Gardening Blog - Lush Online Plants Nursery australia

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How to care for your plants when you buy plants online

Buying plants from an online nursery is a very convenient way of gardening!

You can conveniently buy plants online from your own home and have the plants delivered right to your doorstep.

For more information on how Lush Plants Plant Nursery packages and posts online plants, please visit "how we post and pack your plants" page. Here are a few important things to help you successfully grow your new garden plants.

Caring for your online plants on arrival, additional info for success;

All our online plants are sent via e-parcel post.  It is very important to unpack your plants as soon as possible after arrival. We soak all plants in Seaweed solution in our plant nursery before sending to reduce transport stress.

Unpack them carefully, if they are looking tired, give them a good drink - a weak solution of seasol or other seaweed based solutions fine, prior to potting up.  (Do not soak cacti and succulents, dragonfruit or plants with fleshy roots.  Our packaging retains adequate moisture so most plants will not require soaking.

The benefits of using seaweed solution on your plantsb2ap3_thumbnail_plants-soaking-seaweed-solution.JPG

  • Seaweed stimulates root development
  • Seaweed reduces transplant stress
  • Seaweed enhances flowering & fruiting
  • Seaweed increases resistance to heat, drought, frost, pests & disease

Due to the fact that seaweed solution is not a nitrogen based fertilizer, it is safe to use on all plants. 

Choosing the right size pot for your online garden plants

Once your plants have had a good drink, it is time to choose an appropriate pot size. Choose the right size pot for each plant, judging by the size of the roots, and the size of the foliage. It is a common mistake to plant plants in a huge pot, thinking plants will grow quicker because they have a bigger pot - the opposite is true!

Plants need oxygen in the soil, and big pots make it harder for soil to dry out. Without drying out, soil becomes logged and oxygen is destroyed. Roots will not develop properly and the plant will stay too wet, being a major cause of root rot, and possibly plant death.

Most smaller plants will grow well in a 5” pot. Bigger plants and plants with rhizome roots (Ginger etc) are more suited to a bigger pot, around 8”. Some plants are small but have a big taproot, such as the flamethrower palm etc. These plants can either be planted in special, extra tall pots, or they can be planted in a big pot. You just need to make sure you don’t over water, and soil is very well draining.

Our plants are growing in a range of containers depending on the type of plant.  Gradually increase the size of the pot, this creates a much better root system then planting it in a 12” pot straight away.  

Soils and potting mix for your online plants

Always choose a well-draining mix. For potted plants, the easiest (and often the best) soils are premium potting mixes, available from hardware stores, nurseries & garden centers  Read the back of the bag to ensure it is suitable for your plant, and check whether the potting mix incorporates fertilizers and soil improvers, or whether you will need to add this yourself.

Specific potting mixes, such as ‘cacti and succulent mix’, ‘orchid mix’, or ‘Azalea mix’ are the easiest to use, and these potting mixes ensure you will get the right mix for your plant. It is always a good idea to add some soil improver, such as compost which encourages soil activity and insect numbers (like earthworms), increasing available nutrients & oxygen for the roots.

Things like Dynamic Lifter, Blood & Bone, Organic Xtra etc. are also excellent to mix in with the soil when you plant your online plants. Be sure to read the packaging for the right amount of solution or fertilizer.

Watering In

It is vital to water your plants in well. If you do none of the other things, please do this one, it is THE most important thing about potted plants. Without proper watering in, the soil or potting mix will have air pockets, causing roots to die back, or die completely. Water in well, then leave to dry out to let the soil create oxygen for the roots, then water regularly to suit the plant. We usually water 2-3 times a week during dry times, less when it’s raining.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Amber-planting-in-garden-1.JPGPlanting your online plants in the ground

We recommend potting your online plants first to get them used to your conditions and to grow them as big as possible before planting them out in the garden. If you are planting straight into the ground, be sure to prepare the planting site well. Dig your hole much bigger than the plant’s root system, and dig through lots of organic matter such as Blood & Bone or manure

If you are lucky enough to have a compost pile, this would be the time to use some! Please do check the pH of your compost – last time I checked ours the pH was 3, which is not beneficial at all to any plant! If it is fairly neutral, or slightly acidic, it would be great to dig some through the soil at the bottom of the hole, and the soil which is used for back-filling the hole.

We always soak the hole with water first, to make water penetration easier once the plant is planted. It would depend on your soil too however, if the soil is very dry and rocky. It is important to dig a huge hole, and fill it with water first. Plants would have a hard time getting their roots through the soil, at least for a start.

If your soil is more of a clay soil though, you would more so build up your soil to form a mound, and you would plant your plants on top of the mound to improve drainage. Clay can be very heavy soil, and retains water a lot, meaning it would get too cloggy for a lot of plants. It's important to determine what type of soil you have before purchasing your plants, and before planting them. Press soil on firmly without being rough and water in well once again.

Fertilize around the base of online plants, but do keep it at least 10cm away from the base to avoid trunk rot. This is not vital for all plants, but without listing every plant, it's best to be safe than sorry. Mulching is always good in the conditions we’re dealing with in Australia, but it is absolutely necessary in areas of drought, areas on water restrictions, or areas without much natural rainfall. It will keep the soil moist, and directs water to the roots without run off.

In hot parts of the country, mulching is necessary to keep soil & roots cool, in cold areas it is used to keep roots warm. It works as a natural insulator, and while the mulch composts, it provides nutrients for the plant as well. Please note that if you would like to fertilize your plants, try and get the fertilizer in under the mulch. It will work much better that way.

Watering your online plants

Watering is one of the things most people worry about. If you follow our instructions on pot size above, your online plants will be a lot more forgiving than they used to be. All plants prefer a soil which is well draining and free flowing, and pots of the right size will allow the soil to do so. A good rule of thumb is to water when the top inch of soil is dry, in summer this may be every day, in winter this may be no more than once every 2 weeks.

In the nursery, we usually water 2-3 times a week when it’s dry, less when it’s raining. Do check your pots though, as we find sometimes the foliage does not let rain through very easily and additional watering might be needed. If your online plants are in a suitable pot size, they will dry out quickly, and quickly establish root systems whilst having adequate watering applied.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Chinese-Keys-Amber-umbrella.JPGKeep in mind that plants in full sun will need more water than online plants under shade cloth or in a semi-shaded position. We always recommend keeping your online plants in small pots out of full, harsh sun until you pot them into at least 200mm pots.

Our online plants in bigger pots generally fend for themselves, but during dry times they get additional watering. Some plants, such as philodendrons and some palms and things like Azalea, Monstera, Orchids or Medinilla’s, appreciate being fairly moist at all times, and will grow much quicker when watered regularly. Once they are ready to go into the ground however, most are able to completely look after themselves with just natural rainfall. 

When you water, water well. Most online plants do not appreciate always being wet and receiving little amounts of water often. It’s best to water well, leave the plant to dry out a bit, and water well again. Some plants that like high humidity are different, they prefer being moist most of the time, and they will also benefit from regular misting to increase humidity.

Many helpful products are available to increase water retention and stop water runoff, such as water crystals and soil wetter.

Positioning your online plants

It is very important to read as much information on the plant you purchased as you can, to learn about what they like and dislike. All plants have different requirements, like people really.

When you receive your online plants, you will need to slowly adjust them to the position where they are to grow eventually. If your palm is to grow in full sun, you cannot place it in full sun immediately, especially not with seedlings. Seedlings are best grown in a shady, brightly lit position until your online plants have established themselves in their new pot. Once they have, you can slowly adjust them to full sun. Take them out into the sun for an hour or so a day, and slowly increase until they are completely sun hardy.

Obviously, some plants are not suited to growing in full sun, and these can be established in their pots and planted out immediately afterwards. You will need to think carefully about the position for your online plants, make sure you know exactly how big the plant can grow, whether roots are invasive or not, whether it needs shade or full sun, does it need acidic soil, how much water does it need etc.

As you may have recently seen on ‘Better Homes and Gardens’, someone planted a nice little pot plant along a fence, and before they knew it the ‘little pot plant’ was 8m tall and going strong. This was a Ficus, which is known to be a great house plant, but can reach up to 50m tall in the garden! This is just an example, but it really pays to look into it, as removing a tree of that size can cost a lot, and you are left with an empty spot in the garden which may take years to fill.

Indoor or House plants

We have online plants in our nursery that are great as indoor plants. Place these plants in a brightly lit position, under a Skylight or close to a window is great. Check whether the plant can handle air conditioning if your house is air conditioned, and keep it away from draughts.  Air can be very dry inside, so keep an eye on the plant, water it when needed, and mist it regularly if it likes humidity.

You will need to wipe the foliage of your online plants free of dust every week or so, with a damp cloth. I take my house plants outside regularly for a little TLC, they get a hose off and an application with liquid fertilizer every two weeks. Liquid fertiliser are great for indoor plants, it’s easy to apply and feeds through foliage as well as soil.

All the best growing your very own online plants & let us know if we can help you further.

Hibiscus; Growing Hibiscus Plants

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