Transplant shock in plants is unavoidable – they weren’t designed to be moved from place-to-place. Whether you’re taking plants from a friend’s garden, dividing overgrown plants or just moving plants from one place to another, be sure to follow these tips to ensure your plants thrive in their new environment:
Avoid summer’s intense sunlight and unwavering heat – transplant in the spring or fall. Milder temperatures and more rainfall make it easier for a plant to get acclimated to its new home.
If you can, wait for an overcast day, preferably in the late afternoon. This will give the plant an evening to recoup before the sun comes back up. If you’re moving a plant that blooms in the spring, wait until the fall to move it and vice versa.
Bring as much of the roots as possible. The more roots that come with the plant, the less likely transplant shock will set in and the less recovery time the plant will need.
Unless the plant is root or pot bound, disturb the roots as little as possible. Don’t shake the dirt off or rough up the roots.
Prepare the plant’s new home. Dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball, but no deeper. You should also water the plant’s new hole before you place the plant in it.
Never leave the roots exposed to sun, heat or wind. It’s tempting to remove plants from their pots and place them where you want them to go, but roots will dehydrate quickly. Be careful to remove each plant just prior to planting.
Water thoroughly before and after transplanting. Water the plant the day before you plan to lift it, immediately before digging it up, and once again once the plant is in it’s new home.
Check the plant daily for the first couple of weeks and watch it carefully for the first year. It may need watering every day, if not more. If the plant is wilting, water it immediately. Sometimes a plant needs a few days to recover from transplant shock.