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Moosa Creek Blog
MAY
29

How to Plant Natives

Creekside Chat

Native Californian plants have an undeserved reputation for being fussy and short-lived. Untrue. It is usually the way natives are planted and watered that cause them to die. In preserves you’ll see native plants flourishing in soil that has little organic content or even earthworms. Avoid planting natives as you would other plants; daisies and geraniums need amendment, but Margarita BOP penstemon and Incienso do not.  Here's how the Native Plant Restoration Team of the Fallbrook Land Conservancy and Finch Frolic Garden Permaculture has planted and irrigated natives with great success:

Dig a hole in well-draining soil the same size as the pot. Fill the hole completely up with water and allow it to drain. Do it again. This deep soaking is the most important part of planting a native. Do not use any planting mix or fertilizer. If the dirt is completely without nutrition, then break up some dry sticks from a non-toxic plant, preferably from a native, and put a few in the bottom of the planting hole. These will inoculate the soil with microbes and provide a small amount of long-term food.

 

Level the rootball with the surrounding soil, neither sticking up to expose roots to heat and dryness, nor sunken so there is dirt around the stem of the plant, which will rot it. Soak the plant one more time and be sure there are no air pockets. Lightly mulch around the plant to protect the roots and suppress weeds. Water again lightly only when the ground is dry 2-3 inches down for the first year. After that, depending upon the type of plant you have and conditions, you may not have to water again except for a leaf-washing in the summer. Remember that not all natives are the same. They come from the wide range of habitats that Southern California is blessed with: seaside, riparian, desert, forest and a variety of chaparral. Choose your plants carefully, plant them correctly, water them as they need, and you will have beautiful hardy plants.

 
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