Buying Plants

Getting Plants Home

Whether your new plant is coming from your own seedlings or the garden center, care is needed when it's time to plant it in the garden. Transplant in the evening or on a cloudy day to keep the sun from causing too much water loss in the plants and burning tender roots or leaves. Otherwise, provide shade for three to four days while the plant adjusts by setting an overturned box or newspaper cone over each plant. Mulch the plant, and water it well for its first growing season.

Seedlings ready to be transplanted.
Seedlings ready to be transplanted.

Hardening Off

"Harden off" seedlings and cuttings before they go out into the garden. When growing in the protection of a windowsill, light garden, or greenhouse, young plants are tender and can be easily damaged by strong winds or sun. Toughen them up (a process called "hardening off") to make the transition from indoors to outdoors successful.

  • Days 1 and 2: Put well-watered young plants outdoors in a shady location for several hours, then bring them back indoors.
  • Days 3 and 4: Increase the length of time seedlings stay outdoors in the shade.
  • Days 5 to 7: When well adjusted to shade, gradually move sun-loving plants into brighter light, starting with an hour of sun the first day.
  • Days 8 and beyond: When seedlings can stay out all day without burning or wilting, they are ready for transplanting.

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