How to Prevent Transplant Shock in Plants

The most vulnerable time in a plant’s life, whether that plant is a flower, shrub, or tree ~ is right after you plant it.  Some plants, in spite of your best effort, can go into what is called “transplant shock.”  And they can become shocked for a number of reasons: high winds, temperatures that are too high (or too low), different soil than they’re used to…or they simply got used to being grown in a cozy greenhouse, & now they’re out in the harsh world!  Luckily, I’ve found one thing that has helped ALL the plants in my Zone 6 garden.  Here, we’ll discuss “How to Prevent Transplant Shock in Plants,” no matter what garden zone you live in.

How to Prevent Transplant Shock in Plants, Girl Who Gardens

Every single plant in this photo has been given Vitamin B solution: both when I first planted them, & as they continue to grow…

I know some people love feeding their garden with Miracle Gro ~ but because my garden has so many different types of plants, Vitamin B solution is the one thing I’ve been able to give ALL my plants, without hurting any of them.


I fill in with Miracle Gro’s solutions for roses & evergreens, for example, as they have products specifically meant for those plants.

How to Prevent Transplant Shock in Plants

  • Try to do the bulk of your planting in spring or fall, when temperatures are cooler.  This tends to reduce shock.  Or in a warmer climate, like my parents’ Palm Springs garden: they’re actually doing the majority of their planting from December thru April, before the extremely hot summer.  When you plant in the dead of summer, it can be very hard for new plants to get their roots established in time to survive the heat. 
  • It’s ideal to plant new flowers & shrubs on cloudy days, or in the evenings, to allow roots to settle into cooler temperatures.  If you have a string of several cool days in a row: even better.
  • Almost all new plants need more water in the beginning.  Keep anything new well-watered, or under sprinklers/drip irrigation, & up your run times as they get established. 
  • Protect new plants from the wind.  Trees can be wrapped with burlap or plastic & staked, to keep them from swaying; while taller plants, like foxgloves & delphiniums, can also be loosely attached to stakes to keep them upright.  New vines can be attached to a trellis, or you can use a combo of fishing wire tied around screws to hold your vines in place, also protecting them from high winds.
  • After planting anything new in my garden, its become my routine to give it a healthy watering with Vitamin B solution ~ which I’ve purchased from both Lowe’s & Amazon.  I’ve given this to just about everything in my Zone 6 garden: panicle hydrangeas, lilacs, foxgloves, snapdragons, green arborbitae, apple trees, peach trees….you name it: I’ve given it Vitamin B!  And it brought my newly-planted dappled willow shrubs back to life after a too-hot initial planting.
  • If it turns out you planted something & it’s still struggling or getting leggy: cut it way back, give it a little Vitamin B solution, & let its roots get established without the burden of carrying a heavy plant up-top.  I just had to cut back a beautiful rose that was planted before a string of really windy days.  She’ll survive, but I had to cut off all the dead-looking limbs in order to preserve the main, healthy part of the shrub.

How to Prevent Transplant Shock in New Plants, Girl Who Gardens

This beautiful white Snowball Viburnum is just ONE plant among many that has benefited from the help of Vitamin B…both initially, & throughout the growing season.

Snowball Viburnum

Vitamin B Solution

Panicle Hydrangeas

What Plants to Give Vitamin B Solution?

 As I’m growing an English cottage garden in Central Oregon’s dry Zone 6 landscape: I’ve experimented with over 100 different types of plants, flowers, shrubs, vines, & trees.  And I’ve given pretty much all of them Vitamin B solution after planting ~ based on the recommendation of a local gardener.  So far, it has worked out well: the Vitamin B seems to help get them over that initial hump of transplant shock/planting shock.

What I’ve Personally Given Vitamin B Solution To: I’ve given it to roses, climbing roses, foxgloves, delphiniums, peonies, tulips, hydrangeas (panicle AND big-leaf), azaleas, rhododendrons, arborvitae, boxwoods, lilacs, phlox, creeping phlox, fuschia, Asiatic lilies, speedwells, blueberry bushes, all my shrubs, Virginia Creeper vines, wisteria (both trees AND vines), hops, ALL my trees ~ which include native willow trees, crabapples, Japanese cherry, hibiscus, apple, peach, nectarine, & double weeping cherry trees!  To date, three years into establishing my garden: I’ve never seen the Vitamin B solution be detrimental to any of these plants; it only seems to help.

What Plants to NOT Give Vitamin B: The only plants I haven’t given Vitamin B to are my Russian Sage & catmint/Walker’s Low: they both grow so big, so quickly, on their own ~ they just really don’t need it!  (And I don’t want them to grow too big.)

How to Avoid Transplant Shock in Plants & Flower, What to Plant with Hydrangeas? Girl Who Gardens

The beautiful purple Russian Sage in the foreground here don’t really need any extra help in terms of growing: they thrive on heat & neglect. Photo by Houzz.