To Wet or Not to Wet: The Pre-Transplanting Dilemma

To Wet or Not to Wet: The Pre-Transplanting Dilemma is a thought-provoking exploration of the decision-making process that growers face when it comes to watering their plants before transplanting. This engaging video delves into the various factors that come into play, such as soil moisture levels, weather conditions, and the specific needs of different plant species. Through expert interviews and real-life examples, viewers gain valuable insights into the potential benefits and risks of wetting the soil prior to transplantation. Discover the secrets behind successful transplanting techniques and make informed decisions for your own gardening endeavors.

Pre-transplanting: Wetting soil, yay or nay

Pre-transplanting: Wetting soil, yay or nay

Transplanting is a stressful experience for plants, and it's important to take certain steps to reduce the shock and help seedlings settle into their new homes. One question that often arises is whether wetting the soil before transplanting is beneficial or not.

The answer to this question depends on various factors, including the type of plants being transplanted and the current moisture levels in the soil. In general, wetting the soil before transplanting can be beneficial, but it's important to exercise caution and avoid overwatering, especially for certain types of plants like succulents.

Plants being transplanted

Before transplanting, it's recommended to give your seedlings a deep watering the day before. If your plants are in nursery pots, you can set them in a tray of water or the bottom of the sink and let them soak up as much water as they can for about an hour. This helps ensure that the plants are well-hydrated before the stressful process of transplantation.

If you're moving a plant from the garden to a new spot, you can leave the hose near its base on a slow trickle, moving it to a new spot around the plant every 30 minutes to an hour. This allows the plant to absorb water gradually and reduces the risk of shock during transplanting.

Watering plants

For bare root plants, it's recommended to let them soak in a bucket of water for several hours before transplanting. This helps rehydrate the roots and prepares them for the transition to a new environment.

When transplanting into a new pot, ensure that the soil is already damp. After transplanting, water the soil again to provide additional moisture and help the plant establish itself in its new container.

However, it's important to note that succulents are an exception to this heavy watering regimen. While it's a good idea to water them when transplanting, too much water can be stressful for succulents. After transplanting, they should be left to dry out to avoid overhydration and potential rotting.


In addition to wetting the soil, it's also crucial to consider the weather conditions when transplanting. Plants are less stressed if they're moved during cooler and shadier periods, such as cloudy days or in the early mornings or evenings. Hot midday sun can cause excessive stress, especially for small seedlings that dry out quickly.

Transplanting in shade