Bigger is bolder when establishing a garden

How to go big when shopping for mature container plants

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When it comes to selecting plants for a new garden, big is often better.

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Big can be better for making a statement in the garden. Picture: Shutterstock.

Big can be better for making a statement in the garden. Picture: Shutterstock.

When it comes to selecting plants for a new garden, big is often better.

Advanced trees and shrubs provide instant impact, but this benefit can come at considerable cost.

Advanced plants are often container grown and trees and shrubs up to six metres in height can be purchased ready to make an instant impact.

More mature plants are usually categorised by container sizes ranging from 25 litres to 2000 litres.

Plants of this size take some handling when it comes to planting and the need for mechanical equipment may be necessary to transport and place in position.

Larger plants grown in a container are no different in their requirements for establishment than smaller plants.

The regular regime of watering, fertilising, pruning and pest and disease control are paramount for a plant to get established and for ongoing health.

With larger, more mature container plants, there may be additional requirements and it is always wise to consult the nursery supplier for any special preparation steps for planting and establishment in the first year of installation.

These establishment periods can vary from three months to three years depending on the size and type of plant purchased.

Amendment of the planting site soil is essential to ensure healthy and rapid colonisation of the planting site by the plant root system. You need to establish a transition layer between the root ball and the site soil.

The aim is to avoid a sudden transition from one soil type to the next. To achieve this, the excavated site soil should be blended with an amended soil or potting mix.

This amended backfill will allow moisture to get into the root ball, while allowing excess water to drain away. This sustains the original roots system of the plant while it gradually colonises the planting site.

While there are many types of advance container systems and plants to choose from, at the end of the day it comes down to selecting plants from a reputable supplier with a track record for quality.

Investing in advance container plants is about buying time and as with any investments, it may be advisable to consult an expert in the field of advance plant care and maintenance to help in making informed decisions.

Determining the best approach for plant establishment and ongoing maintenance for achieving desired outcomes will prevent potential disappointment from the loss of any plants.

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