How to - Techniques

Three tips for planting store-bought plants

Karen York
Photography by
Cybèle Young (illustrations)

From bare root to burlapped, give your nursery purchases a healthy start with these techniques

store-bought-container2.jpgTechnique: Planting container-grown plants
Most nursery plants are grown and sold in containers (versus being grown in the field and dug up for sale). Before planting, water the containers to ensure that the soil is moist. Never plant a dry root ball. Dig a hole the depth of the container and at least twice the width. Slip the plant out of the pot and check the roots if they are visible. Trim off any rotten or damaged roots. Pull out any weeds growing on top of the root ball (resist buying plants infested with really noxious weeds like horsetail). Freshly bought plants should have soil around the root ball, but if the roots are tightly packed, practically filling the pot, they should be teased apart. Set the plant in the hole, making sure the crown (the junction of roots and stem) is at the correct depth. Most plants should have their crowns at soil level but many succulents and alpines prefer being set a little higher to prevent getting waterlogged. Others, such as roses and clematis, like their crowns covered or buried quite deeply. Gently firm the soil around the root ball and water thoroughly.

Plants with crowns set 2.5 to 5 cm deep

Plants with crowns set 8 to 10 cm deep

  • Clematis
  • Hardy fuchsias (e.g., F. magellanica, Zone 6)
  • English ivies (Hedera helix and cvs., Zone 6)
  • Tomatoes
  • Tree peonies



Follow Style At Home Online



Latest Contests

more contests