You were going to move it again, weren't you? You just don't like where it is. You have decided that another plant would look better where that one is planted, so you'll just casually move that plant to make room for the new one?
Or maybe you just didn't think it through when you planted it in the first place, and now the plant is over crowded or maybe it clashes with other nearby plants.
For whatever reason, you have your shovel in hand and you are ready to just dig up a plant and move it.
Wait! Look at what can happen!
I speak from experience that a plant moved too often can be stunted and fail to reach its potential in any reasonable timeframe.
Would you like examples?
This is supposed to be a really large leaf hosta, one I got from my sister two years ago.
It doesn't look like much now, does it?
I originally planted it where I now have the miniature garden. When I decided I wanted this miniature garden in this spot instead of the big hosta, I dug up the hosta and put it in a container, and made it live in that container through the winter. Then I transplanted it to its current location last year, and there it sits. Oh, it's a tiny bit bigger than last year, but it is not even close to how big it was when I brought it home.
I've heard that some hostas can take up to six years to recover from transplanting before they reach their mature size.
And while I wait for this one to stop pouting over my obvious disregard for its needs, I have this gap in my hosta border. This hosta is supposed to be a big focal point in the center, toward the back.
Still not convinced?
This next example may cause you to never again dig up a plant and move it.
This is my Five Leaf Variegated Aralia, Acanthopanax sieboldianus 'Variegatus'It's about four inches tall and I've had it for at least nine or ten years.
I swear I've only moved it twice, at most three times.
But those moves have really stunted it. When I bought this, my neighbor was with me and she bought one, too, which I planted for her and we left it in where it was originally planted.
Here's what hers looks like today.I know, that's quite a difference! And I've gone over there to help her trim up shrubs and personally cut this back a lot because it is so much bigger than mine.
I'm actually thinking of digging mine up one more time and making a bonsai out of it. I've always wanted a bonsai plant.
Or maybe I should put it in this dish garden with the dwarf spirea, Spiraea japonica 'Golden Elf'?
Now are you convinced that moving your plants around all the time isn't good for them? Think before you plant!
- Is the plant going to get the right light where you are going to plant it?
- Will it have enough room to grow to mature size?
- Is it compatible with the plants around it, requiring relatively the same amount of water, same type of soil?
- Are you just planting it in that spot because you are tired of waltzing around the garden with it?
If you do decide to dig up a plant and move it, consider...
- Is this the right time of the year to be moving a plant?
- Do you have a really good reason to dig it up, such as you are doing to divide it up or pass it along to another gardener, who can now say thank you for it?
- Are you willing to risk stunting its growth for who knows how long?
Put down that shovel, and think about it before you move that plant again.