5 Simple Steps To Help Transplants Thrive


Transplanting New Plants Or Divisions?

Sometimes it is necessary to dig up plants that would otherwise be lost, or that are unhappy where they are growing. Perennials must regularly be lifted and divided and then transplanted.

The method is quite straightforward, and there are only a small number of things to ensure success.

I am taking for granted that you know the sun and soil requirements for your plant, and just need to move it to another place.
If not, check those.

1 Remember the roots are important. When removing the plant from where it has been growing, be sure to dig deeply enough to get all of the plant’s roots. Avoid breaking or losing too many of them. This is why garden forks are very helpful in preparing a plant for moving. Remove weed roots.

2 Fine root hairs are vital for a healthy start. So lift the plant gently attempting to keep as much of the soil, along with the roots, together in a soil ball.

3 Moisture is important during the process. Keep plant roots moist (not soggy wet) while transplant is waiting to be planted. If you have “bare-root” plants to transplant, wrap them in damp newspaper if there must been a delay, or if the day’s weather is windy.

4 In the prepared soil, arrange the roots to radiate in a circle around the crown of the plant. This allows them to grow into surrounding soil without crossing or being cramped. Fill in with good soil, tamp down firmly and “mud in”. That is, water until muddy to eliminate air pockets.

5 When watering you can use some mild transplant fertilizer, and perhaps dress with a little mulch. Keep the plant watered regularly to keep moist while its new roots establish. Moist, but not soggy.

If you follow these 5 steps, your transplants will be more likely to thrive, rooting down quickly and strongly. Don’t be discouraged if the plants seem slow to gain size or to flower; some plants are slow to “settle in”, which is part of their nature and to be expected. I noticed this with peonies, hostas, and hellebores, in particular.

For more on transplanting, this time for plants that you buy in cell packs by the flat… How To Plant Those Annuals.


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I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of "Ilona's Reflecting Pool". Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. The work on "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.