How to replant an out-grown planter

How To Replant An OutGrown Planter

It is always a monumental task to replant an outgrown planter and I am a procrastinator and it just gets worse every year. But this year I have decided to get it done. I have a few large planters that need a “makeover.” These largest two planters are getting overgrown and the other hypertufa planter’s level of soil is sinking and settling and crying out for a renovation.

As usual, I find it hard to decide to go ahead and do it. So I thought it best to write up this post to motivate myself for how to replant an outgrown planter. So let’s get on with it.  See more posts about my Backyard Flower Garden.

How to replant a large planter box

I purchased a large bag of potting soil ( 2 cu ft) and had my son place it next to the box so that whenever I was ready to start, the soil would be right at hand. Where would I put the plants as I dug them out?  I decided to use a large plastic sheet I had. I doubled it over and placed it in the gravel next to the box. 

A great warm day in spring, I started into digging out the planter. I felt it was necessary to finish it all at once so that my plants would not be out of the soil for very long. As you can see in the photo, I have a lot of sedum, both the John Creech and the Vera Jamison variety.  Balloon flowers are also planted here and give me some height.

At times, I have had Black-Eyed Susie vine climbing up the framework behind the box against the back of the shed. But during this “makeover,”  I decided to get rid of the framework. It wasn’t working well as a trellis in that spot so it was discarded and torn apart. We saved the larger 4x4s, but the rest of the cross pieces were in bad shape.

Black Eyed Susan Vine climbing the trellis

After placing my plastic cloth, I got a small shovel and started to shovel the plants out of the box. The sedum came up easily since it has shallow roots for the most part. I dug deeply to get the roots of the balloon flowers ( Platycodon grandiflorus).  Balloon flowers develop a large root almost like a carrot or sweet potato.  By the way, we are told that balloon flowers don’t like to be moved, but I have moved mine so many times that I think they are getting a complex.  I have a post and video about deadheading Balloon flowers here.

If you want to move them, just be sure to get a big portion of the root. More sprouts will come from the root when it is separated or split, so feel free to move or separate as you wish.  And then let their reseeding habit do the rest for you.

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Shovel out the plants - How to replant an outgrown planter

I purchased a large bag of soil to top off the planter but ended up using the whole thing. As you can see from the arrow on the image, the soil level had sunk really low and I needed a lot to refill the box. I am sure it will settle as the year progresses too.

How to replant an outgrown planter - refilling with fresh soil

Once I got the soil turned and mixed and added a little Osmocote, I examined the roots on the Balloon flowers I was replanting. I had to dig really large holes to accommodate them, but I wanted to give them the best start I could.  I plan to add some mulch to the top but only after my other plants sprout up. 

Large taproots of the Balloon Flower - Platycodon

I planted alyssum seeds and hollyhock root cuttings.  Those hollyhocks were pieces of roots I purchased. See the package pictured below. I have not purchased that type before so I hope they work. If I had known I wanted hollyhocks this year, I should have planted seeds last summer, right?  I hope the hollyhocks reach to the top of my shed.  The package of roots that I purchased said 4-5 feet tall so I am counting on that or taller.

How to replant an outgrown planter with seeds and root starts

Revealing the Rejuvenated Planter Box

The planter box is all finished but it is only the Balloon flowers visible at this time. My roots and seeds will soon sprout and then I can see where I need to move and re-adjust.  Those roots I planted? I have no idea where ? top or bottom? – that a new growth will come ( if ever.)  If I don’t see something within 10 days, I will go buy some live plants. Maybe I should have done that anyway? Oh well, hindsight is 20-20.

The Rejuvenated Planter Box

It will be exciting when the Balloon flowers open in a few weeks. They bloom all year long with some easy deadheading. I hope the backdrop of the hollyhocks go well with them. I think alyssum covering the soil will be just right. And it will smell good too!

Wishing you all the colors of a spring garden! Let’s get digging!

Balloon Flowers in my replanted box


  1. Hi Kim,

    One of the first hypertufas I bought cracked over the winter and looks ratty so I need to try and repair and replant it so this is so timely for me. Thanks for sharing!

    1. That is a shame, but you can possibly repair it. I have repaired a broken one with a concrete adhesive. I think it was from “Liquid Nails.” It worked for me. I used a white one without thinking it through, so I had a white seam. But I liked it anyway.

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