From Pot to Garden: How to Transplant Flowers Outdoors


Potted plants can be great for adding life to your home interior. But if you want to decorate your outdoor space, or reuse your pots for something else, you can often replant your indoor foliage into an outdoor flower bed.

Here’s how:

1. Check compatibility.

Most potted plants such as the Sunshine & Joy Garden can survive in the ground, but only if the conditions are right. Look up your particular potted plant online to see what temperature range, sunlight and soil/water conditions it prefers. It doesn’t hurt to let the plant adapt to the change by setting it outside in its pot for a few days prior to transplanting.

2. Prepare the soil.

If you don’t already have a flower bed prepared, and are digging up untilled soil, it is a good idea to mix in some compost or a bag of garden soil. And make sure the ground is dry enough; moist soil is great, but digging in mud will result in rock-hard clumps.

3. Dig the hole.

You want to make sure the hole is deep enough and wide enough to hold the plant’s root system. The easy way to be sure of this is to set the pot itself in the hole; if it will hold the plant and the pot, it will easily hold the plant by itself, with plenty of room to fill in loose dirt under and around it.

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4. Carefully remove the plant from the pot.

To do this, place one hand around the base of the plant, on top of the potted soil. With your other hand, tip over the pot so that the plant and soil slide out together. You’ll likely need to tap the pot to loosen the soil from the edges. You generally don’t want to pull the plant out, especially from a larger pot, as it may rip out part of the root system.

5. Loosen the edge of the root ball.

If the plant has been in the pot for a long time, the roots will start to wrap around and match the shape of the container. You now want those roots to grow outward into the surrounding soil. So, gently tease out the tips of the roots using your fingers, a pencil or a toothpick.

6. Place the roots in the ground.

You don’t want to bury the plant itself, so if the hole is too deep, you can scoop a few handfuls of dirt in to provide a base. Then, carefully fill in loose dirt around the roots until the hole is filled, and pat the soil down to eliminate gaps. You don’t want to pack the soil too tightly, but it needs to be solid enough to support the plant and hold the roots in place.

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7. Water and care for your plant.

When finished, thoroughly water the plant to help recover and get established in its new surroundings. Then follow the regular recommended care for your variety of flower.

8. Recycling your pot.

Now you’re left with one more thing to transplant: the empty pot. Though you can use it to raise a new plant, there are many other creative uses for old flower pots—from cute fairy gardens, to practical de-icing salt dispensers, to kitchen utensil holders. Some “pots,” like our garden plants in decorative baskets or watering can containers, can be reused as spring decor.

Of course, for more ideas, there’s always Pinterest.