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How To Transplant Perennial Plants To Create A Whole New Garden!

Updated on November 10, 2014
SheilaSchnauzies profile image

SheilaSchnauzies is a Miniature Schnauzer rescuer, writer, crochet designer, gardener, crafter, wife, mom & friend living in Omaha, NE.

Have A Stuffed Garden? It's Time To Start A New One By Transplanting!

Yesterday I was looking at one of my perennial plant beds in the backyard, and noticed that our recent rains have made all the plants go crazy! They are overcrowding one another and you can't "see the forest for the trees!"

To me that only means one thing it's time to build a new garden!

I have a wonderful shady bed about 20 feet long that is under a stand of trees. It's just waiting to become a hosta bed! I also have a little garden spot out back under my dining room window that needs to be filled with plants.

In this lens, I'll show you my process and tips for successfully planting a new garden! And by the way, you can use these same procedures for new plants you buy! Pictured here is the garden I'll demonstrate with. It's pretty "stuffed," as you can see! Ladybug the Miniature Schnauzer agrees.

Selectively removing plants from an overfilled garden does four things: 1) It allows the remaining plants more room to grow and be healthier; and 2) It drastically improves the appearance of your garden; 3) It gives you plants to use in a whole new garden; and 4) If you don't want a whole new garden, why not have a little neighborhood plant sale and sell your plants for that always welcome cash! (In the example garden I'll share here, I removed 107 Strawberry plants and over 200 individual Peppermint plants!, either of which I could easily sell for $2 - $3 apiece!)

So put on those gloves, grab that little shovel, (I'll show you were to get mine, here in this lens!) and let's get to transplanting!

What You Will Need To Be Prepared

1) Large containers with carry handles such as Rubbermaid totes, old postal totes, or even a little red wagon like mine, filled with water about halfway up.

When I started removing the strawberry and mint plants from the flowerbed, I had no idea I would end up with over 300 plants needing temporary shelter! So make sure you have more storage containers than you think you need!

2) A shady place for your transport container(s) to sit until you are ready to replant the transplants.

3) A little shovel (I'll share my favorite here!)

4) Gloves, for safety

5) A sun hat

6) Your favorite beverage!

Solarrific G3033 Floating Solar Fountain for Bird Bath
Solarrific G3033 Floating Solar Fountain for Bird Bath

This is something on my buy list for this month! It's a wonderful way to add interest to your plain birdbath, and the birds love moving water!


The Before Garden...

This little 6 X 8 foot garden is stuffed with a whole lot of Strawberry and Peppermint plants that have gone crazy multiplying over the past three years since it was planted! The strawberries are all in the shade of the taller plants, giving them about zero chance of producing strawberries! They need sun to do that. This garden needs HELP! Ladybug Schnauzer offers her assistance...

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Give Your Plants A Chance...

You'll have your best success transplanting on a cooler, overcast day or evening. I don't recommend transplanting when it's over 90 degrees outside. It's a lot of extra stress on the plants coping with the heat on top of being moved.

The After Picture!

Hard to believe it's the same garden! The Lilies, Peonies, Rose bush, and other perennial plants have much more room to do their thing. There's even room to tuck in a new perennial or two!

Why Shade?

If you want your transplants to survive the move, it's crucial to keep them sheltered from the sun until you're ready to plant them. The sun will do a lot of damage to the plants. That's why it's so much easier if you use a cart or wagon or portable containers. You can move the plants to the shade.

Koolscape Solar Cascading Fountain Kit
Koolscape Solar Cascading Fountain Kit

I own a very similar fountain and just love it! This will run anytime there is direct sunshine on it.


For Best Success...

Your plants' roots should never be exposed to air for more than a few seconds. I carry my water filled container around with me. When I pop a plant out of the ground, the roots go straight into the water.

Smart Solar Ceramic Frog Fountain (Green)
Smart Solar Ceramic Frog Fountain (Green)

It IS easy to be green, with this pretty fountain! If you love frogs, this one's for you!


Another Blank Canvas... With The Strawberries As Anchor

I was trying to figure out where I would put 107 Strawberry plants last weekend. My friend Heidi was here to help me replant them. Trouble was, I couldn't put them anywhere in the back yard where I really wanted them, because I have three dogs. I don't really want them watering my strawberries! Heidi came up with the brilliant solution: Go up!

We set out on a shopping adventure hoping to find used hanging baskets at a garden center, which we could anchor around the wood fence. But when I spied this cute hummingbird planter pole at one of the garden shops, my search was over. I picked up four large hanging baskets with coconut mesh inserts, a huge bag of potting soil, and we spent the afternoon planting about 80 of the strawberry plants into them. I think it turned out kind of cute! I'm undecided still whether I'm going to sell some of the plants, so this is the perfect solution for now. And if I don't sell them, they can stay right where they are all summer.

This winter, I'll set the baskets on the ground near the foundation of the house, cover them with straw and forget about them until next Spring. Then I can decide whether to thin them out and replant elsewhere, sell some, or whatever. Voila!

This is a space which was full of grass but was ruined by dogs and their antics. I've decided to fill it with rose bushes and other perennials, but that's another lens!

My Little Red Wagon Hard At Work! - My Biggest Garden Helper

My husband and I love garage sales! One recent weekend we pulled up to one and parked. I spied this brand-new appearing Radio Flyer wagon sitting there on the driveway, just waiting for me to take her home! Having lost my own little red wagon (a far rattier old rusty metal one) to old age a few years back, this was a dream come true!

I can even use the kiddie seat belts to hold large planters in place as I move them, if I want! Wow. I'm so happy!

The New Temporary Homes For My Strawberries!

The New Temporary Homes For My Strawberries!
The New Temporary Homes For My Strawberries!

It's Normal For Your Plants To Look Like This At First!

No matter how careful you are, a plant goes through trauma if its roots have been exposed to the air. The keys to recovery are careful replanting, LOTS of water on a daily basis for a few days, and shade.

If your plants still look a bit droopy after several days, look more closely to make sure a squirrel or big bird hasn't dug up around your plant. They do that!

An Area That Needs Planting...

Here is a totally empty area waiting to become a garden next to the house in back. It's kind of like a blank canvas!

Learn Transplanting On YouTube!

Need Inexpensive Plants? - Try These Ideas!

  1. Visit your local garden centers and check the clearance table! Many times the plants will look rather wilted and all they need is water and some TLC! This is especially true with very reliable and hardy plants like hosta. Yes, it's a bit of a gamble, but you could win big!
  2. Watch your paper or Craigslist for local nonprofit plant sales! You can pick up big perennial bargains at these events.
  3. Join an online forum such as GardenWeb. You can set up your own member page with plants or seeds you would like to receive, along with plants/seeds you have available to trade. Then find the particular forum of the type of plants that interest you, such as Perennials. Within that forum you'll find a separate Plant Exchange forum! I have been the beneficiary of many gorgeous plants over the years from members of GardenWeb, in exchange for plants I don't want. Check here on this page for the link to GardenWeb. You can even trade plants with me!

Please Say Hello In My Guestbook! - Nice to meet you!

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    • SheilaSchnauzies profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @JimHofman: Thanks so much! Go get 'em!!

    • JimHofman profile image


      5 years ago

      NIcely done! Now I'm inspired to divide and conquer our perennials.

    • lesliesinclair profile image


      5 years ago

      You are smart to transplant perennials when they get a squeeze on, and I enjoyed learning all you have to teach in this lens.

    • SheilaSchnauzies profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @Anthony Altorenna: Anthony... we should trade! Thanks for your nice comment.

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 

      5 years ago from Connecticut

      Great tips on transplanting perennials. Dividing large and overgrown plants provides lots of new (and free) plants, and helps to expand the garden on a budget. Some of my favorite perennials to divide and transplant are hostas and day lilies.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      A great lens on transplanting with lots of helpful ideas and tips - I'm spending this weekend gardening so I shall put some of them to use, thanks.


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