Keys to Successful Transplanting

By Anja Lowrence, Master Gardener, SCMG

Have you ever gone to the garden center & purchased a boat load of plants for your home, only to lose a few after transplanting? Would you like to have a more successful future?

Why don’t you try the following this year?

Be sure that the site you’ve chosen provides the plant with the light requirements it most desires.

  • Dig your hole about the size of the pot (just see if the pot fits the hole!). Now increase the hole by 1/3 to give it some “breathing room”.
  • Add any amendments you desire (compost, Myke, crushed eggshells, etc) and fill the hole with water from your rain barrel (hopefully).

Now un-pot your plant, being sure that the potting soil in the entire pot is wet by sitting it in a pail of said water.

If root-bound, press on the sides all around, maybe even cut the pot. Tease the roots apart, even cut them if they are really swirling around the inside of the pot.

  • Place your plant in your hole, wiggling it around to help the soil from the pot & the soil from your garden mix it up a bit, getting cozy.
  • Add the remaining soil and tamp it down to anchor the roots.  Slowly wash down with water.

Mulch around but not to the crown of the plant. This helps keeping the soil moist, reduces soil temperature fluctuations & keep weeds down (a bit, but not totally).


  • Water once a day for a week,
  • Once a week for a month,
  • Once a month for a year.

Heavily each time to encourage the roots to grow deep & be more drought hardy.

Happy Summer!