by Elliott Killian
Many gardeners struggle with dead plants after they have been transplanted. Transplanting is useful if you want: to store a plant inside for the winter, move a plant to another location outside, or place a plant into a larger pot.
Pro tip: To get an early start for the growing season you can start sprouting indoors then move them outside.
The size of a plant is limited by the space they can grow in. When a plant outgrows their pot they may not get bigger. If you want to grow a large plant then if may require transplanting it into a larger nursing environment.
The biggest problem for plants when transplanting is keeping water. When transplanting, the plant’s roots are wounded reducing the amount of water that can be absorbed. That’s why keeping the roots intact and well watered while transplanting is critical. Here is how to transplant a plant in a healthy way. This process should take 15-20 minutes.
You may need the following Tools:
• Hand Shovel is convenient to have if you don’t want to use your hand.
• Gloves are helpful if you are a person who does not like touching soil, especially wet soil.
• Scissors to open a bag of soil or cut newspaper. You may not need
• Rain Gauge. You can monitor the amount of water your plant gets when it rains with a Rain Gauge. This can tell you if you should water or not.
You will need the following Materials:
• Potting or Top Soil. Commercial potting soil comes with nutrients for the plant like magnesium, which is found in small amounts naturally. Top soil can also be used.
• Newspaper or unwanted scrap paper to prevent soil from falling out of the pot by the drainage hole. Other paper can be used instead of a newspaper but there has to be enough to cover the bottom of the pot.
• Pot with drainage hole on the bottom
• Water Faucet or Container. Water faucets or watering can give you more control than a hose.
• Pot dish. A dish under the pot will prevent water from spilling from the bottom of the pot. This is especially recommended for pots that are inside.
- Pick the right size pot
- Preparing a Pot
- Transplanting a plant to a pot
- Post-transplant care
Pick the right size pot:
Circumference- The right size pot is important; you want to pick a pot that is at least one and a quarter times bigger in diameter than the plant’s current pot or at least one and quarter times in diameter as the plant’s root system in the soil. For example, if the plant is fully grown in a 2-inch or 5cm pot then a 2.5-inch or 6.25 cm pot would be needed for transplant.
Depth- The depth of the pot is more important than the circumference. The pot should be around half of the current plant’s height and be deeper than the current pot. Three-fourths of the current plant’s height is ideal.
Now that you have picked the correct pot here is how to prepare it.
Place at least two layers of newspaper on the bottom of the pot. Take a handful of soil and place in the pot to test that the paper will prevent the soil from escaping.
Add enough soil that the pot is filled a little more than half way.
Dampen the soil. Add water a little bit at a time, and mix the soil. The texture should be like oatmeal on the box. No soil should be completely dry, but not like a soup.
You have added too much water if water is coming out of the bottom of the drainage hole. If there is too much water, pour the water out while keeping the soil from spilling, and add a small handful of dry soil.
Transplanting a plant to a pot
We will now prepare the plant to be moved.
Directions will differ if the plant is being moved from the ground or from a pot. Handle the plant by the stem. It is less likely to injure the roots, which absorb water.
Plant from a Pot
If the plant you are transplanting is already growing in a pot then take the pot with the plant, and place two fingers on each side of the stem. The stem should touch your hand’s webbing. Gently scissor the plant with your hands. This is just to hold the plant in place and prevent it from moving. Other parts of your hand should be touching the top of the pot.
With your other hand hold the pot’s side like you would a cup and flip the pot upside down so that your hand that is touching the plant is now on the bottom upside down.
Separate the pot from the plant by gently lifting the pot off of your hand.
If the pot does not come off right away gently shake the pot until the plant is separated. If the plant has been in the pot a long time it will have confirmed its root system to the pot, this makes it easier to remove since the soil and plant will be one unit.
Water the plant again slowly until water is dripping from the bottom.
You are now finished with transplanting a plant. Now that you have transplanted a plant here is how to care for it.
Water your plant the day after the soil has become completely dry.
You can test the dryness of the soil by putting your index finger into the soil. You only need to put the first half of your index finger into the soil. If the soil is dry and not wet at that depth then it is time to water. As a general time frame, this should be about every 2-3 days. Make sure you watch you don’t add too much water as the pot dish will overflow and water will end up on your floor. Watering plants that are outside are not necessary if it has rained 15cms in a week or if your finger says its ok.
Trimming encourages horizontal growth and keeps the plant small vertically. Only trim grasses or branches of broadleaf flowers. For grasses, the top or leaves can be trimmed. For broadleaf, flowers trim the longest branch. When trimming makes only one cut and only trim again when another branch or leaf has grown from where you made the last cut. If you cut a broad leaf plant that does not have any branches then you may have just killed the plant.
Hopefully, this article has made sure that you did not kill any of your plants. Transplanting is: pick the right size pot, preparing a Pot, transplanting a plant to a pot, and post-transplant care like watering and trimming. Now go and do some planting.