Question: Many times my transplants just sit there and fail to grow and bloom after I get them planted. What might I be doing wrong?

Answer: It may be that they were rootbound and stunted. If that’s the case, buy younger, more vigorous plants the next time. With some plants, such as celosias, marigolds and zinnias, among others, it’s better to buy transplants that are budded, but not showing color to their flowers. When transplants of those types are already in bloom at planting time, they often stall and fail to develop properly. Buy plants that are growing in approximately the same amount of light they will receive in their new spots. If you take a plant out of a shady nursery and set it into full sun, it will usually stop growing. It sometimes helps to break the soil ball apart ever so slightly, so the roots get out of that circular growth pattern. Be careful not to let them get too dry for the first week or two that they’re in the garden. Once transplants are stunted, they rarely recover and reach full potential. Use a water-soluble fertilizer to keep them active.

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