The Q&A Archives: Transplants Dying

Question: I have a few different flower beds in partially shaded areas, where I plant Impatiens. I buy healthy plants from the nursery, but for some reason, about half the plants go limp and die, and the others grow quite nicely. What is the reason for this?

Answer: Sounds like either your soil, or your transplanting technique are to blame for the poor growth of young, healthy transplants. If you haven't had your soil tested, you probably should - just to let you know what you're dealing with. All plants benefit from the addition of organic matter to the planting bed. Spread several inches of compost, leaf mold, or peat moss over the garden beds and dig it in before planting. The organic material will help hold moisture, and will release nutrients to the roots of the plants. When transplanting, do it early in the morning or early in the evening so the plants aren't stressed by warm temperatures. Dig the holes and pop the plants in immediately. Then give each plant a long drink of water. Water will help remove air pockets around the roots which can cause untimely death of the plants. Apply water every few days for a week. Your transplants should become established by then and will require water only when the soil begins to look dry. You can begin feeding your impatiens after they've been in the ground for about two weeks and are beginning to show new growth. Use a diluted fish emulsion or liquid fertilizer. Following the above guidelines should result in a one hundred percent success rate with your transplants.

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