how long to keep plants in nursery pots

Keeping Plants in Nursery Pots: How Long is Too Long?

Growing plants can be a rewarding hobby, but until they’re ready to be planted in the ground, they need a place to live. While permanent ‘in-ground’ pots provide plants with a stable environment and plenty of room to grow, most plants start out their lives in nursery pots. But with these temporary pots, how long should they stay in this small environment?

The Benefits of Nursery Pots

Nursery pots are great for young plants as they’re well suited for the initial stages of growth. Since these pots are small, they can easily be moved around, allowing the plants to be potted in the perfect spot for maximum sunlight. Furthermore, nursery pots often have drainage holes that allow excess water to escape, preventing plants from sitting in a soil saturated with water and promoting healthy root growth.

Timeline: When to Transfer Plants From Nursery Pots

Ideally, you should transfer plants from their nursery pots to permanent containers after a few weeks. This will give the plants enough time to establish their root system while still allowing them to grow and spread out. After the plants have grown too large for their nursery pots, they’ll need to be transferred again, this time to the ground, or a larger pot that will accommodate the increase in root growth.

Important Tips for Transplanting from Nursery Pots

Transplanting from nursery pots can be tricky if not done correctly. Here are some essential tips for transferring plants from their temporary homes without damaging them:

  • Use the Right Pot Size: Make sure that you use a pot that’s suitable for the plant’s root system. A pot that’s too small won’t provide enough room to spread its roots, while one that’s too large can lead to overly saturated soil.
  • Disturb Roots Carefully: When transferring the plant to the new pot, try not to disturb the roots too much. Take care to remove the entire root ball intact, then gently break it up when you’re repotting.
  • Provide Enough Drainage: Make sure the new pot has sufficient drainage holes. A lack of these can lead to root rot.


Nursery pots are an important part of a plant’s life, and should be used in the early growing stages for approximately 2-3 weeks. While it’s important to transfer plants to larger, permanent containers, it must be done correctly and with caution to ensure their health. Following the above tips, you’ll be sure to have a thriving garden in no time!

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