Transplanting is part of having indoor plants. Even plants that grow slowly need to be transplanted every few years. While this is a normal process, any time you have a plant in a pot, that doesn’t mean it is easy for the plant.
A plant droops or wilts after transplanting because of stress or shock, and requires extra care, such as sugar water or fertilizer.
While it is a normal occurrence after transplanting for your plant to start to wilt or droop, that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Taking proper care of your plant after the transplant will ensure that they bounce back and have a chance to enjoy its new habitat. Thankfully, there are even a few gardener secrets to help your plant bounce back faster after a transplant.
Is it Normal for Plants to Look Wilted After Transplanting?
Wilting, yellowing, curled leaves, and even a few leaves dying off after a transplant are all normal reactions your plant will have after being transplanted. It is a safety mechanism for your plant and a reaction to experiencing a new environment.
If you are simply moving from one pot to another, the signs of transplant shock may be low or minor. However, if you are completely changing your plant’s environment, such as moving from an indoor tray to an outdoor garden, your plant may show severe signs of transplant shock and stress.
Not only is their soil habitat changing, but so are all their other conditions. They go from being in a still and humid environment with likely bright but indirect light to a place with a breeze, varying humidity levels, and more direct sun.
Even if they are in their ideal hardiness zones, the plant will suffer some shock after a transfer that completely changes the situation. However, it is still expected, and the plant will bounce back in no time after getting used to its situation.
There are a few causes as to why transplant shock may be more pronounced than expected.
Some examples include:
- Damaged roots
- Planting too deep or shallow
- Not enough space in the new area or pot
- Improper soil type
- Sudden habitat and climate change
How Long Do Plants Droop After Transplanting?
As long as the plant was transplanted correctly with minimal damage to the stems, leaves, or roots, the plant should start to perk up and return to normal in just a couple of days.
There are some exceptions. Tiny seedlings can take a few weeks to recover, and mature trees may take years before they begin to fully recover after a transplant. This also depends on whether the transplanted plant went through a little bit of stress or full-on shock after being transplanted. Shocked plants take a lot longer to recover.
For the quickest bounce back, you want a plant that is still young and able to recover without being a seedling.
Signs of Transplant Shock
Transplant shock occurs when the plant isn’t rooted well when they are transplanted. It can also happen with plants that are given multiple stressors at once. Usually, one of the first signs is leaf scorch. This is usually when the leaves of a plant look like they have been burned. They will be dried out and brown.
Other times, the leaves may begin to wilt, turn yellow, or curl. With needled plants, they may start to show signs of stress by having their needles change to a more gray color. Over time, the leaves or needles will begin to die.
Sometimes, if the plant was already flowering or fruiting, it may suddenly lose those. That is because flowers and fruits are usually the first to go in order to preserve energy when a plant is weak or shocked.
For certain plants, especially lettuce, coriander, and parsley, a transplant can cause the plant to bolt and start seeding.
Can Plants Recover from Transplant Shock?
Plants can recover from transplant shock. However, they will need to be given a lot of care and patience.
First, make sure your plant isn’t too damaged. If the roots were broken or severely damaged during the transfer, your plant may not be able to recover.
Also, you will want to water your plant immediately after transferring your plant. This helps to ensure that the roots remain moist and don’t dry out while also helping your plant recover quickly. However, overwatering can also damage your plant, so make sure you only water enough to keep the soil around the roots a little moist. While the plants are recovering, keeping the root ball moist is essential.
Finally, it is recommended that you transplant in early fall or late spring. That way, you aren’t transferring when your plant is in peak growing season, but also not too cold to harm your plant and increase the stress on your plant. Transferring on a cloudy but warm day or late evening when the sun isn’t so high will also prevent sun damage.
If you’ve done all these steps, but your plant isn’t recovering as you want, or you are worried that you are harming your plant, there are some tips and tricks to help boost your plant’s likelihood of surviving and bouncing back from transplant shock.
How Do You Revive Plants from Transplant Shock?
Does Sugar Water Help Transplant Shock?
There are debates on whether sugar water helps plants recover from transplant shock. Many say it worked for their plants, others say it doesn’t do anything or even damages plants with transplant shock.
However, studies show that adding a bit of sugar to water can help plants. As long as the shock isn’t due to too much sunlight or damaged roots, a little bit of sugar in their water can help them get some nutrients and energy they need to grow and bounce back.
Do Epsom Salts Help Transplant Shock?
Epsom salt has the potential to help your plant increase chlorophyll production, nutrient absorption, and healing. All you have to do is sprinkle a bit of the salt into the soil. This may even help when the roots are damaged and allow for the growth of new roots instead of the death of the roots.
Should You Water After Transplanting?
Watering after transplanting is very important. While you don’t want to drown the plant, keeping the soil moist allows the roots to recover and prevents them from drying out. Unlike regular watering, where you let the soil dry out while the roots are trying to heal, you simply keep the soil damp so that it isn’t overly wet but doesn’t dry out.
When Should You Fertilize After Transplanting?
Fertilizing during a transplant is one of the best times. It promotes growth and gives your plant the proper nutrients it needs. You can either mix the fertilizer into the new soil or use liquid fertilizer when watering the plants.
However, you may not want to use traditional fertilizer. There are fertilizers called starter fertilizers designed to help plants that are young or being transplanted to grow and get a good boost. These are usually a 10-50-10 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK), respectively, or somewhere near that percentage.
If you can’t find a starter fertilizer, anything with a high amount of phosphorus (P) is ideal. You can dilute it to ensure the plant doesn’t undergo shock from fertilization but gets the phosphorus they need to thrive.
Transplanting your plant is important. Whether moving from a pot they have outgrown to a bigger pot or moving from their space indoors as a seedling into the garden, you will have to transplant your plant at some point.
Transplanting a plant causes stress and sometimes shock, but plants wilting or drooping after a transfer will need extra care, such as sugar water or fertilizer.
Unfortunately, every transplant has the potential for some risk. Sometimes, a plant may struggle with transplant shock if not transplanted correctly or put into conditions that aren’t ideal. This can lead to wilting or drooping plants, but if you monitor your plant and be sure to give it lots of care, you will see your plant bounce back in no time!