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  • Ava Salman

How to Plant Waterwise Perennials 2023

When planting outdoors before the 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, and then plants will be ready to plant and not be bothered by frost or sunburn.

Digging the Hole—For plants in 2.5”, 5” and #1 gallon pots, dig the hole 1 ft. wide x 8-12” deep.

Amend the Soil from the hole—Improve soil texture

· For xeric (low-water need) plants a handful or two of Yum Yum Mix into the planting hole as described above.

· For plants with moderate water needs, a handful or two of Yum Yum Mix with two handfuls of Back to Earth 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.

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.

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)

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 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 Cottonburr to cover the soil 1 to 2” deep.

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.

Water—It’s essential to water deeply. Using a gentle stream from a watering can or hose breaker, water in your new plant. Fill the saucer. Let it soak in and repeat. Always water twice. Continue to water your new transplants 2-3x/week until established. For some xeric perennials, this could be about 8 weeks. For most other plants, water 1-3x/week for the first growing season through fall.

© Copyright WATERWISE Gardening, LLC 2023


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