Any time you plant, add a layer of mulch to retain moisture and prevent insects and weeds. Keep the mulch away from the base of the plant however, instead mulching only to the “drip line” — the outside of the leaves. Also spread mulch over any bare spots.
Keep in mind that you have to renew mulch, because worms will eat it and it will gradually be worn away or break down into the soil.
Hardwood mulch works well to cool soil and prevent weeds. So does pine mulch, but it’s more fragrant and looks nicer.
A hardwood, compost, and charcoal mulch mix protects plants and is pretty. It has the added advantage of breaking down to add nutrients to the soil.
Decorative mulches such as the ones made from recycled tires can only be used indoors, because they don’t decompose. In fact, you can wash them out with water and re-use them