Plant Your Natives Well

5 tips from the team at Melaleuca Nusery

Wet the roots
Ensure the roots of the plant are wet when you plant it
The easiest way to do this is to plunge the plant (pot and all) into a bucket of water. Wait for the air bubbles to stop coming out of the pot and then you are ready to go.

No need to tickle the roots
If the plant is at the right stage of growth for the pot – there is no need to break apart the root ball when you take it out of the pot. In fact, with some species from Western Australia, this is the fastest way to kill the plant!

Keep the root ball covered
Potting mix is designed to dry out because in a nursery situation plants would normally be watered every day. When you transfer a plant from pot to ground, make sure you cover up the top of the potting mix with the local soil (not just mulch) – even sandy soil will dry out slower than potting mix.

Problem soil? Organic is best
It doesn’t matter what type of soil you have – clay, sand or loam – the best long term solution for poor soil structure is organic matter. It encourages the bacteria, worms and other critters to work through the soil. This in turn gives the plants nutrients to grow. In sandy soils, organic matter aids water retention. In clay soils, it can improve drainage. The type of organic matter doesn’t really matter – seaweed solution, fish emulsion, manure, mulch, garden scraps, compost – they will all help!

Plants do better with fertliser
While most native plants will grow quite well without fertiliser – they can do better with it. Most plant species from the east coast will do fine with general fertiliser. Just make sure that you use a low phosphorus option with species that have evolved in low nutrient soils (like Banksias, Grevilleas, Waratahs, etc) – these plants have adapted to take up every bit of phosphorus they can find.
With thanks to Megan and the team at Melaleuca Nursery.