Ben's Landscaping


Which WA Natives Can Transplant In My Garden?


Did you know that if done at the right time of the year you can divide and move native plants around your garden? Many plants you can take to with a shovel and split off new plants or move the entire plant to a new location. The key is having a big enough plant and doing it during the cooler months (May to August) is ideal as the moved plants need time to grow new roots and doing this during cooler months means allot less transplant/heat/moisture stress. 

So, if we start talking the best plants to try and transplant are clumping ground covers such as Kangaroo paws, Dianellas, Native Iris, Lilys etc. as these can be literally dug up out of the ground and moved. At their new location they need to have a new cultivated hole (twice as wide and deep and removing any debris) created with some soil preparation/compost clay in Perth’s sandy soils

** If there is enough plant material most of these can be split in half or thirds to form new plants and if big enough put directly into a new spot in the garden. If the plant material is small, then it is best to put in a pot with high quality potting mix and let them grow into bigger independent plants before planting in the garden. Through summer it can help to put them in a shady spot with daily watering. 

There are other plants that move quite successfully but these are the very old plants such Grass trees and Cycads. It is possible to pick them up from one location and place in the ground in another location if done the right way at the right time. For best results these are professionally grown in large nursery grow bags for 12 months before being sold to the public with an established root system. 

Most native shrubs in general do not like being moved however I did have success with a couple of grafted Qualup Bells – Pimelea physodes (see photos). These were carefully dug out in January and planted straight into a pot with high quality potting mix and kept in the shade for summer with daily watering. They were planted out in early April this year once most of the hot weather had passed. 

Transplanting native vines – I recently successfully transplanted a 5-year-old native WA Clematis sp. (see photos). This was done in February and the plant was taken from the ground carefully trying to take as much of the roots as possible and then placed into a pot in the shade with high quality potting mix and watered daily.

**The vine was cut back and kept in the shade in a pot for about 2 months and then planted on the shady side of a wall at the end of February without any soil preparation. Native fertilizer was added as was a wetting agent and regular watering until the weather cooled, and the rains arrived. 

Finally trying to move native trees apart from trees such as Grass trees/Brachychiton is something I do not think would be successful unless it was the right tree and you had professional help. Native trees like Boabs can be moved but it is a huge undertaking and it required a lot of machinery and trucks to move one from the Kimberly to Kings Park. It also has a team of professionals looking after it. 

In summary, I would recommend moving the clumping ground covers and a few others but unless you are moving house and want to try and move shrubs, I would not recommend it as a lot of natives do not transplant well once they have been growing in a certain location for a number of years. It is possible but it requires a lot of care and timing and be done the right way. 

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