The basic principles of planting remain the same for all planting themes. Whether they are native, exotic, European or Japanese, the same basic principles apply. The first and most basic one is to match the plants chosen with the conditions in which they are intended to grow. The more closely the conditions are matched the more the plants will flourish.
Some conditions can be manipulated by the installer to better suit the intended plant theme. Conditions such as moisture and nutrition are more easily manipulated by just applying more or less to best suit the selected plants.
However there is one very important condition – that whilst it can be changed to some extent to suit juvenile plants it is much harder to change later, i.e. soil and condition.
So it pays big dividends to attend to this matter prior to planting, so as to provide as near to the ideal soil type for the intended planting. The scientific approach to this is to send some soil samples off to be analysed. The analysis can determine a very extensive range of minerals and nutrients, the extent to which depends on the budget.
From this analysis one can determine the correct amount of manipulation required for the intended planting theme or whether it is indeed viable. The correct amount of organic matter contained within the soil is also critical. You can actually have too much organic matter, but too little and soil is rendered sterile. The other important factor about soil is its ability to retain or release moisture.
This correlates to the texture of the soil and the amount of uncomposted organic material present in it. Some plants require more retained moisture than others.
So it is very important to pay particular attention to the makeup of the soil you intend to install plants into. Make sure to closely match the plant type with the correct soil type.
When installing plants it is often a good idea to dig a hole about twice the size of the potted plant you want to install. Mix the excavated soil with a good quality organically rich, ph neutral soil blend and a small handful or two of 8-9 month slow release fertilizer. Make sure to use fertilizers low in phosphorus for natives. If applying water in the following weeks is going to be difficult, then the addition of some pre moistened water crystals is very useful (pre moistened –put a handful into 2 litres of water, wait 5 minutes for the crystals to expand to form a gel). Use the gel to place under and around the plants installed. This water crystal gel will help to make any available moisture available to the plant roots once they grow into the gel. (P.S. – If using water crystal gel be careful not to over-water plants. Depending on the quality of water crystals used they will remain active in the soil for a couple of seasons.)