You’ve got your new plant and are ready to put it in its forever home. Now what?
- Select a spot that meet’s your plant’s growing requirements.
- Water your potted plant well.
- If there is vegetation around the spot, clear it away. Young plants usually can’t take too much competition. For a typical native perennial, clear an area about 1 foot across if you can.
- Using a trowel or shovel, dig a hole slightly deeper than the pot.
- Fill the hole with water, allowing the water to drain into the soil.
- Take your plant out of its pot, being careful not to break the stem. Disturb the roots as little as possible. However, if roots are growing out the bottom of the pot, it is OK to break them off so you can remove the plant.
- Place the plant in your hole. The surface of the plant’s soil should be slightly lower than the surrounding dirt. This “dish” will help bring water to your plant
- Add dirt to fill the remaining space in the hole. Create a shallow rim around the plant a few inches from the stem. This will help hold water next to the plant’s roots as they mature.
- Water well.
- You can also put a layer of mulch (wood chips, leaves, grass clipping are fine) on around the plant, leaving a couple inches clear around the stem. This will help prevent weeds and hold water in the soil.
For the first year, treat your native seedling like a conventional perennial. Check it every day during the first few weeks it is planted. Poke your finger in the ground. If the soil is dry a couple inches down, it’s time to water. In following years, the plant should not need any extra water except in times of extended drought.
Do not fertilize native plants. Fertilizer can promote weeds and excess growth.