How to plant a plant Back to Basics

Out the pot and into the ground, simple as that, right? If you would like your plants to thrive there are in fact several important aspects to consider in perfecting the art of transplanting. New additions to the garden can cost a couple of pennies too, so let’s make sure you get all the bloom for your buck. Here is Life is a Garden’s guide on how to properly plant a new plant.


Reading planting instructions  

The information provided on every pot or label at the nursery contains essential information that helps you make an informed decision on what to choose and where to plant. Each container and seed packet indicates:

  • Sowing/growing season (when to plant it)
  • Position (amount of sun/shade needed)
  • Spacing (how far apart they need to be from the next plant)
  • Watering guide (how often to water)
  • Germination and flowering (how long seeds take to germinate and when they plant flowers)


*Top tip: GCA Garden Centre attendants are both knowledgeable and friendly. They are available to help you choose the best plants for your environment. Ask them for help and they’ll show you which new lovelies are best suited to your needs.

How to plant a plant
How to plant a plant
Planting in pots

If you have chosen to grow in a container, here are some simple ways to give your new plant the best head start in life. Remember to ask your garden centre advisor to assist you in choosing the correct potting mix and fertiliser for your plant.

  1. Wash your homing pot before transplanting with a gentle disinfecting soap.
  2. Ensure there are sufficient drainage holes.
  3. Line your planter to keep it clean and help protect plants against mineral deposits and disease. Ask your garden centre advisor about which lining material would be best for your container and plant. Remember to also make drainage holes in the lining.
  4. Add planter filler to the bottom of your pot. You can use mulch, gravel, pebbles, or terracotta shards. This assists with drainage and makes root pruning easier later.
  5. Add your potting soil purchased from your GCA Garden Centre. Avoid using garden soil as it is often very heavy and can include weed seeds, bugs, bacteria, and other unwanted materials.
  6. When inserting your new plant, remember to push it out from the bottom and not pull it by the stem. This can damage the plant and potentially break the steam.
  7. Water your new baby well and allow all excess water to drip out. Remember to place the saucer underneath to avoid spillages.
  8. Read the instructions on your fertiliser packaging carefully and give your plant a little feed to help them settle in.
  9. Add a layer of mulch around your plant. You can use, straw, grass clippings, leaves, wood chips or bark shards. This helps in retaining moisture, which is an essential part of successful container growing.


*Top tip: Avoid using filler materials such as cardboard or newspaper that will decompose and rot. This can damage your plant’s roots and add yuckies to the soil.

How to plant a plant in pots
Planting seedlings in pots
Planting in beds

You can successfully transplant new arrivals by following these steps. Remember to check the planting instructions to ensure your location is well-suited to the plant’s needs. Ask your garden centre advisor for suitable compost, fertiliser, and mulch.

  1. Dig a hole that’s slightly larger than the container in a slanted V-shape. This will ensure your plant sits snug in the new hole.
  2. Add compost to the hole and make sure the soil is nice and loose.
  3. Remove the plant from its container (remember to push up not pull).
  4. Inspect the roots: if they completely cover the soil, gently tease them apart. If they are concentrated too heavily at the bottom of the pot, loosen them thoroughly.
  5. Place your plant inside the prepared hole and add some more compost around it to tuck in your new baby well.
  6. Gently firm the soil around the plant with your hands.
  7. Water well after planting and add a little fertiliser (remember to read the instructions carefully to avoid burning the roots).
  8. Add a layer of your chosen mulch to help with moisture retention, warmth, and weed growth.


*Remember: Although it may be summer now, frost will be back in winter. Keep this in mind when choosing your location and plant. Is it best to pot your plants and move them at night, or is it best to choose frost-hardy bad boys? The last thing you want is to have all your efforts lost to the black frost horseman, so be prepared now already!

How to dig a hole
How to plant a plant
Plantint a tree
Top pre-planting tips

Before heading off to your nursery, take some time to assess your space and consider:

  • Where you would ideally like to plant.
  • What you would like to plant in (beds, baskets, or containers).
  • How does the sun move over your space?
  • How big is the area you have available?
  • Are you growing to eat or decorate?
  • How much time do you have to spend on garden maintenance?

The answers to these questions will help you choose the best plants for the job and make your mission to the garden centre more focused. There are so many gorgeous greens and trees to choose from, which is why narrowing down your criteria is very helpful.


Enjoy the journey with your new plants! Remember to check what feeding and watering regime is needed, and to keep an eye out for pests. Refresh mulch when necessary and top up your containers with new potting soil every season. When planting in beds, take note of surrounding trees that may cast shade or have large root systems that could interfere with your plant’s growth.

How to plant a plant

Share This: