Transplanting/Moving Plants to our new home


We are moving from Brampton to Elora Ontario in October. We want to take some plants to our new home, such as hostas, black eyed Susan’s and maybe some others. We are wondering what the best way to do this, what to transport them in etc and can we just plant them in a garden and then transplant again in the spring when we decide where we really want them.


Congratulations on your new home.

Fortunately you aren’t moving a great distance and you are pretty much staying within the same hardiness zone, so moving your plants is not too complicated.  It is also good timing to be moving in the fall vs transplanting during the heat of summer. In fact, the cooler it gets the better it is, as plants become increasingly groggy (dormant) and less susceptible to transplant stress.

If possible, before doing any digging at your present location, set up a temporary nursery area at your new house.  This ensures that when you are ready to move plants, they are unearthed for the shortest possible length of time.  Best if your temporary nursery area is shaded/in a protected area in the shade of trees. You may dig a trench or a small area of garden to (temporarily) accommodate the plants.

Preparing for the move: Dig up and pot up your perennials. To ease the transition, water your plants before digging them up, or better still, give them a deep soak the night before. Then use a trowel/spade to dig a ring around the plant, being sure to go wide enough that you don’t risk damaging the root system. Push a spade well under the root ball and carefully lift the whole plant out.

Immediately upon uprooting the plant, place it in a pot with soil (and water it again) or you can wrap the base of the plant (the roots and soil) in a damp burlap sack.  You can use old plastic pots or bags and a quality soil mix…just make sure the pots/containers fit the root balls snugly.

To help your plants conserve energy during the move, make sure they’re as healthy as possibly. One of the best ways to do this is to trim all dead or excess stems and leaves so that the plant isn’t wasting any valuable energy on parts it doesn’t need.

Heeling in:  Water your heeling bed/trench throughly immediately before setting plants in their temporary home.

Sink the pots directly into the ground, placing them side by side and placing soil around each pot (level with the top of the pot) to insulate the roots.

Be sure to water this holding area regularly but do not feed the plants.  After a hard freeze you can mulch around the pots with shredded leaves for extra protection.

Then in the spring, when the weather allows, you can remove the pots from the ground and plant your perennials directly into their new “permanent” home.

Also see :

Sept 24, 2022