Caring for New Transplants

Shower your perennial transplants with water, fertilizers -- and a lot of attention!
5 Steps to Proper Caring:
Water 1. Water newly planted
perennials regularly to keep
the soil evenly moist, but not
soggy, for the first week after
planting.

1. No matter how carefully you have placed your perennials in your garden, these plants have nevertheless been uprooted during transplanting. They are in a state of shock, the degree to which is determined by the handling methods, and they will need some watchful care.

Clip Buds 2. Clip off any buds or flowers
on bare-root plants; this
precaution allows the plants to
direct their energy into
developing new roots.

2. Your new plants must get enough water or they will die. Because it is inevitable that some of the root hairs were damaged in the replanting process, the remaining ones have to work overtime until new growth occurs. This means that for a good week or more the new transplants must be gently watered and the ground kept moist but not swamped -- overwatering could drown a new plant.

Mulch 3. Mulch with 1 to 2 inches of
cocoa-bean hulls or other loose
material. Mulch retains
moisture and discourages weeds
from growing.

3. Never directly fertilize a newly planted perennials. Ideally, the plant should not need fertilizer in subsequent weeks because it has been placed in enriched garden soil, where the necessary nutrients are already in place and available to the plant once the root hairs start to grow.

Shade Perennials 4. In hot weather, shade the
plants with floating row covers
for the first few days after
planting to ease their
transition into the garden.

4. If you are transplanting tall perennials, such as delphiniums, it's a good idea to stake them at the same time. Staking helps the stem of a tall plant support its flowers once they begin to bloom; done at transplanting time, staking creates a minimum of disturbance for young plants.

Topdress 5. After the plants are
established, topdress with
compost or fertilize lightly.
Mature plants also benefit from
mid-season topdressing.

5. Check your transplants for signs of new foliage. This indicates that you have planted correctly and that your new perennial is surviving nicely in your garden.