Garden Advice

How to Transplant Plants Properly

Plants need our tender loving care to thrive, and making sure they are growing in the right spot is crucial to their wellbeing. That is why transplanting plants is an important part of their care routine. Whether your green babies need transplanting often or can deal with being in the same spot for longer, it’s essential to know the right replanting method. So, in this guide, we will go over how to transplant plants the right way. Let’s get right to it!

Table of Contents:

So, if you:

  • Are interested in gardening and houseplants;
  • Want to know what transplanting is;
  • Are looking for the proper way to do it,

Then read on! This post is just for you.

What is transplanting?

Transplanting, sometimes called replanting, is essentially moving a plant from one location to another. This includes moving garden plants to a more suitable spot, moving seedlings or established plants from a pot to your garden, or placing potted plants into a larger container.

Sometimes, you may find that your plants don’t thrive in the soil they’re in, and you need to change this by either improving the soil or by transplanting your little pretties. On that note, uprooting your plant and moving it to a better spot in your garden may be called for not only because of its needs for more suitable soil conditions but also because of the specific number of light/shade hours per day it requires.

Furthermore, there are some plant varieties, like peonies, that need to be transplanted and divided in order to thrive. This way, not only do you ensure the happiness of your flowers, but you’re also getting even more of them! We’d call this a win-win situation!

Some plants need to be transplanted once a year, while others can do with being replanted less often, once every 2-3 years. Whatever the case, researching your specific plant species and its requirements is essential.

Why transplant plants?

There are many reasons why transplanting plants is needed. Here, we have listed the most common reasons. Take a look!

  • If your potted plants have outgrown their containers, then replanting them into larger ones is necessary.
  • If your garden plants aren’t thriving in the spot they’re in, transplanting is also called for. You may need to move them to a shadier place, one that provides more sun, or better soil.
  • If you’re growing seedlings indoors and need to move them to their final location, transplanting is in order. It’s a lot easier to start seeds indoors and then replant them outside.
  • When you buy plants from a nursery or garden centre, you’ll need to replant them in their final spot or pot.
  • With transplanting, there is less chance for weeds to take over, as there is an already established root system present.

However, keep in mind that not all plants deal with transplanting well. Some root vegetables, such as carrots, don’t like to be transplanted at all, as it can severely damage them.

There is also the possibility of transplant shock in anything you replant, but there are steps you can take to minimise the risk of it happening. We will talk more about this issue later on.

When to transplant plants

Without a doubt, the best time to transplant plants is in early spring or late autumn.

Summer is not a suitable time to replant, as it’s way too hot and the plants are focused on growing and producing, rather than establishing their roots.

For blossoming plants, transplant them before or after flowering, as there is less chance of success if you do it during the blooming process.

The best time of day to transplant plants is early in the morning, or in the late afternoon when it’s not too hot and the plants won’t be exposed to the scorching midday sun. Another option is to do it on a cloudy day.

For more year-round gardening tips, check out our monthly gardening calendar!

How to transplant plants

Now that you know what transplanting plants is and when you should do it, it’s time to learn how to perform it properly. There is a slight difference between transplanting outdoor and indoor plants, so we’ll go over both of these scenarios today. Here we go!

Transplanting garden plants

Replanting outdoor plants is not difficult and, with the right tools and know-how, you can get it done in no time! Here is what you need to do.

If you are moving plants from indoors to your garden, they’ll need a bit of time to acclimatise to the conditions outside. This is referred to as hardening. Let your plants sit outside in their pots for a couple of days before transplanting.

  1. Water.

    You need to water your plants the day before you replant them so that the roots are moist.

  2. Dig.

    The next day, dig a hole in the ground no deeper than the depth of the root ball.

  3. Take out the plant.

    Carefully dig out the plant and its roots, or, if transplanting it from a pot to your garden, place your hand on the soil, turn it upside down and gently tap it out of its container.

  4. Place the plant in its spot and fill.

    Put the plant in the hole you dug and fill around it with soil. The top of the root ball should sit just above ground level, as it will sink slightly as the soil settles.

  5. Press down the soil.

    Gently press down on the soil with your hands to help it settle.

  6. Water again.

    Water the plant thoroughly, but without drenching the soil. Use a watering can or a garden hose with a spray nozzle adjusted to a gentle setting, as stronger streams can uproot the plant.

And there we go! Keep an eye on your transplanted plants for the next few days to check if they need water or if they’re showing signs of transplant shock.

Transplanting potted plants

When transplanting plants in pots, the method is very similar. The main difference, really, is that there is no digging involved. So, let’s get right to it! Here is how to transplant potted plants.

  1. Water.
    As with outdoor replanting, water your plant the day before.
  2. Prepare your materials.
    Get your plant, your new container, soil, and tools ready. To make cleaning up more manageable, you can place newspapers over the surface where you’ll be working.
  3. Fill the pot.
    Add a bit of soil to the new pot, enough to elevate the plant to the desired height.
  4. Take out the plant.
    Gently tap the plant out of its container.
  5. Place the plant in the new pot.
    Put the plant into the new container and fill around the root ball with soil, using a hand trowel to make it easier.
  6. Press down.
    Gently press down on the soil with your hands to settle it.
  7. Water again.
    Thoroughly water your plant until about 10% of the water flows through the drainage holes. Put it back in its saucer and empty any water if it collects on the bottom, as you shouldn’t leave plants sitting in standing water.

And you’re done! As with garden transplanting, keep an eye on your plants to see if they’re showing signs of stress.

And, speaking of stressed plants…

Transplant shock in plants

All plants are at risk of transplant shock when being replanted. But what exactly is it?

Transplanted plants can suffer from stress, also called transplant shock, and as a result, can grow dormant or stunted, or even die in severe cases.

There are many reasons for transplant shock. The roots of the plant may not take hold, and there may be a lack of water or a pest infestation. Another cause for your plants not taking off as they should after transplanting them is the inadvertent damage you may have done to its roots during the process of dividing the clump or when trying to remove a plant that has “badly” overgrown its pot.

Some types of plants, especially some self-seeders, are just not that fond of transplanting. Before you start, check whether your green babies usually take well to transplanting and do what you can to make the process more comfortable.

In any case, the best way to treat transplant shock is to prevent it in the first place. So, protecting your newly replanted green babies during and after transplanting them is a must.

A sure sign of transplant shock in plants is wilting. It can signify the plant not getting enough water, or the roots not taking hold. You can usually fix this issue with consistent watering.

Trimming the plant back can sometimes fix transplant shock, as it encourages the roots to grow stronger. However, take care not to over-prune the plant, as this can stunt its growth.

Do you need help with planting or transplanting?

If you’re not sure you can handle this task yourself, don’t worry! The expert gardeners at Fantastic Services are here to help! The professionals we work with offer a planting service that is sure to transform your green space. We can provide you with the plants and containers you require, plant them for you and come up with an impressive design that is sure to make your garden a sight to see. So, what are you waiting for? Book your landscaping survey today using our simple online form and choose a date and time that suit your schedule!

Need a Gardener?

Find a professional to take care of your plants.

Add a valid postcode e.g. SE1 2TH
  • We're certified:


  • Transplanting is the act of moving a plant from one location to another.
  • Not all plants can be transplanted successfully.
  • The best time to transplant plants is in spring and autumn, as well as early in the morning or the late afternoon.
  • When transplanting, the root ball should remain as intact as possible.
  • All plants are at risk of suffering from transplant shock, but you can easily avoid this with proper care and protection.


Did you find this article useful? Do you have any tips of your own on transplanting plants? Let us know down in the comments!

Image source: Shutterstock / IgorAleks

5 3 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x