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How to Transplant Annuals into Your Flower Garden

To add quick color to the yard, transplant seedlings of annual flowering plants into your garden. Transplanting annuals is easy, whether you buy your seedlings or start them from seeds. Just follow these steps to give your plants a good start in your garden:

  1. The day before transplanting, water the planting bed so that it will be lightly moist when you set out your plants.

    Transplant during cloudy weather or late in the day. Hot sun during transplanting causes unnecessary stress to the little plants.

  2. Water your seedlings thoroughly a few hours before transplanting, and then carefully remove the seedling from the container.

    If small roots are knotted around the outside of the drainage holes, pinch off the roots and discard them before trying to remove the plants. Then push and squeeze on the bottom of the container to make the entire root ball slip out intact. If it won’t come out easily, use a table knife to gently pry it out, the same way you might remove a sticky cake from a pan. Pull on the top of the plant only as a last resort.

  3. Gently tease roots apart.

    Use your fingers or a table fork to loosen the tangle of roots at the bottom of the root ball, which encourages the roots to spread out into the surrounding soil.

  4. Make final spacing decisions and dig planting holes slightly larger than the root balls of the plants.

    Set the plants in the holes at the same depth they grew in their containers.

  5. Lightly firm soil around the roots with your hands to remove any air pockets around the plant’s roots.

    Firm soil just enough so that the plant can remain upright.

  6. Gently water the entire bed until it’s evenly moist but not muddy.

    Take care not to wash away surface soil, leaving roots exposed. After a few days, check to make sure that soil hasn’t washed away from the top of the plants’ roots. If it has, use a rake or small trowel to level the soil around the plants.

    Mulch around plants as soon as new growth shows.

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