The hidden depths of plant types

Plant polyanthus for spring. Picture by Tom Pattinson.
Plant polyanthus for spring. Picture by Tom Pattinson.

Decayed organic matter, be it animal manure or composted garden material, is always the main ingredient when I’m busy planting.

Adding spent potting compost, gritty sand and a phosphatic fertiliser to the medium helps encourage root development. These are mixed together in a handy-sized tub that is an essential planting companion, easily carried between sites.

Questions relating to planting depths and supports are frequently asked.

Container-grown specimens reveal at a glance the level of compost they’ve enjoyed previously. It should be just below the soil surface after planting.

Bare-rooted plants have a tell-tale mark on the main stem indicating their planting depth in the nursery, which can be repeated in your garden. This allows for the addition of a deep organic mulch laid over winter.

When planting roses, blackcurrants and raspberries remember that their longevity and performance is reliant on strong young shoots emerging from below soil level. Slightly deeper planting than the norm achieves this and annual mulching perpetuates it.

When planting new or moving existing roses, always ensure that the union or point where the rose was grafted onto its rootstock, is well below soil level.

Spring flowering plants are currently replacing spent summer bedding. Whether they’re in the open garden or containers, make sure they are planted firmly enough to withstand autumn winds.

When planting hardy bulbs make sure the tip of each is at least twice the bulb height below soil level. Shallow planting is one reason why narcissi fail to form blooms.