Caring for Your New Plants
THANK YOU FOR PURCHASING A PLANT that is native to your region. Native trees, shrubs, wildflowers, vines and grasses are beautiful, provide us with a sense of place, and provide food and shelter to wildlife such as songbirds and butterflies. (We sell plants twice a year at our native plant sales.) Here are some tips from Wildflower Center horticulturists for promoting healthy growth of your new plants:
1. 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 using the Wildflower Center’s Native Plants of North America.
2. Plant during spring or fall if possible. Plants in the ground are easier to care for, have more time to settle in before winter (if planting in fall) and grow more roots before harsh summer weather hits (if planting in spring).
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Mulching done correctly helps retain moisture, reduce weeds and insulate plant roots during a freeze.
7. 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, check out our Expert Advice.