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Planting Your Plants, Bulbs, Trees, Shrubs & Roses

Potted Plants... To transplant a potted plant to your garden, first trowel a hole slightly larger than the pot in which the plant arrived. Then remove the plant from its pot as described in Preparing for Planting and place the plant in the center of the hole with the foliage at the same distance above the soil line as it was in the pot. Fill the planting hole, working soil around the rootball with your fingers, press firmly to remove any air pockets, and water thoroughly.

Ground Covers... Ground cover plants prefer deeply worked, properly fertilized soil which is free from weeds. Dig individual planting holes and plant each ground cover plant as outlined above for other potted plants. To create the most natural effect, stagger your planting so the individual plants aren’t lined up like ranks of soldiers. If your planting will be on a slope, follow the contours with staggered spacing, leaving a depression around each plant to catch water. Spread a 2-4” layer of mulch over the area surrounding the plants, being careful not to bury them. This will help retain moisture in the soil and retard weed growth. Maintain the mulch covering until your ground cover plants have spread to cover the entire planting site.

Vines... Most vines will grow best when allowed to climb up a vertical support. When planting a climbing vine near a building, fence, wall or tree, set the plant at least 18” from the structure which will support it. Then gradually train it to grow over to the structure. Garden arbor, trellises and similar supporting structures intended especially for vines usually are in the open. Prepare the soil as recommended, planting the vine close to the support. This holds true as well for mesh-type fencing. Don’t let your vines form in to a tangle. They should be pruned frequently through the summer, spreading and tying the shoots to keep them to a single “layer” over the support.

Of the flowering vines, Clematis is the first choice of the majority of American gardeners. A key essential to getting your Clematis plants established is to make sure the root system will be kept cool. A sunny location where roots can grow under a cool covering, such as other perennials or mulch, is ideal. Deep plantings – about a half inch deeper than it was grown in the nursery – encourages extra strong root development, and frequent, thorough watering will encourage vigorous growth.

Bare Root Trees, Shrubs and Hedges... There are six basic steps for planting trees, shrubs and hedges: Dig a hole large enough to give the roots plenty of room, with a few inches of space beyond the root tips and the sides of the hole. Build a mound of soil in the bottom of the hole and spread roots in a natural position atop the mound.

  1. Position the plant so the previous soil line will be even with ground level. (The stem/trunk will be darker in color below the original planting line and lighter in color above it.)
  2. Once the plant is positioned at the proper planting depth, begin filling the hole with soil. Work the soil around the roots with your hands. When the hole is half filled, tamp the soil to remove any air pockets.
  3. Fill the planting hole with water and let it soak in. Straighten the plant in the hole and finish filling with soil.
  4. Form a “saucer” of soil around the edges of the planting hole and fill it with water. (To promote growth dig four small holes 4-6” deep around the perimeter of the planting hole and drop a Spring Hill Pill for Plants in each hole.)
  5. The lower trunk of newly planted trees should be wrapped with heavy paper or special tree wrap from a local garden supply store. This will protect tender bark from sunscald and rodents. A cylinder of screen wire is useful to protect the trunk from destructive animals.

Roses... The same technique described above can be adapted for planting roses:

  • Dig a hole 12-18” deep and equally wide. Build a mound in the bottom of the hole to hold roots. The rose plant should be positioned atop the mound so the bud union (a bulge on the stem of the rose plant indicating where the rose plant has been grafted onto the roots) is at ground level. Fill in our remove soil from the mound to achieve this. (In colder regions, the bud union may be planted 2” below ground level.)
  • Fill the hole half full with soil, firm around the roots and then fill the planting hole with water. After the water has soaked in, till the remainder of the hole with soil and water thoroughly.
  • Then, mound soil over ¾ of the length of the canes, then water. (For best results, cut all canes back to 3-4” above the soil mound.) As buds begin emerging, gradually loosen the soil away from the canes to ground level.

Miniature Roses... Miniature Roses grow and bloom best when planted in full sun. When you’re ready to plant, follow directions for Potted Plants.

Bare Root Perennials... There are five basic types of root systems: fibrous roots, long tap roots, rhizomes, roots with “eyes”, and fleshy tuberous roots.

  • Fibrous Roots (example: Tall Hybrid Phlox)…Dig a hole twice as wide and twice as deep as the bare roots. Carefully spread the roots out in the hole. Holding the roots with one hand, suspend them in the planting hole at the proper depth. Fill in and around the roots with soil until the hold is completely filled. Tamp the soil with your hand to remove air pockets. Create a “saucer” around the planting hole with soil, mark the planting, and fill the saucer with water: Let it soak in and fill the saucer again until the roots are completely watered.
  • Long Tap Root (examples: Hardy Hibiscus)…Follow the procedure outlined above for Fibrous Roots.
  • Rhizomes (example: Bearded Iris)…Dig a shallow hole 2-4” deep and twice as wide as the rhizome. Create a small mound in the middle of this shallow planting hole. Place the rhizome on the top of this mound and spread the roots on both sides of the mound. Fill the hole with soil, but only partially cover the rhizome. Water thoroughly.
  • Roots with “Eyes” (example: Peonies…Dig a hole twice as wide and twice as deep as the root. Holding the root, with “eyes” pointing up, at the proper planting depth, fill in and around the root with soil until the planting hole is filled. Firm the soil with both hands and water thoroughly. (Note: It’s important not to plant Peonies over 2” below the soil surface for proper blooming.)
  • Fleshy Roots (examples: Hosta)…Dig a hole twice as wide and twice as deep as the bare roots. Create a mound in the planting hole to hold the roots and the crown (where roots meet the stem) at ground level. Spread the roots over the mound. Fill the planting hole with soil and firm with both hands. Water thoroughly.

Bulbs... There are two basic methods for planting bulbs. One is to dig individual holes for each bulb. This can be done with a garden trowel or one of the special hole-cutting tools called bulb planters. Loosen the soil to a depth of 6-8” and add some of Spring Hill’s Advanced Formula Plant Food. Most bulbs will have a visible growing point which should face upwards. As a general rule, bulbs should be planted two to three times the height of the bulb itself. Place your bulb in position in the hole and cover it with loose soil. If you are planting a quantity of bulbs in a single area, you may want to dig an entire bed to planting depth. Then you can locate each bulb just where you want it before covering it with soil. Once the bulbs are in position and covered, give them a good initial watering. Bulbs need plenty of water and good drainage. They require only a minimum amount of care during the summer blooming period. Like all garden plants, they appreciate a weed-free growing area and watering when nature doesn’t supply enough rain to keep the soil moist. Do not, however; let water stand around your bulbs.



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