Native Plant How To Articles
Caring for Your New Native Plants
Congratulations for purchasing a plant that is native to your region. Native trees, shrubs, wildflowers, vines and grasses are often hardier than non-native plants and are better able to provide food and shelter to beneficial wildlife such as songbirds and butterflies. With Texas and other states experiencing what may be an extended drought, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s staff horticulturists provide some tips to promote healthy growth of your new purchases:
- Choose a location with the proper light and type of soil for your new plant. If you aren’t certain about this, review details about your plant’s preferences in garden books or on the Wildflower Center’s searchable online database, http://www.wildflower.org/plants. Some native plants thrive in low-nutrient soils, but others could benefit if you added compost, crushed granite or limestone to increase drainage and improve soil health.
- Plant now! Plants in the ground are easier to care for, have more time to settle in before winter, and to grow more roots to reach moisture before summer.
- For root-bound plants – those with roots tightly wrapped around each other – gently massage the roots to break them up so they branch out once planted.
- Water immediately after planting, even if the soil seems moist. This allows soil particles to settle in around the roots of the plants, helping plants adjust faster. If it isn’t your designated watering day in your municipality, use a water container or a hose to hand water.
- Water deeply on your designated watering days to completely saturate the soil. With very dry soil, water once, let it soak in, and then water again a few minutes later. Dry plants can also get frost damage, so make sure your plants are well hydrated before a freeze.
- Mulching done correctly helps retain moisture, reduce weeds and insulate plant roots during a freeze. Learn about mulch options, watering and other drought-related tips at: http://www.wildflower.org/drought-resource-center/
- Continue to check your new transplants daily for soil moisture and plant health. If you have questions about the health of a North American native plant, submit them to Mr. Smarty Plants at http://www.wildflower.org/expert/new.php.
copyright 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
www.wildflower.org | 4801 La Crosse Ave, Austin, Texas 78739 | 512.232.0100