Transplanting: It’s Not Dead Until It’s Dead

Plants that have been transplanted often go into shock when they are transplanted. Plants that look healthy and happy will probably look like they are at death’s door once they are transplanted. It can take time…sometimes weeks or even months…for a plant to recover.

These begonias were perky and blooming in their original spot. Once they were transplanted, they laid down and looked like they were dead. I kept watering them….they looked worse and worse….and watering them…and let the plants die back naturally…and watering them…until suddenly, tiny new leaves appeared. Now the new plants have taken root and are growing strong!

Here’s the transplanting process used in the Reclaimed Garden.

  1. Transplant plants as quickly as you can so they don’t dry out and  to minimize wilting.
  2. Dig a hole bigger than the root ball and mix in some compost, decomposed leaves, good dirt into the hole.
  3. Place the plant in the hole so the original dirt-line is about 1-inch below ground level.
  4. Gently pack soil around the root ball so that it’s level with the plant’s dirt line…so you’ve created a a bowl around the plant.
  5. Lay a hose in the bowl and let water trickle into the bowl for a couple hours so the souk is saturated. The slower the water runs, the better. It’s fine if you make a mud puddle.
  6. Most people would probably apply root stimulator at this point…I bought it, but usually forgot to use it. When I did use it (following directions of the package), the shrubs usually died, for real.
  7. Water this way  daily or every other day if the plant
  8. Avoid cutting back any of the plant until it has recovered from the transplant and you see new leaves appear.
  9. Once the new growth appears, that’s the time to trim off any parts of the plant that have died back.