Planting Guide

Site Selection

Find a spot that has the appropriate sun exposure (don’t forget to consider years down the road when other nearby plants might create more shade!), soil type, and moisture requirements for your plant. If you’re unsure of your plant’s needs, a simple internet search of the plant’s name will give you the basics. Be sure that there will be enough space for the plant’s mature height and size. Think about the foliage and flower color, and timing of blooming and fruiting compared to other plants around it.


  1. Dig a hole slightly wider but not deeper than the pot, loosen up the soil that you remove from the hole and remove any plant roots or weeds from the fill soil
  2. Be sure the plant in the container has been watered recently, tip the pot on its side and gently remove the root mass from the container
  3. Gently break apart and spread out the outer inch or so of the roots a bit with your hands. If they are circling or hard to separate, you can drive a shovel straight through the bottom half of the root mass to separate the roots a bit.
  4. Place the plant root mass in the hole with the surface of the root mass level with the soil surface or slightly higher. Planting too low can cause rot on the stem of the plant.
  5. Fill in the sides of the hole with the soil you previously removed, pushing the soil in around the roots, so that no large air pockets remain. Be gentle not to disturb the roots too much.
  6. Water in the plant, then add a bit more soil around the plant if the soil level drops with watering. You want the soil to be level with the soil level from the pot.  You can build up a small round reservoir with soil around the plant if needed, to hold water.
  7. Add a thin layer of compost or mulch around the plant surface, but not directly touching the stem of the plant.

Native plants require little maintenance once established, but be sure to give them extra care and attention in their first year – especially by watering them as needed!



Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest, Arthur R. Kruckeberg. UW Press, 1996.

Real Gardens Grow Natives, Eileen M Stark. Skipstone, 2014.

Landscaping for Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest, Russell Link. UW Press, 1999.


King County’s Native Plant Guide

WA Native Plant Society’s Native Plants for Landscaping

Guide to Naturescaping

Hansen’s NW Native Plant Database

Native Plants PNW