Upon arrival, please unpack your native plants immediately and water well. If they are on the dry side, water thoroughly letting it soak through, then water again. This will ensure that the water penetrates the root zone and does not only run down along the inside edge of the pot or 6-pack. Place your plants in a cool place having bright, but indirect light until ready to plant.
With a trowel, dig a hole which is slightly wider and deeper than the plants root mass. Lightly squeeze the plastic pot or 6-pack around the roots, turn over and gently tap the plants out so that they fall into your hand. With your fingers, carefully tickle or tease the roots outward. This will not hurt the plant and will encourage it to grow into the garden soil. Add enough soil so that when you place the plant in the hole it will be at the same level as it was in the pot or 6-pack. Place the plant in the hole, back fill with soil and gently tuck around the root mass.
After planting, water in thoroughly. This will make sure the soil fills in around the root zone for good root /soil contact. Large air pockets can damage roots. In the first year, you will only need to water your garden if rain has not occurred for a full week. At this point, watering will ensure that your plants have a healthy start! Once they are established and provided you have chosen the right plants for your soil type, you will not need to water again.
Until plants have become established, you will need to weed out unwanted plants. You can do this by hand, but be careful not to pull up the roots of your native plants. Weeds pull out easy a couple of days after a rain.
NOTE : It may also be important to keep faster growing native plants from shading out slower growing ones. In a garden situation, you may want to cut back or stake those which tend to crowd out the others. You will only need to do this until the slow growers reach a competitive size.
After planting your garden, applying a light mulch is beneficial. Mulching conserves soil moisture and will help to keep down weeds.
Be sure to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Once established, your native plants will need little care. Watch the birds and butterflies delight in your garden and know that you did a little something to help preserve a bit of our natural heritage.