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Mr. Smarty Plants - Can plants bought at Plant Sale wait a while in Leander TX

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Tuesday - April 06, 2010

From: Leander, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources, Transplants
Title: Can plants bought at Plant Sale wait a while in Leander TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I would like to buy some native plants at the upcoming sale at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, but my yard is not ready to receive them. We are building a new house and anticipate being able to plant them within a month. Will the plants be OK if we leave them in their pots for a month, or should we wait to buy them?

ANSWER:

This will be your last chance until October to buy plants from a Wildflower Center Plant Sale. This also will be the best place to buy plants that you can be sure are native to our area and your purchase will benefit the Wildflower Center. What you will need to do is care for the plants as if they were in the ground, putting them in part shade, even if they are full sun plants because the heat will soon be on. We consider "full sun" to be 6 or more hours of sun a day, "part shade" 2 to 6 hours of sun and "shade" less than 2 hours of sun. Track where there will be sun and shade around your new garden, hopefully before you come to the sale, so you will know what sort of plants you need to be buying. The signs at each plant will tell you what kind of sun exposure they need, when they bloom, how much water they need and so forth. You can get the same information by searching on the plant name on our Native Plant Database.

Caution: before you buy a LOT of plants, be sure you really will be able to get them in the ground soon. As the heat rises, those black plastic pots are going to be making the heat more intense on the roots. You will need to keep them watered and make sure the pots are draining well when you do so. We also urge you to do some preparation in the flower beds before you begin to plant. Contractors usually put in "fill dirt" which can be heavens knows what, to level. If you possibly can, mark off your prospective beds and dig in a lot of compost or other organic matter. Don't do this until you are sure there will be no more large equipment or digging around the house. The last thing you need is compacted soil.

If you get the feeling that time is running out, we recommend that  you wait to purchase and plant woody plants, trees and shrubs, until our Fall Plant Sale. Woody plants should be planted in cooler weather, Fall or late Winter, when they are more or less dormant. Transplant shock is always a danger when you are putting out new plants, and it can be worse for woody plants. 

Go to our page on the Spring Plant Sale. If you are not a member and wish to come on the advance for-members-only day on Friday, you can purchase your membership when you come in. On that Plant Sale page, there are links to lists of the plants that will be on sale, one with pictures, and the other a printable list. Congratulations on being able to plan your native garden in advance to go with your new home!

 

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