In the first year after planting on-farm trials, clove seedlings which had been grown in the nursery in polythene bags showed marginally better survival and larger increases in height than normal nursery seedlings lifted by chiselling. Seedlings which were lifted by coreing showed no consistently better survival or growth than chiselled seedlings and coreing was a more labour-intensive method. Overall, mulching seedlings in the field with coconut husk caused larger improvements in seedling survival than raising them in polythene bags or coreing them at lifting. Under Research Station conditions, seedlings raised in polythene bags and watered daily in the nursery, survived significantly better in the field and showed larger increases in height across a range of treatments than chiselled seedlings. In the same experiment, seedling survival was not improved by planting a cassava shade crop before, rather than at the same time as the cloves, nor by mulching with coconut husk; a mulch of weeds decreased seedling survival.