Transplanting is an important part of gardening that gives plants the space they need to grow. Learn how to transplant successfully with these simple tips.

Moving a seedling or grown plant to a new place is called transplanting. It can be planting a potted plant in the garden or moving a plant from one place in the garden to another. Before you move seedlings outside, though, you need to harden them off, which means getting them used to being outside in bright light, colder weather, and wind. You do this by putting the plants out for a little bit each day, starting in a shady spot. Why start in the shade?

Because Plants Get Sunburned, Too

When spring comes and I spend more time in my garden, I have to wear sunscreen or I get a sunburn. Plants can get sunburned, too, especially ones that have been indoors, where the light is not as strong. Often the nice green tomato plants I start in the house sunburn quickly. Even plants that like a lot of light need to start off in a shady spot so that they can get used to it. How do you know if your plant is sunburned? You won’t notice it right away, but after a day or two, the leaves get whitish splotches on them.

Gardening Vocabulary: Learn Some New Terms!

HARDEN OFF. The way you get a plant used to being outside in bright light, colder weather, and wind. You do this by putting the plants out for a little bit each day, starting in a shady spot.

TRANSPLANT. To move a plant. It can be from one pot to a bigger pot, or from a pot into the garden. It can also mean to move a plant from one place in the garden to another.

Here are some transplanting tips:

Dig a good hole.

girl digs a hole for transplanting in a raised garden bed

Photo © Kim Lowe, excerpted from Gardening with Emma

Loosen the soil and dig a hole about the same depth as the pot, but a bit bigger all around to give the roots room to grow.

Pop out the plant.

girl loosening pot from base of plant for transplanting

Photo © Kim Lowe, excerpted from Gardening with Emma

Before you pull your plant out of the pot, bang the pot gently on the ground or run an old butter knife around the inside to loosen the roots. You don’t want to pull out the plant and leave most of the roots behind!

girl removes pot from base of plant for transplanting

Photo © Kim Lowe, excerpted from Gardening with Emma

Fill in the hole.

girl filling dirt in around transplanted plant

Photo © Kim Lowe, excerpted from Gardening with Emma

Put the plant in the hole and fill in around it with dirt. Press the soil down, but not too hard — you don’t want to damage the roots.

Water a lot.

Newly planted seedlings and plants need extra water, so don’t forget them after the first couple of times.

Text excerpted from Gardening with Emma © 2018 by Steven Biggs. All rights reserved.

Emma Biggs

Emma Biggs is the coauthor, with her father Steven Biggs, of Gardening with Emma. A 13-year-old with a passion for gardening, she shares kid-focused gardening… See Bio

Steven Biggs

Steven Biggs is the coauthor, with his daughter Emma Biggs, of Gardening with Emma. Biggs is a writer specializing in gardening, farming, and food production,… See Bio

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Gardening with Emma

by Emma Biggs and Steven Biggs

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