1. Home
  2. General Gardening Advice
  3. A Basic Guide to Planting

A Basic Guide to Planting

Gardening is a beloved hobby and can be incredibly rewarding. To get the most out of your gardening experience, you’ll need to know the proper way of planting to make sure your plants can establish happily in your garden. Our basic guide to planting is the perfect starting point for beginner gardeners. In this guide, we’ll be talking about seedlings and other plants that already have growth. To read about sowing seeds, click here.

Planting into the ground

What you’ll need

Preparing the ground

  • Figure out your soil type and what amendments you might need to use. Click here to learn about the different soil types and how to identify your own.
  • Clear the soil of any weeds and debris before adding in your soil amendments.
  • Use your garden fork to loosen and aerate the soil. Put the fork into the soil and gently push it back and forth, repeating this across the planting area.

How to plant

Take your plant out of its nursery pot. If it’s particularly pot-bound, you might have to cut the plastic pot to get it out. Be careful with the roots, but remember that plants are resilient and can handle losing a few roots.

Gently loosen the roots so that they’re untangled and can grow freely in the ground. If the soil that came with your plant isn’t great quality, you might want to massage it out of the root system so that you can replace it with your own soil.

Use your spade or trowel (depending on the size of the plant) to make a hole big enough for the root system. Place the roots into the hole and keep the plant upright while you fill in the hole around, making sure all the roots are covered. Pat down the soil as you go; the goal is for the soil to be aerated but not have too many air pockets. Repeat this process until the roots are buried and the plant can hold itself upright.


Water your plant thoroughly to help it establish in its new home. You may also want to mulch the area to help keep the moisture in the soil and prevent any weeds from growing and competing with the plant. Keep an eye on the new planting, making sure it’s getting enough light and isn’t being threatened by pests.

Planting in containers

What you’ll need

  • The plant(s).
  • Your choice of compost.
  • Any necessary soil amendments.
  • Gardening gloves.
  • Containers. These could be plant pots made of plastic, terracotta, ceramics, or other materials and repurposed objects. Make sure they have drainage holes at the bottom.
  • A trowel or scoop.

How to plant

Firstly, make up your soil mix. This will generally consist of compost and other soil amendments like perlite or wood chips.

If you’re using a terracotta pot – especially if it’s new – soak it in water before planting. Terracotta is very porous and will absorb moisture from the soil. Giving it a good soak will prevent it from taking too much water away from the plant. Soak it for up to 24 hours, making sure the colour is a bit darker than when you started.

Just like with planting in the ground, remove your plants nursery pot and loosen the roots. When you’re transferring into another pot, you don’t need to completely untangle the roots unless you’re removing the original soil. Just make sure they’re loose enough to grow freely in the new pot.

Put a layer of your potting mix into the bottom of your pot, so that the root system will fit in without much of the actual plant being buried at the top. Holding the plant upright, scoop in your potting mix around the roots until they’re covered. Tap the sides of the pot to let the soil fall into place and get rid of any significant air pockets.


Water the plant, thoroughly soaking the soil. Let the excess water drain before putting it into its new place. Pick the right place to put your plant where it’ll receive the right amount of light. Regularly check your containers for weeds and pests.

Updated on December 12, 2023

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles