How to Plant Alpines

Updated April 17, 2017

Alpine plants are native to mountain slopes at high elevations. A range of plants grow in the alpine environment, including bushes and trees. Evergreen needle leafed trees, commonly lumped under the generic name of pine tree, are among the most widely recognised alpine plants Whether the alpine plant in question is a bush or a tree, alpines require similar growing conditions. By understanding the types of soil and environmental traits where these types of plants grow, you will be better able to plant alpines at home and have them thrive.

Select a location to plant alpine trees and bushes that receives full direct sunlight. While alpines can tolerate a wide variety of growing conditions with respect to sun exposure, they do best in full sun. Plant the tree in an area that receives six hours or more of direct sun.

Dig a large hole where the alpine tree is to be planted. Remove enough soil to create a hole that is at least twice the size of the pot that the alpine tree is growing in. Add peat moss and compost to the soil that you removed, along with 3 cups of cottonseed meal and mix thoroughly. Make the soil mixture about half native soil and half a mix of peat moss and compost.

Add a 1-foot layer of peat moss in the bottom of the hole. Remove the tree from the pot and place the tree in the hole. Align the tree so that it stands upright and fill in the hole using the soil you mixed with peat moss. Pack the fill soil around the tree trunk firmly. When the hole is filled, use the remaining fill soil to create a berm encircling the hole; the berm will catch and hold water. Add an additional 1-foot-deep layer of peat moss on top of the planted tree's root area within the berm. Disperse 3 cups of granulated fertiliser for acid-loving plants like gardenia, camellia and azalea. Soak thoroughly with water for at least five minutes using the garden hose.

Plant alpines in locations that offer ample room to grow without overcrowding. Avoid planting alpine trees closer than 12 feet on centre as they grow tall and their branches spread wide. Install alpine bushes similarly so that they each have at least several feet of free space around them. Providing sufficient space to grow helps allow plenty of sunlight to reach the plant so that it grows thickly and not gangly. Open space also helps prevent disease and insect infestation by allowing sufficient air flow.

Till the root area of the alpines twice a year and add cottonseed meal. Mix the cottonseed meal several inches deep into the soil and water in thoroughly. Add peat moss in a similar fashion twice a year, too. Adding regular amounts of acidic organic matter will help maintain a favourable pH balance for the alpine plants and foster lush dark green growth.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Peat moss
  • Compost
  • Granular fertiliser for acidic plants
  • Garden hose supply of water
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