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What does it mean to harden off plants?

30 Mar 2019 1:00 AM | Brenda Peshak (Administrator)

What does it mean to harden off plants?

Handling transplants is usually successful. However, when sowing seeds indoors it’s important to properly prepare them for transplanting outdoors. It is very discouraging to spend several weeks sowing seeds indoors only to have them fail once transplanted outdoors. To “harden off” refers to a process that acclimates plants to being outdoors gradually so that when finally translated they will have a higher rate of success.

Steps to “harden off” transplants.

Thinking of this process in steps may help to make it seem less challenging. During this entire process make sure the transplants stay watered. However, be sure not to overwater.

  1. Initially place plants outside for a few days in a shady spot protected from the wind and the direct hot sun. Bring them in at night. Do this for at least two days.
  2. Next, place them in a sunnier and less protected area for a day or two. Bring them in at night.
  3. Finally, expose them to more sun and the elements for at least two days.

Once they have gone through this “hardening off” process they should have a very good chance of doing well when you plant them into your garden given you water them properly, especially in the beginning, and that the location is appropriate to your plant selection.


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