8 Steps for Transplanting Shrubs

Spot the difference! Besides the dog, you’ll find a plant swap. 


A bigleaf shrub with pink-red blooms standing out in an all white garden


A garden with shrubs and other plants

This was the first view that inspired thoughts of transplanting this fall. In this case, I wanted to change out that dark pink bigleaf hydrangea for the more subdued Invincibelle Sublime™ smooth hydrangea to match the new white and green aesthetic I’m working toward for this part of the garden. As you walk through your garden this fall, you might have similar feelings. The itch for change!

So, let’s get to the bottom of transplanting. When do we do it? How do we make sure it’s successful? We transplant in the spring or the fall, when the temperatures are cooler and the sun is less intense. And this is how we do it, step by step. I’d love to hear what changes you’ve been making to your garden this fall, just reply to this email (photos will be cherished)!

Invincibelle Sublime™ Hydrangea

Bent stems and unimpressive, small flowers are a thing of the past with this strangely thrilling native hydrangea. Everything about it is impressive. Rigid stems. Long lasting blooms. Extreme cold and heat tolerance. Best of all, it has an especially strong presence in the landscape. Its masses of lime green blooms make an impact from far away and draw you in where you’ll see lovely detail, as each bloom is dotted with bright pink pollen.

  • full (6+ hrs) to part sun (4-6 hrs)
  • 3.5-5 ft. tall and wide
  • USDA zones 3-9 (-40°F/-40°C)
A mass of lime green flowers on Invincibelle Sublime make up the middle of the border.

What can I expect from my newly planted shrub?


Typically they get established within a year or so and during that time they don’t put on much above ground growth. They are working to get a root system established. If you see wilting, leaf spots, or anything strange, check out this article on the topic

A gardener digging up a hydrangea

Successfully transplant your shrub in just 8 steps.

Bright red sepals on Temple of Bloom seven-son flower in the autumn.

Learn how to train this shrub into a tree for year round beauty in your garden.

Irregularly shaped leaves on sassafras.

Find out why sassafras leaves are the way they are in the latest episode of the Gardening Simplified podcast

Written by
Kristina Howley

Kristina Howley

I am all in when it comes to gardening. Almost every part of the experience delights me – new leaves emerging in spring, pollinators buzzing in summer, birds devouring berries in fall, and the somber beauty of seed heads in winter. Thanks to a background in horticulture and gardening my own clay-filled, flowery USDA zone 5b plot, I’ve learned plenty of practical things as well. I like sharing these joys and lessons with my fellow gardeners and soon-to-be gardeners any way I can.


Past Newsletters

All Things Roses

… there is still a little work to be done. Put in some time with your Proven Winners ColorChoice roses this spring, and you’ll reap the benefits…

Read More »

Scholarship Application

*Completing this form does not guarantee a scholarship. A staff member will confirm scholarship availability directly. Receipts must be submitted within 10 weeks from the conclusion of the event.
Gardening Simplified magazine
[everest_form id="4997"]