UACES Facebook General
skip to main content


October 20, 2018

QuestionI'm moving from Fayetteville to Little Rock end of December to middle of January. I have a large number (300) of plants I've potted to take with me - ranging from lilac bushes and rose mallow to asparagus and blueberries to irises and daylilies to daffodil and lily bulbs. Right now I have them sitting around outside. I presume I should move into my garage before hard freezes start but I've never stored plants in the garage before. Do I water them? Surely the ones that are evergreen (such as jessamine) would need water but what about ones that go dormant (like the lilacs)? And how quickly can I start getting them into the ground at the new place? Do I wait until weather starts warming up in spring or can I plant in January? The move has taken longer than anticipated and had planned to have all plants in ground at new place by now so any suggestions would be appreciated! 




Wow do you have your work cut out for you once you move!  These hardy plants would be happiest replanted as soon as you can, but a lot will depend on the weather conditions. If we are having a mild winter and you can plant, then get them in the ground ASAP.  If we have bad winter weather, then you will have to wait until suitable planting weather.  The dormant period – November through February is the ideal time to transplant trees and shrubs.  Daffodils need to be chilled so leave them outside if you can—in soil hopefully.  If you have a protected spot next to your house or under a tree that you can group all the plants together and then mulch around them outdoors, that would be ideal.  Water prior to a hard freeze to make sure there is ample moisture in the plants.   If you give them too much protection --say in a garage, you would need to harden them off before planting outside.  Good luck.


January 28, 2017


We put our house up on the market thinking it would take a while to sell and it sold the first week, so I am moving much quicker than I had anticipated.   I have a lot of plants that I want to take with me.  Some are perennials like hostas and elephant ears that are still dormant, and some are some small shrubs that are dormant too.    Can I move any of these things and if so, how do I go about doing it with any success?  Do I pot everything up and wait for spring before replanting?  I am not moving far, but it is about an hour away. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.



Moving plants in the dormant season is actually better on the plants than moving them in the heat of summer.  The problem with some of the dormant perennials is you won't know for sure where they are unless you still have spent foliage outside.  You have a couple of options. First, you can get a large box or container and put a light layer of soil in it. Dig up the perennials and put them in the container and lightly cover with soil or shredded paper or mulch to protect the roots from cold and drying out. Then move them to the new location and plant immediately.  If you know where you want to plant this would be best.  Chances are you are going to have other moving things to do like setting up the house and you may not have time to garden immediately. In that scenario, pot up each plant that you are moving into their own container.  When you get to your new home, create a little nursery. Put the pots near the foundation of the house and group them together with mulch around the pots to protect them. Water as needed and plant when you have time. 


December 2012

QuestionI have a couple of encore azalea plants that I would like to move to different spots in my flower bed. Is now the time to transplant them or is there a better time? I've heard that fall is a good time for planting but I didn't know about transplanting. The azalea bushes have several years’ growth on them so they are not new plants. Also when is the best time to prune azaleas?


AnswerFall is a great time for planting hardy trees and shrubs, but more tender plants I prefer to wait until winter weather is over before transplanting or moving. If the site they are in is really bad for the plant, I would take my chances and move them. If you just need to relocate them, I would wait until spring. Azaleas can struggle in a particularly cold winter, and will be hardier with an intact root system. If we could only look in the crystal ball and know what kind of winter we will have, it would make life easier. Last year they would have thrived with a fall planting since we had no winter, but you just never know.

May 2012

QuestionI am attaching a picture of a flower which I see "in the wild" or along roadsides. I want to transplant a few of these plants into my garden and would like to know the name and if there are any particular care tips available.


AnswerThe plant in question is commonly called spiderwort – Tradescantia sp. They are fairly common across Arkansas and can get a bit weedy if you aren’t careful. If they are growing on your property, you can dig and divide or transplant them, but if you do it now, they may wilt for a few days while they re-establish. There are also improved varieties available at local nurseries. The flower color is traditionally a blue or purple, but there are also white and pink varieties. If they are growing in the wild, and not on property that you own, you must get permission from the landowner before digging. They do well in full sun to partial shade, and like ample moisture. If they get tall and leggy mid-summer, you can give them a haircut and they will bounce back and bloom.

October 2011

QuestionWe want to move a leather leaf mahonia plant to another spot....when is the right time to do so?


AnswerLeatherleaf mahonias are pretty tough plants. I think they would be safe to move almost any time, but specifically during the dormant season – November through February would be ideal. Make sure they have a somewhat shady location.

January 2012

QuestionIs now a good time to move 6 foot tall crape myrtles? We live in Little Rock.


AnswerI would hold off until the end of February if you can. That is when you can prune them and move them all at the same time. If you absolutely have to move them now, that is ok, but they would be less winter hardy without an intact root system. Make sure they are well mulched and watered if it is dry.

November 2011

QuestionRecently, we purchased a home with a dogwood tree that we would like to transplant to another area in the yard. It looks to be about 5 years old. When would be the best time to transplant this tree?


AnswerActually, the transplant season has just begun. From November through February is the ideal time to move existing hardy plants. The plants are going dormant and they can spend the winter months reestablishing their root system to prepare for the growing season. Try to have the new site ready before you dig up the tree, and protect the roots during the move—don’t leave them exposed to cold temperatures for too long. Plant it at the same depth it is currently growing, or slightly shallower. Water and mulch will be all that is needed until growth begins in the spring.

June 2009

QuestionI'd like to know how and when to transplant two Rose of Sharon bushes I have in my front yard. They are at least 5-7 years old. They are in a pretty shaded area and I have an area out in the back that gets more sun and I'd like to put them there. Can you tell me when is the best time to transplant, and are there any specifics I need to know about? They are in full leaf now and do bloom a little every season, but I think would be showier in more sun.


AnswerTransplant season is best done while the plants are dormant—between November and February. Althea or Rose of Sharon is a tough plant and probably would survive a summer move, but if you have the option, I would hold off until this fall. Spend some time now preparing the site, removing grass and weeds, amending the soil with some compost and mulch. Then in November, dig and replant. This way, they will have all fall, winter and spring to re-establish roots and should be ready to grow and bloom next season. You can prune them back as much as you want when transplanting, since these plants bloom on the new growth.

April 2010

QuestionI have three Sasanqua camellia plants that are 5' to 6' that are located on the north side of our home. They have outgrown their space and need to be moved to the east side of the house. When would be the best time of year to move them, and what should I do to prepare the new planting area?


AnswerI would move them now. Try to get as much of a root ball as you can. Replant in a well drained location and plant at the depth they are currently growing, or slightly more shallow. Water and mulch. If you damage any branches during the move, now is an ideal time to prune them as well. No fertilizer in the planting hole, but if you can amend the soil with compost that would encourage root spread. Don't be alarmed if they look puny for a month or so after the move, but they should bounce back quickly.

December 2012

QuestionI made a cutting 4 or 5 years from a gardenia in Little Rock. It has done well in a pot and bloomed for the first time last summer. It has bloomed a lot this summer. I want to plant it outside. When is the best time to plant it and where would be the best location? I live in Searcy County. What kind of protection might I need in the winter? Any help will be greatly appreciated.


AnswerIf you plan to plant it outside, I would get it planted as soon as possible. You need to allow the plant a chance to get its roots established before cold weather sets in later this fall. Plant it in a protected spot in your yard where it gets morning sun and afternoon shade. The soil should be well drained. Searcy County is pushing the hardiness limits. Be prepared to cover it when temperatures drop to 15 degrees or lower, and leave it covered until they get above that. If it does get winter damaged it will not bloom that season, since it sets its flower buds in late summer. If it is small you can get a large cardboard box to cover. Good luck.

June 2010

QuestionWhen is the best time to transplant a fig tree?


AnswerIf you have a choice, I would do so in late February through early April. Figs used to be a bit winter challenged in Arkansas, but have fared much better in recent years. Still, I would prefer it go into fall and winter with a strong root system and move it after the bulk of winter weather has passed. It is so hot and humid now that it would be a shock to the plant if it were moved now. It could be done, and if you kept up with the water needs, it could be successful, but it would be easier on you and the plant to wait until next year.

May 2010

QuestionI have some overgrown hydrangea bushes. Can I separate them--how, and when? Thanks a million for your advice.


AnswerHydrangeas are cane producing plants which have multiple stems coming from the soil line. If there are several plants grouped together, division is possible, but normally we just thin out up to one third of the older canes at the soil line following bloom. Flower buds should be showing signs of color soon, so pruning or dividing now would hurt any flowering. Let them finish blooming, then thin immediately after the flowers begin to fade.

April 2010

QuestionI have a hydrangea in a tight spot that I would like to move to another spot which has morning sun. Is now an acceptable time to do that?


AnswerYes, get your hydrangea moved as soon as possible. Don't be alarmed if the plant wilts almost daily after the move, especially if it is a warm day, but do keep up with watering and they should begin to bounce back.

April 2010

QuestionI have three Sasanqua camellia plants that are 5' to 6' that are located on the north side of our home. They have outgrown their space and need to be moved to the east side of the house. When would be the best time of year to move them, and what should I do to prepare the new planting area?


AnswerI would move them now. Try to get as much of a root ball as you can. Replant in a well drained location and plant at the depth they are currently growing, or slightly more shallow. Water and mulch. If you damage any branches during the move, now is an ideal time to prune them as well. No fertilizer in the planting hole, but if you can amend the soil with compost that would encourage root spread. Don't be alarmed if they look puny for a month or so after the move, but they should bounce back quickly.

January 2010

QuestionWe live on a farm in Saline County and have many old surprise lilies and daffodils that we would love to transplant. When is the proper time? All of them are in the fields and somewhat hard to find after blooming. We are wondering if the lilies could be moved now? If so, when would we replant?


AnswerThere are two types of surprise lilies or Lycoris that we commonly grow in Arkansas. The red more spider-like lilies are L. radiata and they have foliage all winter. The naked lady or pink surprise lilies L. squamigera put on foliage in the spring and then die down before blooming. Lycoris lilies can be moved either while the foliage is up or when the flowers begin to fade. I would not attempt moving them while it is so cold, but as the foliage begins to die in late winter to early spring, you could do it then. Replant immediately at the same depth they are currently growing. They may not bloom for a year or two after transplant, but should recover. As to the daffodils, let them bloom and then dig and divide. You can do so immediately after bloom and let the foliage die back where replanted, or allow six to eight weeks of green growth after bloom then dig and divide and either replant or store for a fall planting. They need at least six weeks of good growth after bloom to replenish a flower for next spring.

February 2010

QuestionA few years ago I planted all of my holiday amaryllis bulbs outside and they have done quite well. They are now shaded by a tree, so now they don’t bloom. When should I be able to move them this spring so they will not die and possibly bloom this year?


AnswerThis may be a year that tested all the amaryllis bulbs that have been planted in our gardens. Those holiday amaryllis bulbs are not considered true "hardy" bulbs, but have been overwintering fine the past few years. If they need to be transplanted, do so when the foliage emerges this spring, and after all chances of frost have passed. Then let them grow in their sunnier location and you should have blooms again next spring. They will not bloom this year unless you bring them inside this fall for a holiday bloom. They set their flower buds for the following years blooms during their growing season.

October 2007

QuestionLast fall I was able to get a start from a pomegranate bush, babied it till now and it is hardy. The tallest part is about 3ft. I now need to move it because the location will not be good for the size it will hopefully grow to. When should I do this and what is the best way?


AnswerThe pomegranate bushes are gaining in popularity again. Their bright orange flowers are great in the summer. I would let it stay where it is for the winter and move it as it is beginning to break dormancy next spring. Pomegranates are marginally hardy north of Little Rock, so I would leave them intact for the winter and then move them. Since they have only been in the ground a year, you should get the bulk of the root system when moving. Make sure you plant them at the same depth they are currently growing and give them a sunny location with good drainage.

August 2007

QuestionWould you please advise me when is the best time to transplant hosta's - fall or spring? I would like to do it this fall, if possible.


AnswerActually you have both options. Perennial plants that bloom in the summer--such as hosta’s, can be divided either in the fall or spring. If you know they need division or transplanting, doing so in the fall will give you a stronger plant next growing season, since you are giving them all fall and winter to establish a root system. So plan to transplant them this fall when the weather gets cooler and the plants begin dying back. When you do divide, don’t get carried away and make too many divisions or it will take them longer to recover.

September 2007

QuestionWhen is the best time to relocate peonies?


AnswerRelocate peonies if needed this fall as they decline. Be sure to replant them shallow and be aware that transplanting them can delay blooms for a year or two afterwards.



All links to external sites open in a new window. You may return to the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture web site by closing this window when you are finished. We do not guarantee the accuracy of the information, or the accessibility for people with disabilities listed at any external site.

Links to commercial sites are provided for information and convenience only. Inclusion of sites does not imply University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture's approval of their product or service to the exclusion of others that may be similar, nor does it guarantee or warrant the standard of the products or service offered.

The mention of any commercial product in this web site does not imply its endorsement by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture over other products not named, nor does the omission imply that they are not satisfactory.