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Proper planting

There's no substitute
for doing it right

Dig a hole then stick in your new shrub

...nothing could be worse for your landscape

The proper way to plant is to dig a hole about 2X wider than the pot size you are planting and a little deeper than your pot

With many plants in Florida, it is best to amend with quality 'pro mix' nursery soil (not the 99 cents a bag junk in 40 lbs bags --- that's the worst) then mix your new soil with your existing soil into the hole

The reason is most South Florida soils are poor; no more than sand or rocks or muck.  Foreign landscape plants (versus native plants ) are very unlikely to prosper in plain native Florida soils

The vast majority of plants we use in South Florida landscapes are not native to Florida. Many come from South America, Madagascar, Australia, the Orient, etc. and therefore need an improved/amended soil to promote health and good growth

DO NOT EVER BUY "potting soil" from places like Home Depot or Target or K-Mart. These materials are very heavy, muck-like substances that usually cost about $1.79 per bag. What you need to spend is more like $8.00 - $12.00  per bag for quality professional grade nursery mix based on Canadian peat moss and a mixture of other organics plus Perlite.  Better yet, go to a good nursery and buy bags of their professional soil to mix into your lansdscape soil

If you have a big project, look in your Yellow Pages for truck load delivery

After you have mixed your soil in your planting hole, take your new plant out of its plastic pot. Holding your hand around the base of the plant and turning the pot over probably will do the trick. If not, use a sharp knife (to cut the pot's sides to release your plant from its pot). Hopefully your plant is well rooted and the soil ball stays well intact

Your new plant MUST BE PLACED in the hole so the top of the soil in your landscape perfectly matches the top of the soil ball from your new plant. Planting too high or too low very often will kill your plant (slowly) or at least cause a condition where the plant is never prosperous. Adjust the soil (take some out or put some in) in your hole until the soil levels match exactly

Now you "water in" in your plant

Take your water hose and basically flood your hole (with your new plant inside) about 3/4 full. Next wait a few moments until the water mostly goes down and has been absorbed, then more water and start filling and packing soil into the spaces around your new plant. Keep adding soil then water, soil then water and pack it all in.  Stop adding soil when the soil level exactly matches your surrounding soil

Firming your soil into your hole with your hands, your shoes, a 2X4, etc. is necessary to get rid of all air pockets and to make 100% contact with the plant's soil ball and your surrounding soil. Firm your soil in as you add soil to your hole. Don't wait to firm just the top

Often, we will now apply water again to wet the top of the plant and the surrounding soil. Also, with some plants such as hibiscus, mulching immediately is best

Do not apply fertilizer or any other stimulative chemcials.  The time for the first feeding is after your new plant is clearly stabilized in your landscape and showing new growth which is on average about 3 weeks

Water daily for 3 weeks.  Water 3-4x weekly for another 2-3 weeks after that


  • Make a 2X hole
  • Amend your soil with top quality professional grade soil mix that contains no fertilizers
  • Level your plant to exactly match the surrounding soil
  • Water in your new plant
  • Firm in the soil to extract air pockets and to touch the surrounding soil 100%
  • Mulch around selected plants
  • Water again
  • Do not fertilize
  • Water daily for 3 weeks
  • Take a well deserved rest.  Maybe the game is on TV now