Seedlings – how to transplant

Once you have sown your seeds, kept them warm and watered them you need to move them on to the next stage in their development. You need to prick your seedlings out into their final planting place or a larger pot.

How to transplant seedlings successfully

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You will need:

Tray of seedlings

Multi purpose compost

Small pots or seed tray containing inserts or tubes from toilet rolls

Small stick or similar



Step 1:

Fill some plant pots or seed trays with inserts with multi-purpose compost ready to transplant the seedlings into. This is to make sure the seedlings are out of compost for as little time as possible. This is to prevent them drying out.


Step 2:

Once your seedlings are large enough to cope with being transplanted you can prick them out. General advice says that seedlings should have a pair of leaves as well as the first seed leaves. Personally, I just look at them and decide that they need transplanting when they are getting too close to each other.

Borage seedlings
Borage Seedlings

I use a small stick or tool to get underneath the first seedling and lever it out with minimal damage to the roots. The objective is to separate the seedlings with minimal root and leaf damage. When handling seedlings always hold the leaves. A seedling will recover from damaged leaves but it will not recover from a damaged stem.

Levering out first seedling.
Levering out first seedling

Once you have removed a seedling keep as much compost with it as possible. This will help prevent damage to the roots and retain moisture.

Borage seedling
Borage Seedling ready for re-planting


Step 3:

Make a hole in a pot of compost and place the seedling in carefully. Firm the compost in place around the seedling. 

Firming seedling in
Firming Seedling in

Once you have completed a whole tray, water them thoroughly and leave them somewhere protected. I usually leave them on my windowsill for a few days and then transfer them to my cold frame.

Re-potted seedlings
Re-potted Seedlings



So, you now have many new plants for the garden for very little cost. Keep them watered until they are large enough to plant out and then fill your garden with gorgeous plants.

Always read the seed packet for advice on avoiding frosts with new plants.

If you like growing your own you may enjoy the following helpful articles:

Successful Seed Sowing

Free Fuschia Plants from Cuttings

Free biodegradable plant pots from newspapers

Please share your hints and tips below. I love to read all your comments. Remember to pin this article so that you can find it later when you want to prick out some seedlings.

How to be successful with seedlings

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