Grafted verticordias prefer sand over gravel at 1m although they can be grown in deep sand provided the water supply is maintained. Soil pH in the range 5.5 to 6.5 (in water) is preferred.
The site should be free from dieback (Phytophthora) and nematodes, and prepared ahead of planting, eliminating all weeds. Compacted sites should be deep-ripped to produce a suitable seedbed.
Allow sufficient time for the ground to settle before planting. Great care must be taken to apply good hygiene practices to prevent introduction of disease.
Planting and establishment
Use disease-free plants. The best time to plant is late autumn or early spring in warmer areas or late spring in cooler areas.
Ensure plants are not root-bound. If so, the root system will need to be teased out during planting. The seedbed must be thoroughly wetted up at least a week before planting.
Grafts can be brittle and therefore care needs to be taken when handling and planting. Individual wind breaks or tree guards for the first three months after planting may be necessary on windy sites.
Grafted verticordias perform best in dense plantings to maximise yield per square metre of land and to encourage upward stem growth. This can be achieved by preparing a bed 1.2m wide and planting in double rows with 0.6m between rows and 1.0m between plants in the row and planting in a staggered pattern (see below).
These can be arranged in 50 to 100m rows with workways between rows centred at 3m. Depending on the spacing this gives a plant density of 3300 to 6600 plants per hectare. Best light interception is usually achieved if rows are aligned north-south.
It is also beneficial to use mulch to reduce weed competition, moderate soil temperature and conserve moisture. In cooler regions plastic mulch or ‘weed mat’ has been found suitable, while in hotter climates white plastic mulch or straw works better.