California Native Plants
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Planting Intro


Some native plants like the Matilija poppy, flannel bush, manzanita, bush poppy and wooly blue curls do not like to have their roots disturbed. It is important to plant them very carefully as follows:
  1. Prepare the site; add mycorrhizae tablets in the hole.
  2. With a utility knife, cut out the bottom of the container, leave the bottom in place and when you place the plant in the hole, slip away the cut out bottom.
  3. Cut a slit in the container on each side from the bottom to the collar.
  4. Gather the soil loosely around the cut container, and then cut through the collar on one side and slip the container out.
Some species are more sensitive to soil fungus problems. Madrone, oaks, manzanita, flannel bush, toyons, bush poppy, matilija poppy, ceanothus, coffeeberry, wooly blue curl and carpenteria are some examples. They should not be planted in summer but if this is the only option, here is the best way to proceed:
  1. Dig the hole deeper and put a piece of pipe 2-3 ft long and 1.5 -2" in diameter into the bottom of the hole. The end of the pipe should be below the roots.
  2. Lighten your soil, place the mycorrhizae tablets and cut the container and plant.
  3. When you are finished planting, fill pipe with gravel or coarse sand.
  4. Water the plant through the pipe.
2511 Floral Avenue
Chico, CA 95973
Ph/Fx (530) 892-2511

The Basics of Planting Native Plants

How to Plant and Water Your California Natives

Fall and winter are the best seasons to plant a California native. This allows the roots to become established before the heat of the summer. Native plants will do much better if planted in soil with good drainage. If the soil is heavy, add sand, gravel or other inert material. Do not add compost or fertilizer. This would cause the roots to stay close to the plant instead of going deep and into the native soil.

Mycorrhizae Fungi are beneficial fungi that attach to the roots, increasing the absorption area available to the root system. This improves the plants ability to absorb water and nutrients, maintain soil structure, and increase resistance to disease and stress.

We use mycorrhizae inoculants in our soil mix for growing the plants in containers and we strongly recommend the use of mycorrhizae tablets when planting your natives. 2 tablets for one gallon plants and 8 tabs for 5 gallon plants. Put the tablets in the hole touching the roots when planting. This is particularly important where construction, compaction or heavy chemical fertilizers have disturbed native soil.

Native plant roots need to go deep into the soil to become drought and disease resistant so it is important to water deeply.

A good watering is slow and long. A drip system is best, which conserves water and discourages competing weeds. Try to water 1 foot away from the plant crown. Native plants are very sensitive at the root crown, if the root crown is damp, harmful bacteria and fungi will grow.

Water every 6-10 days depending on site and weather for the 1st season.
After the 1st season a deep watering once a month is recommended for most native plants. This should prolong the blooming period and avoid summer dormancy.

Remember, good drainage is very important and do not over water!