Waterwise Gardens bark

3-Mar-2015 - How to Plant

This week, I want to talk about planting. This might seem pretty self-explanatory - you simply dig a hole and pop the plant in, job done. Right? Wrong. It's true that the basic concept doesn't stray much from this, but there are a few details worth remembering.

So where do we start? First, make a hole two to three times the size of the pot your plant came in. Why so much extra space? A decent sized hole will leave nice fluffy soil around the roots, giving your plant the best start.

So what's next? Take the plant out of the pot. That might seem glaringly obvious, but I have found plants that were planted in their pots in more than one garden!

And should we tease out the roots? Yes, especially with pot-bound specimens - those with roots growing round and round in circles. If it's really bad, try scoring a few cuts into the mat of roots with your secateurs. This will encourage new roots to form and grow away.

And what about the soil? Mix a spade or two full of well rotted manure or garden compost into the soil at the bottom of the hole, where the roots will get it.

And to finish? Gently tamp down the soil around your plant, removing any air pockets. Make sure the final level of the soil is not higher or lower than the compost was in the pot. And finally, try to create a nice wide "basin" in the soil around the plant - this way, when you water or when it rains, the water will be caught and absorbed right next to the plant, exactly where the roots need it.