How to Transplant a Plant
Transplanting is an important part of plant care. Whether you need to move the plant into a bigger pot or outdoors, it is important that you do it right. How you take care of the plant before transplanting is just as important as how you take care of it afterwards. The process itself is simple, but there is a trick to getting it done right; if you don’t do it correctly, you could kill your plant.
To transplant a plant to a bigger pot, start by watering the plant to make removal easier. Cover the new pot’s drainage hole and fill it halfway with soil. Then, gently place the plant in the new pot. Once you’ve filled the rest of the pot with soil, water the plant and place it in the sun. If you are moving it outside, limit watering it and stop fertilizing it for 2 weeks. After 1 week, move the plant outside for a little bit every day. Lastly, put the plant in the soil outside and water it to help it grow. To learn more about transplanting plants, like how to remove the root ball, keep reading!
Water the plant a few hours before you transplant it. The time of the year does not matter much since you will be keeping the plant indoors. What does matter, however, is the soil. Water the plant thoroughly, then wait 1 hour; this will dampen the soil and make it easier to remove the root ball.
- If you are transplanting a seedling, wait until it forms a pair of true leaves. True leaves are hardier than the delicate leaves you see at first.
- You want to cover the drainage hole so that the soil doesn’t fall out. The water will still be able to come out.
- If the new pot doesn’t have a drainage hole, fill the pot with 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5.1 cm) of gravel.
Fill the new pot with a few inches/centimeters of potting soil. Use enough potting soil so that if you were to set the root ball into the pot, the top of the root ball would sit 1 inch (2.5 cm) below the pot’s rim. Do not use gardening soil.
- Gardening soil often contains insects, diseases, and fungi. Your plant is not used to these, and it can get sick or die as a result.
- For the healthiest, happiest plant, look for soil that contains equal parts of rich loam, sand/perlite, and organic matter.
- If you are transplanting a seedling, fill the pot to within 1 inch (2.5 cm) of the rim. Dampen the soil with warm water and wait 1 hour.
- Do not grab the plant by the stem and pull it out. Break the pot instead as a last resort.
- If you are transplanting a seedling, use a spoon to carefully dig the seedling out. Hold it by a leaf, never by the stem.
- If you can’t loosen the root ball, use a sharp, clean knife to slice into the sides of the root ball; make the slices 1⁄8 to 1⁄8 inch (0.32 to 0.32 cm) deep.
- Be sure to cut away any dead or rotten roots with sharp, clean scissors.
- If you are working with a seedling, poke a hole into the soil, then tuck the seedling inside. Pat the soil around the seedling.
Water the plant thoroughly. It would be even better if you added some water-soluble fertilizer into the water, but make sure that it’s the right kind for your plant. This will help the plant recover faster. Once you are done watering the plant, do not water it again until the top layer of soil is dry. If you are working with seedlings, keep the soil damp, but not soggy.
- If the pot has a drainage hole, keep watering until water comes out of the hole. If the plant does not have a drainage hole, use your best judgement.
- If the plants start to wilt, mist them with water, then cover them with plastic wrap. Keep them in a cool area, away from direct sunlight for 1 to 2 days.
- If you notice the roots poking out of the drainage hole, it’s time for a new pot!