So, you're a beginner gardener and you've just brought home the first plants to start your garden. It's an exciting moment, but first things first - how exactly do you plant a plant? If you're looking for step-by-step advice on how to plant a plant and start a beautiful garden, you're in the right place. After all, they don't call us The Garden People for nothing!


How to plant a plant

Step 1: Prepare your garden bed.

Getting your garden off to a flying start requires a little bit of elbow grease - but it's absolutely worth it! Here's what you need to do before you get your plants into the ground.

  • Remove any old plants that you no longer want in the garden bed, creating space for your new plantings. You should also remove any pesky weeds or stones that have appeared.
  • Dig the bed over with a shovel or a hoe, clearing out debris and breaking up any clumps of soil. This will help to aerate the soil, so your plants' roots can more easily penetrate it.
  • Soil level looking a little low? Top up with quality garden mix - Brunnings Naturally Good Garden Soil is a great option, or for larger areas, consider our Bulk Organic Garden Mix.
  • Increase the soil's nutrient content by adding some organic matter, such as Supersoil Garden Compost, Supersoil Professional Enriched Cow Manure Blend or Supersoil Professional Enriched Soil Improver & Planting Mix. Lay down an even layer and dig in to a depth of at least 10cm so it's well-incorporated. Note: If you're planting natives, skip this step - Aussie natives are phosphorus-sensitive, and adding too much nutrient-rich content could burn their delicate roots.
  • Rake the garden bed so that everything's level.
  • Water the soil well, and for an extra boost, add some Supergrow Organic Fertiliser Pellets. Note: Skip the fertiliser at this point if you're planting natives!
  • Once you've prepared your bed, leave it to settle for a week or so before you begin planting.

Clear out your garden bed to get ready for planting!


Step 2: Get the plant out of its pot.

It may not seem like rocket science, but there's a right way to get your plant out of its container. It's important not to damage the plant's delicate root structure - this is what keeps it stable in the ground and carries nutrients up to the plant. Here are our top tips to get it right.

  • First, water your plant in its container - bonus points if you add seaweed solution into the water, as it can help prevent transplant shock. Water well and let it drain. You could even fill a large bucket or bathtub with water and seaweed solution and pop your pot into that, allowing it to soak thoroughly before letting it drain. Just make sure the bucket or tub is big enough to submerge the pot, and keep the leftover water for step 5 later on!
  • It's time to remove the plant from the container - but don't tug at the stem! This can damage your plant.
    • For punnets or pots that are small enough, pick up the container, spread your hand across the top (the stem and leaves of the plant should be between your fingers) and, using your other hand for support, turn the container over. Gently squeeze the sides until you feel the soil and root ball come away, then remove the container and turn the plant right-way up.
    • For advanced plants that are too big or heavy to do this, you can also lay the container on its side, press the sides gently (if the container is flexible, like a plastic nursery pot) until you feel the roots release, and then gently ease the plant out sideways. If it's stubborn, inserting a long knife down the edge of the pot in a few spots may help the roots to release.

Voila! Your plant is out of its pot.


Step 3: Give the roots a once-over.

Once your plant is out of its container, clear away some of the potting mix (if you gently squeeze and shake the root ball it will start to fall out) and tease out the roots. In most cases you won't need to trim them, but if you spot any broken roots, you may want to clean them up a little. This is also a great opportunity to look for and remove pests that might attack your plant's roots, like curl grubs.

Shake out the potting mix and tease out the roots a little.


Step 4: Get planting.

It's not as simple as just sticking the plant into the ground. There's a process you need to follow to ensure success.

  • Dig a hole in your garden bed about twice the size of your root ball - use the empty pot as a guide if needed. Always make sure you're following the plant label for directions on how far apart to dig holes. Keep the soil you dug out nearby - you'll need it soon!
  • For some plants, such as bare-rooted roses and stonefruit, you'll need to create a small mound of soil in the bottom of the planting hole for the roots to drape over.
  • Place your plant's root ball inside the hole, supporting the stem with your hand and draping the roots over the soil mound if necessary. It's really important that you take note of where on your plant's stems the soil level reached when it was in the pot. When you pop the plant in the planting hole, make sure this level lines up with the soil level in the garden bed, and that you're not burying the stem any higher or lower, because this could lead to failure to thrive or collar rot.
  • Once you're happy with the plant's positioning, start back-filling the hole with the soil you dug out, being sure to firm it down gently around the roots of your plant.

It's time to get your plant into the ground!


Step 5: The finishing touches.

Once your plant is in its new home, there are a few things you can do to help it adapt. After all, we all know how stressful moving house can be!

  • Water it in generously with diluted seaweed solution immediately after planting. Continue watering regularly as needed while your garden is establishing, adding more seaweed solution once a fortnight to keep your plants healthy and strong.
  • After watering in, add some organic mulch, such as sugar cane or straw. A 5-10cm layer will help to keep moisture in the soil while smothering weeds, so your plant's roots can establish. Just keep the mulch away from your plant's stems to avoid collar rot.
  • Feed with an all-purpose, slow-release fertiliser - we recommend Supergrow Organic Fertiliser Pellets to get your garden off to the very best start. Note: For Aussie natives, swap this out in favour of a specialised formula, such as Neutrog Bush Tucker.

A healthy layer of mulch will keep your new plantings happy.


So, now that you know how to plant a plant, you can get started on creating your dream garden! For all your quality garden needs and friendly, expert advice, check out your local Flower Power Garden Centre - we're all across Sydney, with friendly garden experts who can't wait to help!