Potting on Tubestock
Our tubestock is grown on raised benches to encourage hardy roots and foliage. If it has been freighted to you, it may have been in a multi layered plant transport truck, or packed in a carton.
In both cases it will have been exposed to high levels of humidity, and some Australian plants will resent such conditions. When our plants arrive we recommend that you allow them to bask in full or partial sun for a few days to harden up again before potting or planting.
There are as many theories about potting media and fertiliser and proceedures as there are growers in the nursery trade. Some general hints to improve the success rate when potting on native tubestock are...
- Use a very well drained potting mix made specifically for native plants. Over many years potting mix manufacturers have received feedback from growers and have used this to modify their mixes. Most native species will grow satisfactorily in a general potting mix, but others, notably Grevilleas, banksias and more unusual rare species may give trouble. A specific native mix may cost a little more, but you will not have to throw out as many failed plants.
- There are many fertilisers on the market, and most manufacturers produce some that are suitable for native plants. It is essential that the formulation be low in Phosphorus, or contain it in a form that releases very slowly. There is a popular misconception that Australian plants do not need much Phosphorus, but they need as much as exotic plants. Our flora has evolved systems to extract normal amounts of nutrients from very impoverished soils, and our plants can overdose when given readily available Phosphorus. The main danger time for fertiliser toxicity is very early spring, where some fertilisers may have been slowly releasing into the media which has been wet over the winter. Be sure to use a fertiliser that cannot moisture release over winter, or the plant will be damaged in spring when the roots start to grow through the potting mix. The symptoms of fertiliser toxicity will usually be burning of the older foliage from the leaf mid point to the tip. The other symptom is a dead plant!
- Good air movement is essential to produce healthy plants. This is especially important in late spring and early summer when levels of atmospheric humidity are high. It is also important during winter when there is not enough heat in the sunlight to dry the foliage on crowded plants. Plants grown too close together are more likely to exhibit fungal attack to foliage and flowers, and are more prone to to cross infection than widely spaced plants. The other advantage of well spaced plants is the reduction in spraying to control pests and diseases. An ideal way to achieve healthy plants is to grow them on raised benches, and although this is costly to set up, it will allow you to grow difficult native plants that other nurseries find almost impossible.