Transplanting Plant Suckers A How To

This post is about Transplanting Plant Suckers. We describe what a sucker is, the difference between a sucker and rooted cuttings and how to transplant suckers.


I have a number of elderberry plants at my Pasadena, MD homestead.  There is one in particular that not only has loads of fruits, but also has loads of suckers every year.

Transplanting Plant Suckers

Transplanting Plant Suckers

What’s a Sucker?

A sucker in plant terms is a new plant that pops up from the roots of the existing plant.  Sometimes this is caused by a damaged root.  Other times it is just one of the ways a plant propagates.  That is the case for elderberries.  All of my elderberries propagate via suckers, but the Adam’s elderberry has a lot of suckers.

Rooted Cutting

Suckers are not rooted cuttings.  A rooted cutting is when you cut softwood, semi-softwood, or hardwood branches off of the plant and then put it in the ground.  If that cutting produces roots and begins to grow, it is called a rooted cutting.

Transplanting Plant Suckers

When transplanting plant suckers, you want enough of the root to keep the plant alive, but not so much of the root that you harm the original plant or that the root is so big that it is cumbersome to work with.  I try to get the root system without disturbing much of the soil around the roots that I’m taking the sucker from.

Transplanting Plant Suckers

Trim the Top

You will also want to trim off some of the plant canopy.  I usually try to get about five to six inches of roots and only have about five to six inches of branches with leaves.  By trimming off some of the canopy it helps prevent shocking the plant and allows it to build a strong root system of its own.

Selling Suckers

I will be selling plant suckers on Great Escape Nursery.  I will make sure to differentiate between rooted cuttings and suckers, so keep an eye out for each in the spring.

Transplanting Plant Suckers

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