Seedlings are ready for planting.
image by S.F. Heron
Planting flower seedlings differs slightly from planting tiny seeds. Seedlings require gentle care to grow and thrive in your garden. In some instances, gardeners plant seeds in starter pots. After germination, roots begin to grow and a tiny plant appears. Gardeners call this tiny plant a seedling. Seedlings require special care because these small plants need adequate water, sunlight and protection from the elements.
Evaluate whether the seedlings can survive in soil and weather conditions. Seedlings shouldn't be placed outside until after the chance of frost passes. Spring rain can damage small plantings as well.
Place the seedling trays outside in the shade for a few days of adjustment. Then move the tray into more light. This helps the plants acclimate gradually to stronger light until the plant graduates to its permanent spot in the full sun or partial sun. Keep seedling soil moist at all times for optimum root health.
Choose a spot in your garden that's correct for these tiny plants. Read the seed packet to determine sunlight tolerance. Plants need plenty of space to grow so, despite the small size, space plantings according to mature growth size. Include space around each plant to allow for air circulation.
Mix peat moss and compost (or soil conditioner) into a container. You'll be using this mixture to prepare the soil for your seedlings.
Turn over the first 6 inches of soil, mixing the peat moss/compost mixture into the top portion of the soil.
Dig a small hole two times as large than the seedling root ball and deep enough to reach the point where the roots join the stem.
Grasp the seedling with your fingers at the base of the plant and lift it out of the growing container. Some dirt may stick to the roots or the dirt may fall off. Use this dirt to fill in around the base of the seedling.
Press the dirt around the base of the plant where the root joins the stalk. Planting a seedling slightly deeper works fine if the plant needs additional support from the soil.
Water the seedlings with the watering can to prevent damaging the tender plants. Water every day to encourage optimum root growth. Avoid using the garden hose and sprayer until the plant develops a strong stem.