When planting palms or topical plants in the Victorian climate it is important have a firm idea of the drainage in the spot you have chosen to plant. Palms and tropical plant prefer to be moist but not wet soils, and the easiest way to maintain this dynamic is to ensure that your garden has great drainage as you can therefore water it often without the fear of over-watering.
Performing a drainage test is easy;
- Dig your hole into which you want to plant.
- Fill the hole with water and see how well it drains away.
- As a rule if it drains within an hour or two, you have excellent drainage.
- If it drains within 12 hours, you have acceptable drainage.
- If it hasn’t drained after 24 hours, you have a drainage problem, and you probably shouldn’t plant at that location without fixing it first.
Note that when performing a test like this it is important to be aware of the environment and condition of the soil beforehand. Obviously arid and dry soil will drain much quicker than normal and soaking wet soils will drain much slower. A drainage test should be performed at a time when the moisture of the soil is approximately normal; i.e. not after heavy rain or prolonged dry spells.
Now that you have an idea of how well your spot drains you will have an idea of how much watering you should be doing.
For more information on planting and maintaining a tropical garden or palms please see our Guide for Planting here