How to Provide Sharp Drainage for Your Plants

If your landscape require sharp drainage, follow these tips for successful gardening all year round.

Sharp drainage refers to a method of planting that requires both constant moisture and excellent drainage, especially during the winter months. "Thankfully, not many landscape plants require sharp drainage," says master gardener Paul James. "Perhaps the most popular of those that prefer this type of drainage are the anemones. But if your soil has a high percentage of clay or if you live in an area that receives a large amount of rain, then just about any plant will benefit to some extent from sharp drainage."

To provide sharp drainage for your plants, dig a hole twice the width of the nursery pot and three inches deeper. Mix some of the native soil with an equal amount of granite chips, and use that to fill the bottom three inches of the planting hole.

Granite chips are sometimes called turkey grit because they're occasionally fed to turkeys as a kind of digestive aid. As a result, you may have more luck finding the granite chips at a feed store rather than at a nursery. Whatever you do, however, be sure to avoid limestone chips. Limestone will ultimately pack down like cement into the soil, and it will also affect the alkalinity of the soil. Granite chips on the other hand, are pH neutral.

Place the plant in the hole, and fill in the hole with soil. Leave about a half-inch of the plant crown above the soil level, and apply a light layer of granite chips around the base of the plant, extending the chips out to the edges of the planting hole.

Sharp drainage offers far more drainage than a conventional planting hole, especially by providing the plant with drainage where it needs it the most - at the bottom of the planting hole and around the crown of the plant.

Next Up

Planting Australian Plants in Your Garden

Some of these specimens from Down Under could have great potential for American gardens.

What to Plant in High- and Low-Maintenance Gardens

Choose plants for a garden design that will suit your lifestyle.

How to Grow Sesame

Want to make your own sesame seed tahini or hamburger bun topping? Try growing nutrient-packed sesame.

How to Plant Cannas

Cannas bring vibrant tropical color to the late-summer garden. With these tips, you can enjoy them year after year.

Tips for Fertilizing Garden Plants

Help your garden thrive with these easy ideas for feeding plants.

Planting Annuals: When and How To Plant Annual Flowers

Learn the ins and outs of planting annuals, including when to plant annuals and techniques you can use to boost success.

How to Plant Young Crops

Correct potting is essential for crop growth. Follow these steps to create the most prosperous environment for young plants.

How to Grow Pineapple Plants

Learn how to grow a pineapple plant in your yard or in a pot.

A Guide to Growing Chiles and Sweet Peppers

Discover how to add a bit of sweetness or a hint of spice to any dish with homegrown peppers and chiles.

Dig Deep: How to Plant a Japanese Maple

Delicate beauty and vibrant colors make the Japanese maple a coveted choice for landscaping or for containers.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.