1. Consider the weather. Is there upcoming frost in the weather schedule? Avoid transplant shock by gradually accustoming a plant to its new location. We are in zone 6A and our last frost date is May long weekend.
2. When you are ready to plant, look at the container size. Consider how large the plant will be at full growth. Will their be enough room for the height and width. Prepare the soil and site by weeding and adding fresh soil. The soil quality in the area will greatly impact your success. Is there clay, rocks, sandy or loam soil. Consider amending the soil before you plant, if necessary.
Also consider how much sun the area receives. Is it full sun (more than 6 hours of sun), partial sun (4-6 hours of sun) or a full shade location (morning sun or no sun).
There are many aspects to gardening goals like animal resistance, colour, flowering schedule, plant size and shape. Knowing your goals in your gardening plan will help you reach them. Also, books, internet and the people in your life can provide a wealth of information regarding details that you are interested in knowing. Some plants are wall covers, others are used in rock gardens, some are a windscreen while others are focal points in the garden. Every plant has a specific use and function.
3. When you are finally ready to plant, then dig a hole twice as big as the width of the container and a approximately 24 cm. deeper. Make sure the soil is loose and not pressed together.
3. You may consider putting fresh soil around your plant to ensure success with planting. Otherwise, turning the soil in the fall and in the spring does prevent compactness.
4. Its okay if your plant is a little above ground level (2-5 cm) depending on the plant. It allows for the plant to sink without being lost in the soil.
5. Put water in the hole and lower plant into the hole. Also water after planting.
6. Adjust the plant so that it does not grow crooked. This directional adjustment of the plant, ensures that it does not grow crooked.
7. After planting, putting more soil around the top of the plant and watering thoroughly is important to ensure the entire root ball is thoroughly moist. Loosening up the root ball also assists in providing air to compact areas.
8. You may also want to consider the direction of the water flow in your garden during larger rain storms. Is the water flow going to erode the plant. Trenches and other adjustments for water flow are important considerations to avoid issues ahead of time.
9. Water and fertilizer on a regular schedule depending on the plant. You can shock a plant with too much fertilizer. So its important to dilute the fertilizer according to the instructions on the side of the container.
10. Certain plants require staking, if they grow too tall. Start by preparing the stake right beside the plant and retie as the plant is growing.
11. You can plant during any times of the year, but spring and early fall are more conducive for effective plant establishment. Some plants need to be protected during excessively cold winters. There is always weather considerations in your decision making.
As well, consider soil moisture every day. Soil moistness can be assessed on a scale of 1-5. A score of 1 being very moist and runny and 5 being crumbly and dry. For ideal growth, having fluctuations between 2-4 would be an ideal zone for plant growth moisture.
12. Remember to prune, deadhead and clean up debris. Take the time to tidy up the yard, because an ounce of prevention is better than trying to manage the situation later on. Animals and insects can become too active and destroy the success that you have accomplished. Be aware of the every day cycle of visitors in your garden and consider environmentally friendly ways to solve them.
Gardening is a time to connect with the outdoors. We wish you success with your plant projects.