Taking Care of Your Plants

Flowering Western Redbud tree (Cercis occidentalis). Photo: Lisa Cox

Tips for Success with Native Plants

You’ve followed all the advice on how to plant–carefully preparing your site and adding new plants. But maybe things aren’t going to plan, or you just want to know what to do if problems arise. Check out these tips from native plant Horticulture experts on what to do when your garden isn’t doing what you want.

  • Remember that “the best thing you can put on your garden is your shadow.” Observing and spending time in your garden helps diagnose problems and prevent issues from arising in the first place.
  • Most potential pest and disease problems are caused by over- or under-watering or poor plant selection and location. Most native plants don’t need a lot of watering, so people often overwater native landscapes.
    • Always check your soil before watering. The top may be dry but wet underneath. If the soil is wet, don’t water.
    • Monitor and keep track of your watering schedule; adjust accordingly if your plants aren’t responding well.
  • In most native plant gardens you’ll find a balance of beneficial insects, birds, and other wildlife that will keep insect pests in check. If insects become a big problem, you can blast them off with a strong spray from the hose or use insecticidal soaps or oils to kill them.
  • Remember that a munched leaf is not a bad thing! It’s a sign you are feeding local insects like western monarchs, which depend on native plants for their survival and are plant pollinators.