granular Root Zone mycorrhiza.
For xeric (low-water need) plants that prefer growing in a “lean” or infertile soil, dig in a handful or two of Yum Yum Mix into the planting hole as described above.
For plants with moderate water needs, Combine the Yum Yum Mix with Reunity ResourcesCompost (usually 1 part Yum Yum Mix to 2 parts RR compost). The bigger the hole the more soil amendments should be added. But never replace more than ¼ of the soil in the planting hole with soil amendments.
3) Planting—Remove the plant from the pot and slice the sides of the root ball with the corner of a plant tag or knife blade to cut through tangled or circling roots. Place the plant slightly lower than the surrounding soil. Fill the hole with amended soil and firm it into place with your fingertips.
4) Build a Ridge of Soil Around the Edge of the Planting Hole – Use extra soil from the planting hole to create a ring of soil (called a “well” or “saucer”) to hold irrigation water. Fill the saucer with mulch to help hold its shape and protect the roots from drying out. (See “Mulch” paragraph below)
5) Mulch—Mulching is essential to getting your transplants off to a strong start. Cover both the soil between the plants and directly below each plant. Mulch helps to;
Keep the soil shaded and cool for optimum root growth
Conserve the soil moisture by protecting it from the sun and drying winds,
Add invaluable organic matter to the soil to improve its fertility and water penetration and keep down the weeds.
Xeric perennials, cacti, and succulents - Gravel is a superb mineral type and works best when used at a sufficient depth of at least 1 to 2 inches. Use smaller 3/8” to ½” diameter crushed (angular) rock for best results.
Trees, shrubs, perennials, and ornamental grasses – Use plant-derived materials like shredded bark crushed pecan or Back to Earth Blend compost to cover the soil 1 to 2” deep.
6) Get New Transplants Off to a Great Start—To help plants establish strong roots, use Medina Fish Blend 2-3-2 at a rate of 1 tablespoon/gal. of water. Use weekly for the first month or so after transplanting to stimulate root growth and promote healthy microbial activity in the soil. The fertilizer can also be applied as a foliar spray every couple of weeks (see directions on bottle). If you didn’t use Granular Root Zone mycorrhiza at planting, use Soluble Root Zone in the water to inoculate roots.
7) Water—It’s essential to water deeply. Using a gentle stream from a watering can or hose, water in your new plant. Fill the saucer. Let it soak in and repeat. Always water twice. Continue to water your new transplants 2-3 x/week until established. For some xeric perennials, this could be about 8 weeks. For most other plants, water 1-3 x/week for the first growing season through fall.
© All articles are copyrighted by WATERWISE Gardening, LLC.
Republishing an entire WATERWISE Gardening blog post or article is prohibited without written permission. Please feel free to share a short excerpt with a link back to the article on social media websites, such as Facebook.