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Planting Perennials - The Hole How To

There's an old saying - five dollar plant, five dollar hole. What this means is that when you get a nice new perennial for your garden be certain to put effort into installing it that is at least equal to the value of the plant. Even if you received the plant as a gift form a friend or neighbor, it is important to not skimp on the preparation and planting.

The first step in planting your new perennial is to find the right location. Does the plant prefer sun or shade? Does it need a wetter or drier location? Where is a good spot that will be able to accommodate your new plant as it and the plants around it grow. Suitable conditions are vital to the ongoing health of your perennial.

Once you have found a good location for your plant it is time to get digging. Be sure to dig a hole that is larger than the pot your plant comes in. I like to dig a hole that is a pots width all around the size of the pot. For example, if I have a six inch pot, I'll dig a hole that is at least 18 inches across, and 12 inches deep. If the soil is poor I'll also be sure to chop with my shovel around the edges and bottom to loosen things up even further. Put the soil that comes out of the hole on a tarp to easily amend it when you plant.

Now that you have your hole it is time to amend the soil that came out. If you have acidic soil be sure to add some lime. If you have alkaline soil be sure to add some gypsum. You should also now add some peat moss, compost, or potting soil. Finally, if you are in a drought prone area, consider adding some of those little granules to help retain moisture in the soil which are sold at most garden centers.

With your soil ready it is time to remove your plant from it's pot. If the pot does not slide off easily, and is a plastic pot, you should probably cut the pot off. If the plant's roots seem to have grown around themselves into the shape of the pot I will often break them up a little at this point. This is not good for all plants, so you might want to do a little research first or just skip this.

Now you can gently lower the plant into the hole to get an idea of how much soil you need to fill back into the hole before placing the plant. It is very important to get the level of the soil in the plant's new home to be where it was in the pot. The plant should not be buried any deeper than it was in the pot. The plant should not be above the soil any more than it was in the pot. Now that you see the level, remove the plant and fill some soil back in and tamp it down. Lower the plant back in and see if the level is correct. You might have to adjust this a few times to get it as you want. Once the plant is in at the right level you can fill in the soil around the sides of the plant. I like to finish up by taking any extra soil I have left over and making a small retaining dam around the now filled in hole to help retain water.

And you are all set with your new plant happily growing in your garden. Do be sure to keep your plant properly watered especially in the weeks just after planting and before the new roots have developed.

More about: Perennials

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