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Five Steps For Planting Natives

By Dean Nernberg

Photo courtesy of Kerry Hecker

  1. Choose healthy plants with greater growth and flowering potential. It is better to choose a smaller plant that has many basal stalks or branches and isn’t flowering, versus a larger plant that is already flowering but only has one stalk.
  2. Before buying, arrange plants while at the nursery to see what looks best together or to help inspire your design ideas.
  3. Before planting, always set out plants in their pots to finalize the design, arrangement, and planting distances.
  4. Dig a hole that is at least two to four times larger than the size of the pot. If there is heavy clay in the deeper soil layers, remove and discard it and add a rich organic soil. You can use either an organic mix or rich black loam with amendments such as:
    • peatmoss (potting soil);
    • perlite (to prevent compaction);
    • vermiculite and/or water-hydrating crystals (to hold moisture); and/or
    • sand (to increase drainage).


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