The Right Place
Santolina is most at home in the arid southern areas of the United States where winters are mild. However, it is hardy as far north as the Ohio River valley, into southeastern Pennsylvania and along the Atlantic seaboard into Rhode Island (zone 6). It can manage winter temperatures that occasionally dip to 0F. The top of the plant may die back, but the roots remain hardy and will produce new shoots in the spring.
Planting Nursery Stock
Santolina must have sun. Only if it has several hours of bright sun during the day, will it accept some shade gracefully. It is not at all fussy about soil, tolerating light sand or heavy clay, as long as it is well drained. Shaded or poorly drained sites tend to promote disease in these plants, especially if there is also high humidity or poor air circulation around them.
Plant young seedlings in the evening or on a cloudy day to protect them from the harsh sun while they cope with transplant shock. There is no need to enrich the soil, just work it with a trowel to break up soil clumps and clear out rocks. Remove seedlings from their containers, disturbing the roots and soilball as little as possible. Dig holes wide enough and deep enough to accommodate the soilball so that each plant will be at the same height in the ground as it was in its container. Set the seedling in the hole, then press the soil around each plant gently and water. Water every day or two if there is no rain until the transplants are established and show no sign of wilt in the sun. Space transplants 3 feet apart for groundcover, closer for use in flower borders or as edging for walks or beds.
Amendments In Planting or Transplanting
There are a number of products at the garden center that will help your newly planted or transplanted plants deal better with the stress inherent in the planting process. All healthy plants have beneficial fungi, called mycorrhizal fungi, living on their roots. You can buy these valuable additions to your plant’s ecosystem. See the file describing Using Micorrhizae When Planting.
In addition, there are a number of products such as seaweed, compost tea, and beneficial soil microbes that when added to the planting process will help your newly established plants get going faster. See the file New Technology In Plant Growth Activators