How to Transplant a Plant

Starting an indoor vegetable garden has many benefits, but when the time comes to transplant plants outdoors, things can get tricky. When plants are kept inside for a period of time, or if you start growing plants from seedlings indoors, they become acclimated to those conditions, which can put them into shock or even kill them when transplanted to new surroundings.


The key to keeping plants alive is helping them adjust to a new environment, fluctuating temperatures and a variance of outdoor conditions. Consider these tips for transplanting plants, so you can enjoy a flourishing growing season:

  • Research the plants you're growing indoors so you are aware of the types of conditions they can handle and what stage in growth they need to be in to adapt to a new environment.
  • Use a plant's original soil when transplanting to a new location. This will help ease the shock to the plant's roots, allowing them to slowly adjust to the new nutrients and soil composition.
  • For more extreme conditions, like temperature or sunlight, determine a schedule that will allow plants to adjust gradually. This may mean setting plants outside for a specific period of time to get them used to the weather, or placing them outside at a certain point during the day so they can become comfortable in direct sunlight.
  • Anytime you're removing a plant from a pot or container, be extremely cautious of its roots. Damage to the roots can inhibit growth and make it more difficult for the plant to adjust to its new surroundings. Biodegradable seedling pots are great to use, as they eliminate the need to remove the plant from a container and allow you to place the pot directly in the ground. However, if you are transplanting plants from a container into the ground, use a trowel to dig around the plant, being mindful of the roots, and gently turn the container on its side or upside down for easy removal.
  • Dig holes ahead of time to help you map out your garden and identify spacing of plants. Since some plants need more room to grow and others do better with companion planting, it's important to make sure your garden is properly laid out based on each plant's needs.