Step-by-step planting

pot luck

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How to plant for success

Good preparation and regular care is essential for getting plants off to a good start. Remember, the plants you buy have been 'nursed' in controlled conditions up till now, so you've got to show them some love and tenderness, especially in the first few months while they are getting established. If you just shove them in a hole and walk away, don't be surprised when they start
to look miserable.

1/ Soak the roots
Start by soaking your pot plant in a bucket of water half an hour before planting. This will ensure the root ball is evenly moist.

2/ Dig a generous hole
Dig a hole that is at least three times the diameter of the pot. The hole should be around the same depth as the pot. If the soil below is compact, loosen it with a garden fork or crow bar, or dig the hole a bit deeper and backfill to the required level with compost. You should also roughen the edges of the hole so as to make it easier for the roots to penetrate the surrounding soil.

3/ Water the hole
Fill the hole with water and allow it to drain and soak into the surrounding soil. Do this up to three times. (Note: If the water drains very slowly, you should plant into soil that has been mounded above the natural soil level to ensure the plant has adequate drainage.)

4/ Improve the soil
The soil that has been dug out can be improved by adding some moisture-holding compost and pre-soaked water crystals. Do not add fertiliser into the mix or to the bottom of the hole - it can burn the roots. After planting apply only a slow-release fertiliser to the surface of the soil.

5/ Check the roots
Remove the plant from the pot and check the roots. If they are circling, be sure to make a series of vertical cuts around the ball to encourage new roots to form in an outward direction.

6/ Fill your hole
Backfill the hole with the improved soil, pressing it in lightly around the root ball. The finished level of soil should be at the same level as the top of the root ball.

7/ Avoid run off
Using leftover soil, create a well or dam around the base of the plant so that when you water your plant, water is caught and soaks into the soil around the root ball and doesn't run off.

8/ Water and mulch
Water the plant well with a seaweed solution and apply a 70 mm layer of mulch around the plant, taking care to keep it away from the stem.

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