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How to Transplant Your Plants

Updated on April 30, 2013
tips and tricks for transplanting
tips and tricks for transplanting | Source

What is Transplanting?

Transplanting is when you move a plant from one place to the other. There are many reasons why you might need or want to transplant your plants. Perhaps you feel they are getting too big for their pot, or you have seedlings that you want to transfer from a container to a bigger pot or to the outdoors. It’s also a good idea to transplant for optimal health: changing the soil in your potted plants every now benefits from fresh nutrients. Whatever the reason, transplanting a plant is very easy to do, and if done correctly it can simply be another step in the life of your plant.

Hardening Off

If you have been growing your plants indoors and want to move them to the outdoors, gardeners practice something called “hardening off”.

What it means is that basically you get your plants ready for life outside by adjusting the conditions from indoor living to outdoor living. It’s a good idea to prepare your plants for the change in environment by exposing them to the conditions that they will experience once they are living outdoors. In order to do this you will need to gradually introduce them to outdoor conditions. You can start “hardening off” your plants, two weeks before you plan on transplanting them. Stop feeding them and cut back on their water. You can also put them outside for several hours a day, until gradually they have acclimated to outdoor conditions. Give them exposure to sunlight slowly, start with an hour a day, then work it up to several hours. Gradually build up their resistance to the outdoor environment.

Of course if you only want to transfer your plants from one pot to another and there won’t be any change in environmental conditions, you can skip the hardening off process.

The Right Weather Conditions for Transplanting

It might not be obvious, but weather conditions play a huge part in a successful transplantation. Plants are very sensitive to their environment, and there are a few factors that will help or hinder a successful move. Uprooting a plant and putting it in a new environment can be very stressful and your plant can die, so whenever possible it’s best to move your plant in the best of conditions.

If you are going to transplant plants into an outside garden, the best weather for transplanting them is when it isn’t too warm. A cloudy day is preferred over a sunny day. The hot sun beating down on a recently transplanted plant can cause the plant to wilt and die. Try to avoid windy days, or days with severe weather.

When is the Best Time of Day to Transplant Plants?

The best time of day to transplant, is when the sun is at it’s weakest. This means that the best time to transplant is in the late afternoon or evening, when the sun is going down. Try to avoid the hot sun at all costs, but if you must move your plants in midday, at least make sure that you are working in the shade and out of direct sunlight. Another added benefit of transplanting in the evening is that your plants will have the entire night to recuperate from their stressful move, without having the hot sun beating down on them

How to Transplant Your Plants

When transplanting plants, it’s beneficial to plan ahead. Decide on a day to transplant them, and then, 1 or 2 days before the move, make sure you start giving your plants plenty of water. This ensures that they will be fully hydrated, and giving your plant plenty of water before the big move will help prevent the shock of transplantation.

In order to transplant a potted plant, you must first loosen the soil in the potted plant. You can do this with a trowel or with any other utensil (I have used a butter knife in the past). Once you have loosened the soil, carefully place your hand into the potted plant and gently grab hold of the soil and root combination. Now that you have the plant in your grip and it’s willing and able to be freed, pull it out of the pot and place it into a pre-dug hole in the ground. Once you have finished that, place new potting or topsoil in and around the roots of the plant and pack down firmly.

Things to Remember When Transplanting

  • Avoid direct sun
  • Transplant in the evening if possible
  • Give your plants lots of water before a move and after a move
  • Practice “Hardening off” techniques

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    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 3 years ago from India

      Good advice and useful tips.

      Some of these points we tend to overlook while transplanting a plant.

      Voted up useful

    • wilderness profile image

      Dan Harmon 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Useful! This weekend we have planned to buy a few flowers and will be transplanting them to the flower bed next week. Perfect timing - thanks!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very useful and I needed this. I see PS and Mary stopped by as well. You are keeping good company if those two Hubbers follow you. :)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Well done my friend! You've given some very useful tips and think that many will be able to learn from them. Transplanting is a delicate area and your tips on "hardening off" are certainly good ones.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Transplanting can be tricky depending on the plants involved. thanks for sharing this. I am sure that many will find this helpful. Knowing what to do will save many plants from an untimely demise.

      Angels are on the way to you today :) ps

    • Sheri Faye profile image

      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Good advice! I love to garden and have transplanted many plants, and you nailed it on the head with this one.