Basic Gardening - Transplanting Potted Plants Into The Garden


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When you bring new plants home from the nursery or receive them via mail-order, it is very important to unpack them immediately. Damaged leaves or branches should be clipped off. Place the plant in a protected, shady location and water thoroughly. Water should seep from the drain holes in the pot and the plant should feel “heavier” after watering. It is a good idea to wait 24 hours before planting to allow the plants to fully hydrate and adjust to their new environment.

Once you have decided where a plant belongs in your garden, dig a hole at least twice as big as the size of the pot. For larger planting, it may be more efficient to till or turn a portion of the bed. You may want to mix compost or potting soil with your native soil to improve root growth. Place enough of the mixture back in the bottom of the hole and tamp it lightly so the new plant will not be potted too deeply.

Gently remove the plant from its pot. It may help to tap down lightly on the top rim of the pot or squeeze its sides.

Place the plant in the prepared hole. Add or remove soil mixture under the root ball to insure that the top of the root ball soil is at the same level as the surrounding soil. Planting too deep can kill the plant!

Once you have determined the plant's original soil level is level with its surrounding ground level you can begin back filling around the plant. Work your soil mixture in firmly with your fingers between the root ball and the surrounding hole until you have reached existing ground level.

Finish the planting by applying a 2”- 4” inch layer of mulch extending the mulch a foot or more in all directions. Good mulch choices include shredded bark, pine straw, or even stones. Mulch will shield the roots from the hot sun, help retain moisture, and discourage weed growth.

After planting immediately water thoroughly and at least weekly until the plants become established. If leaves show signs of wilting, but the soil is moist, you can mist the foliage lightly. Fertilize 2-4 weeks after planting.

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