General Planting Guide
With few exceptions, the following instructions apply to nearly anything you might plant whether it is a marigold, lantana, ornamental grass or palm tree! Always read carefully the tag supplied with the plant at the time of purchase for any particulars that might apply.
Enhance the Soil
All soil can be enhanced by amending it with organic material to make it nutrient rich and enhance drainage so always prepare your soil before planting. This is also a good time to add a balanced, timed release fertilizer like a 14-14-14 to get the plants off to a good start.
Where to plant
Choose a site appropriate for the plant. This is information generally included on the tag such as sun or shade, and the size of the plant at maturity.
Prepare a hole
A rule of thumb for preparing a hole to plant in is to make the hole twice as deep and twice as wide as the size of the container the plant is in. You will then backfill in around the plant with the amended, loose soil.
Prepare the Roots
Gently remove the plant from the container and examine the roots. If they are extremely wrapped around and around the root ball, carefully tease them apart to loosen them up from the root ball. This will give them a better start in their new soil. There are exceptions, bougainvillea for example. It has a very tender root system and does not like it fussed with at all! So as always, do your homework, research your plants.
Settle the Plant
Always place the plant in the soil at the same level it was in the pot. This means when the plant is in the ground (or new container for that matter), what was the top of the soil in the pot should still be even with the top of the soil in the new location. Again, there are exceptions like tomatoes that prefer to have their stem buried. In most cases burying the stem or crown of most plants will harm or kill them.
Add more soil
Gently firm the soil in place around the plant to remove any large air pockets or spaces. Create a water basin by making a raised mound of soil a few inches tall all around the perimeter of the new hole. This will serve as a dam to hold a few inches of water around the plant when it is watered providing a good thorough soaking. Fill the basin making sure to soak the new soil as well as the existing root ball; if water soaks in fairly quick, re-fill basin again. Some plants may need temporary or permanent staking; this is the time to do it.
You’re Done! From here on follow the appropriate watering, feeding and pruning requirements and look forward to a rewarding plant experience!