Bedding plants can provide some of the most enjoyable gardening imaginable. The quick growth , the sudden masses of color, and the ability to “redecorate ” your yard each season is almost irresistible . For consistent good results there are a few important steps you should take.

Soil Preparation:
Probably the most ignored part of planting bedding plants is soil prep. Along the Central Coast almost all soils need organic material added to get the right soil that lets small plants flourish. For the ultimate soil bed you’ll want to begin with our Master Nursery Paydirt (45% chicken manure and humus) at the rate of 1 bag to 50 sq. Ft.

This adds fertilizer plus additional organic material to improve the soil texture and encourage microbial activity in the soil. The microbial action is what breaks down organic materials and fertilizers and makes them available to the plants. Till and dig this into the soil to a depth of 4-6″. For soils that need extra help, a good way to prepare the soil is to add our Master Nursery Gold Rush (a mix of fir bark and 15% chicken manure) to the soil at a rate of 2-3 bags per 50 sq ft. This adds more organic material to the soil and about the same amount of chicken manure as Paydirt.

When you are ready to plant, be sure the plants are moist. You will also want to make sure the soil is moist. If the soil is dry it pulls water out of the small root ball and kills the small root hairs that feed the plants.

Place the plants out on the soil where you want them (no more than a dozen or so out of their pots at a time). Digging the hole in the loose soil is easy. Blend the correct amount (Approximately 1/2 teaspoon per plant) of Master Start fertilizer in the soil below where the root ball will go.

Place the plant in the hole, being sure the soil of the root ball is even or slightly above the level of the surrounding soil.

Firm the soil around the root ball to be sure soil is in good contact with the root ball. This ensures getting the plants off to a good start.

After Planting
The first watering is especially important. Water thoroughly right after planting to a depth of 12″ or more. This often means 30-45 minutes or more. By watering this heavily you ensure good contact between the root ball and surrounding soil to allow water to move into the root ball. This also fills the soil with water so it stays moist. We find that often you do not need to water for several days after planting. Be sure to check the root ball for moisture every day though.

Bug Watch
Don’t forget to think about the slugs, snails and earwigs that will love your new plants. We recommend Sluggo Slug and Snail Control to protect all new plantings immediately after planting. Slugs and snails don’t ever take the night off.

Mulching with 1-2″ of amendment helps in controlling weeds and keeping the roots cooler to encourage better growth. We recommend micro-bark, Gold Rush, or shredded cedar bark.

Later Care:
Because bedding plants are heavy feeders it is important to start feeding within 2 to 4 weeks after planting with Master Nursery Rose and Flower Food. This ensures the fast start that is so necessary to get the strong, healthy, beautiful plants everybody wants.

Watering should be 2-3 times a week in the summer depending on weather and soil type, and every 7-14 days in fall and spring. Windy days often mean more frequent watering.

Plant Choice:
Remember that some plants like the sun and some like the shade. Our large selection of bedding plants makes it easy to find something to grow in almost any area. Talk to one of our Master Nursery Professionals to help you choose the right plants for the right spot.

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