Transplanting potted plants properly is simple and makes a world of difference. The first step is, of course, choosing only the best plants or growing your own from seed. Once that’s done and plants are ready to move outdoors, use the guide below for proper transplanting.
Prepare a space.
Mark optimum, well spaced locations for the potted plants you are transplanting with craft sticks or other markers. Be sure to consult the plant label to see that they are properly spaced. Dig holes slightly wider than the potted plants you are transplanting. Keep the dirt from the holes in a bucket or off to one side.
Soak the plants.
Have a bucket of water ready when transplanting potted plants. Before removing each plant from the pot, dunk them into the bucket of water. This makes it easier to remove the plant from the pot. It also gives the newly planted seedling a little extra water to grow on.
Invert the potted plant and let it slide from the container. Place fingers over the top of the pot to keep the plant from falling to the ground. Tap gently on the bottom to loosen stubborn plants. Avoid pulling on the stems or leaves while transplanting.
Check the roots.
If the roots of the plant have become dense and compacted you’ll need to take another transplanting step. Use fingers to gently separate the roots at the bottom of the potted plant. Take care not to pull hard or tear the outer roots.
Plant should be centered and ground level
Center the prepared plant in the prepared hole. Be sure that the top of the soil surrounding the plant is level with the ground. Dig the hole deeper if needed. Add dirt if it is too deep. Now center the plant again in the hole and spread any loosened roots out to the side.
Note: Tomatoes are an exception to the “level with the ground” rule as they must be buried deeply to root deeply.
Pack it in and finish it off
Fill the remaining space around the plant with dirt and pack it in gently. Water the plant. Add fertilizer if recommended. Cover the soil around the plant with mulch to keep away weeds. Be sure the mulch does not touch the stem of the plant.
Note: These same steps may be used when moving plants to larger indoor pots.