Transplanting seedlings

Transplanting seedlings

  • Handy for plants that have very small seeds
  • Separates young seedlings in trays
  • Prevents over-crowding
  • Seedlings can develop good root systems
  • Gets seedlings ready for planting in garden

Often seeds are sown into trays, punnets and pots before they are planted out in the garden as seedlings. Seeds can be scattered across trays of seed raising mix and sprouted until they have a few pairs of leaves. When they are at this stage seedlings are still invariably too small and delicate to be planted out into the garden. If seedlings are allowed to continue growing close together in a tray their roots can become entangled and planting them into the garden can be tricky. So seedlings are often transplanted into pots or punnets, when still small, to grow on for a few weeks more before they are considered large enough for planting out in the garden.

How to transplant seedlings

Tip: Soak seedlings with water before they are lifted from tray and have the pot into which you will transplant seedling at the ready - half filled with potting mix.

Equipment: Knife or iceblock stick, pots and potting mix, watering can.

1. Carefully slide knife blade or thin, flat object like an iceblock stick underneath seedling without pushing through area where you suspect its roots are growing.  

2. Slowly raise blade so that roots of seedlings begin to separate from others in tray.

3. Continue lifting seedling, it should start to lift clear of tray with roots and some compost attached to them.

4. Gently lift individual seedling clear of tray.

5. Using blade, deposit seedling into pot by sliding it in.

6. Sprinkle additional potting mix into pot to back fill around seedling. You can give pot a gentle shake or a tap now and this should cause potting mix to settle around the seedling.

7. Water seedling, label and place in cold frame, green house etc.

8. Seedlings will be ready in a couple of weeks.