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  • Laurie Blake

What is transplant shock? How can I reduce transplant shock?

Updated: Jun 22





I’m going to chat about the potting plants we re-potted the other day. First off, plants are usually stressed coming out of most garden stores as they are typically over watered, under-watered, overfed, underfed, have algae growth preventing nutrients and water from reaching the plant, and aren’t getting proper light. Fair enough, they were mass-produced (see how a potting plant side hustle can be profitable?).


Another critical point to make is some plants can’t be transplanted and need to be seeded directly into your garden. I’ll do up information posts on the plants I have planted in the past and the plants I’m planting this year to share what I have learned. Plants will have some information on the seed packs or the placard in the pot. Follow these specific instructions and remember to check out companion plants when you place them in their new home.


What is Transplant Shock?


Plants are meant to stay in one place from the time they germinate until they die. We are the ones that move them around to suit our needs. I find that it usually takes plants about three days to recover from the shock of transplanting.

Plants want to stay in one place from the time they germinate until they die. We are the ones that move them around to suit our needs. I find that it usually takes plants about three days to recover from the shock of transplanting.


Do you remember that sad Swiss chard that I bought? What an unhappy baby. Under watered and suffering. I will provide it with love and let it recover from the initial transplant shock and then pinch off the shoots that are drying so that the plant can concentrate on setting new roots and growth.


Sometimes plants don’t recover from the shock of transplanting and live a long non producing life or die off. Remove them from your garden. They are just taking up space and attracting pests and disease.


The shock is caused by damage to the plant roots. If you noticed I gave the plastic pot, the plant came in a little squeeze to loosen the dirt and roots. I supported the bottom of the root ball and carefully took off the top layer of soil. I apologize as I did this instinctively and didn’t explain adequately. I’ll do a video when I transplant the tomatoes and cucumbers I buy at the end of April.


I just wanted to do a quick post on how to reduce this shock in case you get some plants before I do.

The thickest roots are close to the root ball under the plant. The tiny little ones on the outside are essential as they collect the water surrounding the plant.

Plants are already struggling when you buy them. When you transplant it, you further stress it.


Here are some points to reduce the shock


Transplant your plants as early as possible in the season. If you purchase a plant that is already flowering or producing fruit, it will have difficulty setting its roots. It takes a lot of energy for the plant to do these things.


Transplant on cooler days, late in the afternoon, so your plant doesn’t have the added stress of heat and reduced water.


Try hard not to damage or disturb the root system and transplant as many roots as possible.

Make sure to water the plants right after you transplant them, so they know that they have found the right home.


I remove any dead or dying leaves and shoots about three days after transplanting so that the plant can concentrate on setting roots instead of repairing itself.



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Until next time take care and live well.



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