How to Transplant Potted Plants

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Transplanting potted plants is enjoyable for a gardener and healthy for a plant. Most potted plants are moved from their pots into the outside soil during the spring to give them the best chance of survival in the warm, sunny weather. Many people choose to grow their plants in pots during the late winter months to give the plants a head start so they will be more mature in the spring when they will be transplanted outside. Other plants just outgrow their pots and need to be outside to continue growing to their full height.

  • Select a spot for the potted plant. Make sure the spot that is selected will get plenty of sunshine.

  • Use a shovel to dig a hole for your plant. The hole should be about twice as wide and a little deeper than the pot your plant is currently in to give it plenty of room to expand.

  • Remove the root-ball from the pot and do not shake the soil from the roots. Do this by turning the pot upside down and letting the plant fall out. If needed, tap on the bottom of the pot to loosen the soil. Pulling the plant out of the pot by its stem could easily kill it. Keeping the root-ball intact will help reduce the stress put on the plant during the moving process.

  • Trim and straighten the roots to help the plant establish itself better in the new soil. Cut off the roots that have matted on the bottom of the pot and try to straighten the larger roots that may have curled due to the growth limitations imposed on them by the size of the pot.

  • Create a mound in the bottom of the hole so that the plant's crown, where the roots meet the stem, is even with the soil. Place the root-ball in the hole and cover with soil. Watering the plant will help the soil settle around it; at this point, you can add more soil to even out the ground if needed.

  • Add 2 to 3 inches of mulch around the plant and give it plenty of water for two to three weeks to allow the roots to become grounded in the new soil.

Tips & Warnings

  • To remove the plant from a pot more easily, water the plant a few hours earlier to soften the soil.

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