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Autumn and spring are popular planting seasons, although most potted plants can be planted in any season if conditions are right with mild temperatures so it’s not too hot or too cold. Avoid planting during periods of extreme weather as plants need stress-free conditions to recover from transplant shock and establish healthy growth.

Good soil preparation is essential, so before planting, follow our tips on preparing the soil for planting.

Follow these simple steps to successful plant establishment.

  1. Pick the best location in the garden for the plant selected. Check the plant tag for information on its ideal growing situation including sun or shade preferences, mature height and width.
  2. Does the plant have enough room to grow– up and across?
  3. Will the plant be shaded by other plants?
  4. Is the plant too close to the house? Plant roots can upset the footings of the house or get into the sewerage and older terracotta water pipes.
  5. Weed the area thoroughly before planting (they compete with plants for water and nutrients) and remove rocks. Break up soil clods. Apply a natural pelletised soil conditioner such as Seasol Plant + Soil Booster and mix it into the soil.
  6. Dig a planting hole as deep as the root ball and roughly three times as wide. This will help to loosen the soil, aerating it and allowing the plant roots to easily get through the soil once they start growing.
  7. Put the plant in its pot into a bucket of Seasol and water while preparing the planting hole, so the Seasol solution can penetrate the root ball. This will help with transplant shock and aid plant establishment. If the pot is too large for a bucket, simply add Seasol to a watering can and water the plant (follow recommended application rates).
  8. Apply Seasol Plant + Soil Booster to the bottom of the hole, this will aid plant establishment and promote healthy soil around the root base. Remove the plant and pot from the bucket of Seasol and remove the plant from the pot. Do this carefully so as not to damage the roots. If the plant is pot bound (the roots are densely matted and circling), tease the roots so they are less matted and cut off any damaged roots. Root bound plants are slower to establish after planting and may fail to thrive.

9. Carefully position the plant in the hole and backfill with soil. If a stake is required, put it in place now to avoid damaging the roots (see step 11, below, for details on staking). Ensure that the plant is at the same depth as it was in the original container (or in its original location if transplanting). For transplanted plants, position it so it has the same orientation to the sun as it did in its original location (eg the same side faces the sun).

10. Finish planting. Gently, but firmly compress the soil around the plant ensuring the soil fills in and around the roots leaving no air gaps. Water it in well with the bucket of Seasol used to soak the plant, or with a watering can filled with a Seasol solution. This will help promote strong root development and healthy growth and reduce transplant shock. If pests such as rabbits or wallabies are likely to be an issue, surround the plant with protection such as a plant guard or wire.

11. If your plant needs staking, take care not to damage the root system when inserting the stake. For trees, place two or three sturdy stakes about 50cm away from the tree trunk. To attach the plant to its stake or stakes, wrap stretchy tie around the trunk and stake in a figure of eight pattern. This will allow the plant to move slightly in the wind while it establishes strong anchoring roots, but support it from blowing over or out of the soil. Surround the new plant with a layer of mulch to suppress weed growth and keep the roots cool and moist.

12. Periodically check on your plant’s progress. Apply Seasol every week for the first 4-6 weeks to get the plant off to a flying start. Continue with regular applications of Seasol throughout the year to boost growth and performance.

13. After four to six weeks, the plant will need to be fed to sustain healthy growth. Liquid feed with a complete fertiliser such as PowerFeed All Purpose including Natives. It’s safe for all plants including natives.