Transplanting Perennial Flowers At The End Of Summer

Perennial wildflowers can be beautiful, hardy additions to the home garden. Follow these tips for collecting and establishing these flowers yourself.

by Rachel Porter
PHOTO: Rachel Porter

Right now is the perfect time to notice which perennials survive summer heat. Anything still in bloom is guaranteed to be hardy—and, most likely, drought tolerant. Seeing plants thrive in these conditions makes us want more of them. Transplanting perennial flowers allows the plants to spread out more if they are in a tight space and allows you to capture wildflowers moving them to an area you intend.

Often you’ll find wildflowers surviving outside of garden gates. Heavily tended plants inside, however, often wane this time of year. But it is possible to transplant these perennial survivors now if you carefully follow these steps. 

Stay Aware of Temperatures

Fall and spring are the safest times to transplant perennial flowers due to cooler temperatures. If you are transplanting in the summer, work during the late afternoon so the roots have lower temps to settle in, rather than during the heat of the day.

Overcast and rainy days are a bonus.

Read more: When it’s time to transplant, reach for the dibble.

Prepare the New Location

Dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball, but not deeper. Add soil amendments. Avoid using chemical fertilizers that will burn the roots. 

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Water the area thoroughly. Make sure all the water drains. You do not want to put a new plant in standing water. 

Dig up the Plant

Dig outside of the plant’s drip line. This may be wider and deeper than you think. Avoid cutting into the root ball. When you transport the root ball to the new location, do not break off roots or buds.

Place the Plant in the New Location

Make sure the crown of the plant is not buried and is flush with the soil level. Gently tamp down the soil around the plant, leaving room for oxygen to circulate. 

Read more: Air & water are key elements of soil fertility management.

Add Good-Quality Mulch

Mulch will help the soil stay placed and help the new plant retain water for the root system.

Water & Observe

The first few weeks of transplant will be a vulnerable time for the plant. The roots need to stay moist to have power to accept the transfer and begin new life in the new location. Do not drown the plant, but keep the moisture level high enough to relax the roots. 

Observation is key for all gardeners. Take notice of what plants are thriving right now and don’t miss an opportunity to add these perennial flowers to your garden. 

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