A couple of years ago, when I was volunteering in the annuals greenhouse at the Royal Botanical Garden, I got to do all sorts of different tasks. At one point during the winter, my job involved taking flats filled with delicate little seedlings and separating them into their own pots. Guess what my most valuable tool was? A chopstick. One of the volunteers taught me a chopstick tip to gently separate seedlings that are growing too closely together.
This may seem so elementary, but for me it was super helpful at home. I’ve always used tweezers to pull out seedlings and then discarded them. But you don’t have to let all those extra seedlings go to waste. You can transplant them all into their own pots, which is what we did in the greenhouse as we prepped for a plant sale.
This is especially helpful for tiny flower seeds that are hard to see. You can just scatter them in one pot and then worry about separating out the strongest of the bunch later. Sometimes I’ll put one in a pot, but for tinier plants, I’ll separate out maybe two or three wee little plants.
Here’s my super duper chopstick tip
That’s it! Stupid easy, but a trick I found to be incredibly useful.
Related post: Repotting seedlings 101
Love this tip! I’ve been using a chopstick when sowing seeds for a long time, but didn’t think to use one when transplanting – Thanks!
Tara Nolan says
You’re welcome, Margaret! Happy transplanting! 🙂
geo L says
I prefer a plastic fork for scooping some seedlings out of a pot, and broader separation, then an 8 penny common nail for detail work – which is also tool of choice for preparing root bound plants for planting.
CD Greier says
And I always use a blunt pencil-plenty of those laying around!
This is the kind of tip I ve been looking for. But in the photo and description it’s not clear how you pry them apart? Do you mean by sticking the chopstick in the soil or what…..??
Tara Nolan says
Hi Sarah, I just kind of place it between the seedlings to loosen the soilless mix and to gently tease them apart with out ripping them. You could also use two to do this.
Alan Prifogle says
Thanks for the tip. Thinking outside the box or in this case the pot!