Plant Care Guide

Choosing the Right Plant for the Right Location:

When deciding where to plant, consider the following:

  • Mature Size of the plant
  • Protection from the wind and cold
  • Water requirements
  • Sunlight requirements

Most plants do not like standing water, especially Dogwoods, Loquats, Dwarf Azaleas and other drought tolerant plants.  If you have a low spot in your yard that is often wet, build a mound mixed with rich topsoil and sand for drainage.

When planting cold sensitive plants, such as Oleanders or Sago Palms, consider planting on the south side of your house, or near concrete walls or patios.  These areas are often slightly warmer than other areas in your yard.

Make sure you are choosing sun loving plants for sunny locations and shade loving plants for shade locations.

Plant Installation:

  • Dig the whole twice as wide as the pot and the same depth.
  • Remove the plant from its container.  If the roots are circling around the pot or are very visible, then either gently tease some major roots free with your hands or make a few 1 inch cuts down the side of the massed roots – so that the roots are encouraged to form outside of the original root ball.  This is called ‘breaking the root ball.’

**Note: Root systems of container-grown plants will grow until they hit the container, and then continue to circle around inside of the container. ‘Breaking the root ball’ encourages roots to stop circling and grow out into the existing soil where they can find more water and nutrients.***

  • Place the plant in the hole making sure that the top of the root ball is slightly above the surface (1-2 inches), fill the hole with rich dirt, and tamp.

Special Planting Situations:

  1. Wet Soil: if you have wet (poorly drained) soil, place the plant in the hole and leave the top of the root ball about an inch or two above the ground.
  2. Dry Soil: if you have sandy soil, consider filling the hole with potting soil to help retain water around the root ball.


We STRONGLY recommend that you use a time release fertilizer, such as Osomocote™.  Time release fertilizers will ensure that your plants are getting the nutrients that they need, increase plant growth, increase blooms (on blooming plants), produce greener leaf, and give plants an overall healthier look.  Time release fertilizers are applied once a year and will not burn your plants.  Nutrients are released when it rains and when you water your plants.

With that said, place the correct amount of time release fertilizer on the ground near the trunk of your plant. Read the instructions on the fertilizer container for correct amounts. (If you are using Osmocote™; approximately 1 tablespoon per foot height of plant).

Don’t forget to fertilize every year!  Around April 15th (our last frost date) or immediately after your plant finishes blooming is the best time to fertilize.  Do not fertilize after August.


Use mulch on top of the soil.  Pine straw, pine bark, hardwood mulch, etc. are fine.  Mulch will provide some nutrition to the plant as it breaks down, and will help the soil to retain moisture.


The number one killer of plants during their first year is lack of water!!  A plant’s root ball is only as large as the container that you purchased it in, so it can only obtain water from the area immediately around the root ball.  Until the roots start to spread out, the plant must be watered regularly – unless it rains.

It is difficult to give exact instructions on watering due to variations in plants, soil types, changes in weather, irrigation systems, etc. The information listed below are great rules of thumb to follow:

In spring and fall:

  • Water the plant every other day (unless it rains) for the first year and 1 – 2 times per week for subsequent years.

In summer:

  • Water the plant every day (unless it rains) for the first year and 2 – 3 times per week for subsequent years.

In winter:

  • Water the plant twice a week (unless it rains) for the first year and once a week for subsequent years.


We know it can be difficult to prune your plants because you may feel like you’re cutting off all its recent growth, but it is one of the best things you can do for your plants.  Pruning promotes new growth from the base of your plant upwards, thereby creating new branches for a much thicker and bushier plant.  Also, for blooming plants, more branches means more blooms!!

Prune spring blooming plants, such as Azaleas and Hawthorns, just after the blooms fall off.  Prune most summer blooming plants after your plants finishes blooming.  Prune roses and Crape Myrtles in late winter.

Pest Problems and Control:

  Lace Bugs   Azaleas   May – September
  Japanese Beetles   Crape Myrtles, Cherry Trees, Plum Trees, Roses   June
  Aphids   Crape Myrtles, Weeping Willow Trees   June – August
  Scales   Holly, Pittosporum, Palms   May – September

The above listed pests and many others can be controlled with a one-time spray such as Malathion, or a systemic spray such as Ortho’s™ Systemic Insect Killer. The one-time sprays wash away when you water or when it rains, but the systemic works up to ten days.  Be sure to read all safety instructions and dress appropriately when applying any chemicals.

Yearly Schedule of Care:


  • Apply pre-emergent weed control in planting beds
  • Apply horticulture oil on plants for control over insects and eggs
  • Fertilize (After April 15th)
  • Prune Azaleas and other spring blooming shrubs – after they bloom
  • Water!


  • Apply disease and insect control as needed
  • Deadhead annuals and perennials to prolong blooming season
  • Prune summer blooming shrubs – after they bloom
  • Water!


  • Apply disease and insect control as needed
  • Remove annuals
  • Cut back perennials
  • Apply pre-emergent weed control in planting beds
  • Water!


  • Apply horticulture oil on plants for control over insects and eggs
  • Prune Crape Myrtles and Roses
  • Water!