Temporary Re-Locating of Geraniums and Nepeta

Asked July 4, 2017, 7:46 PM EDT

We are putting in a new retaining wall (in July) and hope to re-locate geraniums and nepeta while the work is being done. Within ~3 days, hopefully, we will want to re-plant in the newly-created garden bed. Two questions, please: * I'm wondering if the plants can be dug up with soil and simply placed in a shady spot for those few days (certainly easiest for us, as we don't have much space), or will it be important to dig new holes for them for those interim days? * Also wondering how much of the flowers, if any, should be cut off for this move? Thank you, as I always like to mention, for this wonderful Master Gardener service! Rose

Winona County Minnesota

5 Responses

I hope you are aware that midsummer is not the time to move plants. And you are moving these plants twice. So there are no guarantees.

I wouldn't recommend replanting them, then digging them out again. A compromise between this and your plan is to heel them in somewhere shady, if you've got room. Dig a trench, then place the plants in the trench, and cover the rootballs loosely with soil. When it's time to replant, uncover the rootballs and move them again.

Whether you do this or follow your plan to hold them in a shady place, here are some additional suggestions. Before digging them out, water them deeply. Take as much soil around the rootball as possible so that there is as little disruption as you can manage. Keep the rootball moist, watering daily if necessary. If you can time the construction, try to avoid really hot days. I'd prune the flowers - I think you might lose them anyway.

You did not specify whether your geraniums were annual geraniums or perennial cranesbill geraniums. I think moving the annuals will be less successful, since any setback will result in lost value this season.

Thanks for your prompt response. Here's a more critical question that I should have asked. With the retaining wall work that is now being done (they're starting tomorrow), we will have a 65' x 3' new garden space. The workmen will cover this garden/amended soil with 3" of mulch. My question is this:
Assuming that we can find plants that we want at this late time of the season (which I realize is questionable), would it be better to plant this summer (yes - not a good time to plant or transplant, but this is when the work is happening) OR would it be better to leave the garden space only with the mulch on it and then plant next spring?
Again, thanks for sharing your expert thoughts/feedback.


Thanks for your prompt response. Here's a more critical question that I should have asked. With the retaining wall work that is now being done (they're starting tomorrow), we will have a 65' x 3' new garden space. The workmen will cover this garden/amended soil with 3" of mulch. My question is this:
Assuming that we can find plants that we want at this late time of the season (which I realize is questionable), would it be better to plant this summer (yes - not a good time to plant or transplant, but this is when the work is happening) OR would it be better to leave the garden space only with the mulch on it and then plant next spring?
Again, thanks for sharing your expert thoughts/feedback.

There is no right/wrong way answer. Planting now is riskier for the plants, but can be done if you are diligent about water. You are correct, stock choices are reduced now (again, I am assuming perennials). You can also plant in the fall, and maybe score some good deals, but with limited choice. Or, you could mulch and wait until spring when you have a wider choice.

And something I forgot to mention in my first post: be sure to protect any trees and shrubs near the construction area. Contractors are not good at paying attention to plants, and it can be costly when a tree dies two or three years down the road. Read here:
https://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/trees-shrubs/protecting-trees-from-construction-dam...

Dennis,
Thank you so much for your expert advice and many very helpful details. We have a huge evergreen (~50' spruce?) just above the workplace. I certainly hope that they will not threaten this huge tree, as it is very near our house - it would not be good if it died/fell over/etc.! The landscaping company (so they know plants, at least!) that is doing the job has a very good reputation, so hopefully the tree will be protected. And yes, I did not respond that we are considering only perennials (maybe annuals initially just to fill in some space). The landscapers will be putting down grass seed after the finish for all the land that's been torn up. So we will need to diligently water it - and hope for the best. We may decide to take advantage of good prices and do our best to get those plants through our hot summer successfully. I've had poor luck with fall planting, for whatever reason I'm not sure, so I don't want to attempt this again. I really appreciate you sharing your wisdom with me! All the Best, Rose