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Care for your seedlings over the next few months

Over the past few months you will have hopefully seen your tiny seeds grow and flourish in to seedlings.

Do you know what you’ve grown?

Left to right: Holly (Ilex aquifolium), Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia), Dog rose (Rosa canina) and Alder buckthorn (Frangula alnus). Photos: P. Formby

If your seedling is 20cm tall or more and you are struggling to keep the pot moist, you can transfer it into a larger pot, as much as anything to make it easier to water. A larger pot will retain more moisture during the summer days.

How to re-pot your seedling

You’ll need:

  • A pot at least 15cm in diameter and half as deep again as the original pot. One with drainage holes in the base is also ideal
  • Some small stones for drainage
  • We recommend using peat-free compost as it is better for the environment
  • Water
Here's one we prepared earlier... (Photo P. Formby)
Here's one we prepared earlier... (Photo P. Formby)

What to do:

  1. Place a layer of small stones in the bottom of the pot. These help with drainage
  2. Now fill the bottom of the larger pot with growing medium or compost, check the depth is right by putting the 10 cm pot on top of the compost, the top of the 10cm pot should just be below, 1cm, the height of the new pot
  3. Water the plant to be transferred; this will make it easier to remove the plant from the pot
  4. Hold the plant upside down with the stem between two fingers and tap out the contents of the pot into the hand
  5. Gently transfer the plant to the new pot, fill the sides with compost and cover the top with an extra 1cm of compost
  6. Water well and feed occasionally, cold tea can be a good substitute to fertiliser

Top tip:

If you think your seedling may be at risk from rabbits or mice, you could add protection. Push a bamboo cane into the ground next to the seedling, cut the neck and base from a large soft drinks bottle to create a plastic tube. Place it over the cane and sapling and push it into the soil.

Once your seedling reaches 40cm in height or more, it will be the ideal size to plant in the ground this autumn/winter.

We’d love to see how yours are getting on – tweet us @WoodlandTrust or share your pictures with us on Facebook.

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