Post navigation

Articles, Gardening

Beginner’s Guide to Transplanting Plants

By Sunny Datko

Transplanting Guide

transplanting plants beginner's guideAt some point in the growth of your plants, you will have to consider moving your young, developing plants on to the next stage: a bigger pot, cube, or basket.  This is called transplanting.  Transplanting is often considered the second most stressful event of a plant’s life, cloning being the first; however, there are many things we can do to minimize or even eliminate this stress.

Before you remove the plant from its existing pot, prepare the new medium and be sure the environment is forgiving. If transplanting to an inert medium (e.g. soilless mixes, coconut coir, rockwool, or hydroton) it’s important to pre-load the medium with some nutrition. For cuttings this should be a fairly weak nutrient solution. Adding B1 vitamins and mycorrhizal fungi may also help ease transplant shock. A good tip is to try adding some seaweed extract, which contains natural hormones and plant growth regulators that help stimulate root growth and reduce transplant shock.

For optimal results it’s important to transplant at just the right time. For clones this is when they have been fully hardened off and preferably have plenty of air-pruned roots showing from the cube or pellet. For more mature plants this is when the roots have fully filled the pot or cube but haven’t become root bound.

When transplanting, follow these simple steps

1. Prepare the new medium for use – Add any desired amendments and/or beneficial microorganisms. Wet the medium with the same level of plant food that you used to grow the plant until this point (you may wish to add a drop or two of B1 vitamins to the solution). Make sure the soil is completely saturated with your water-fertilizer solution, leaving no pockets of dry soil but not dripping wet either. The idea is to help moisten and settle the medium, lowering the risk of transplant shock.

2. Fill the growing containers about halfway to two-thirds full with pre-moistened growing medium. Leave a slight bowl shape at the bottom for the new plant.

3. Gently remove the plant from its previous container. Place your hand over the top of the container, keeping the stem between the thumb and fingers. Turn the container over and carefully ease it off the plant.  If the grow media is hardened or stuck, you can use a butter knife to help loosen it.

4. Carefully loosen the root ball with a finger or a fork, but be careful not to cause any root damage. Tease out the roots and unwind circling roots.  If you find any dead or damaged roots, use pruning shears to trim them off.

5. Center the plant in the new, larger container, making sure it’s upright and that all the roots are pointing down. Plant it at a depth of half an inch from the top of the pot, and no deeper than the top of the root ball. If you plant it too deep, it will rot, and too high, it will dry out. Gently push soil or soilless media around it. Make sure the top of the soil or soilless media is intact and isn’t cracking apart in lines, exposing the roots.

6. Water the plant lightly with a fertilizer solution until the water runs out of the bottom of the pot. Allow the pot to drain completely before placing it in its permanent location.  Make sure the soil is saturated, but not soggy.  This will help settle the media and give it good contact with the roots.

7. After transplanting, your plants will need time to adjust and re-establish their root systems. They must get sufficient water, but not yet the full amount of light. Keep the light schedule the same as it was in the previous phase for one week (example: if moving from vegetative to bloom phase, keep HID lights on an 18 or 24 hour light schedule for the first week before adjusting to 12/12.  Also raise lights at least 4-5 feet above the plant for 1000-watt bulbs and 3-4 feet for 600-watt bulbs).  After one week, the plants can go under the full light of the HID lamps.

Additional Transplanting Tips

If using loose growing media, place it gently into a pre-dug hole and gently backfill the hole and consolidate the media around the plant. Be careful not to compact the media (especially if using soil) when you back-fill the hole, but make sure you haven’t left any large air pockets. Then lightly water again to really settle the media around the newly transplanted specimen.

Some fast-growing plants, like the tomatoes, can go from a small pot into a quite large pot and they’ll do just fine. They grow a large root system, and the roots grow pretty fast, so they do well in larger containers.  Other plants, such as some of the edible herbs, might need to be treated a little more carefully. If you move them to too large of a pot too soon, the soil can stay too wet and the roots will rot. This can kill the plant. Potting up in stages can help reduce this risk and produce a healthier plant with a denser root mass. “Potting up” is simply the process of planting seedlings in a larger container so that their roots have more room to grow.

As a rough guide for many fast-growing vegetables, freshly rooted cuttings and seedlings will thrive if they are transplanted from a 2” to a 1 gallon sized pot and later into a 3 or 5-gallon pot. A good rule of thumb for high-energy crops is to transplant the plant into a container that is double the size of the current one, or larger.  Be careful not to overwater new transplants, as this can impair root development.

rockwool transplantingWith a hydroponic medium like rockwool the same basic principles apply.  Soak the cube or slab beforehand with distilled water or for better efficiency, use Europonic Rockwool Conditioner. Maintain a temperature of 68°F (20°C) for 24 hours, and then drain off the excess nutrient solution.  The plant should be placed on a slab or into a larger cube or container when many roots are beginning to poke out the bottom of the existing cube. You can pull the plastic wrapper aside and check to see if there are plenty of roots showing. Again, you don’t want them to be circling the cube.

To use rockwool slabs, start by cutting an X in the plastic on top that is the same size as the cube your plant is rooted in. Next, lift the plastic tabs you created from making the X and place your cube between the tabs on top of the slab. Lastly, cut a few slits in the bottom so excess nutrient solution has a place to drain. Don’t try cutting up your rockwool slab to make mini-cubes; it’ll just fall apart. Instead, if you need small rockwool cubes, buy them.

82 thoughts on “Beginner’s Guide to Transplanting Plants

  • After looking into a number of the blog articles
    on your web page, I really like your technique of writing a blog.
    I bookmarked it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back
    in the near future. Please check out my website as well and let
    me know your opinion.

  • I have been surfing online more than 4 hours today,
    yet I never found any interesting article like yours.
    It is pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all web owners and
    bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be much more useful than ever before.

  • Hey there! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers?
    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing several
    weeks of hard work due to no back up. Do you have any methods to stop hackers?

  • Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for your blog.
    You have some really good posts and I believe I would be a good asset.
    If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d really like to write some
    material for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine.
    Please shoot me an e-mail if interested. Regards!

  • I am really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout
    on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself?

    Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a nice blog like
    this one these days.

  • Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article.
    I will make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the
    post. I’ll certainly return.

  • Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and I to
    find It really useful & it helped me out a lot. I am hoping
    to provide something back and help others like you helped me.

  • First of all I would like to say superb blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your thoughts before writing.
    I have had difficulty clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out there.

    I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes
    are generally lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any
    recommendations or hints? Many thanks!

  • Woah! I’m really loving the template/theme of
    this website. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s
    hard to get that “perfect balance” between usability and appearance.
    I must say that you’ve done a very good job with this. In addition, the blog loads very fast
    for me on Chrome. Superb Blog!

  • Thank you for any other informative website. Where
    else may I get that kind of info written in such an ideal
    manner? I have a mission that I am just now running on, and I have been on the glance out for such information.

  • I blog frequently and I genuinely thank you for your information. The article has truly peaked
    my interest. I am going to bookmark your website and keep checking
    for new information about once per week. I subscribed to
    your RSS feed as well.

  • Every weekend i used to go to see this website, because
    i want enjoyment, for the reason that this this web site conations in fact pleasant funny stuff too.

  • Your style is very unique compared to other people I’ve read stuff from.
    I appreciate you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess
    I will just book mark this site.

  • I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog
    and was curious what all is needed to get setup?
    I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost
    a pretty penny? I’m not very web smart so
    I’m not 100% positive. Any tips or advice would be greatly
    appreciated. Kudos

  • My brother recommended I may like this web site. He was entirely right.
    This submit actually made my day. You cann’t imagine simply how a lot time I had
    spent for this info! Thanks!

  • It is in point of fact a great and useful piece of information. I’m glad that you
    simply shared this helpful information with us.
    Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  • What i do not understood is if truth be told how you are now not actually much more neatly-preferred than you
    might be now. You are so intelligent. You understand therefore significantly in relation to this topic,
    made me for my part believe it from a lot of varied angles.

    Its like men and women are not fascinated unless it’s one
    thing to accomplish with Lady gaga! Your personal stuffs great.
    Always take care of it up!

  • Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your site and in accession capital to assert that I acquire actually enjoyed account your blog posts.
    Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feeds and
    even I achievement you access consistently fast.

  • Great post. I used to be checking continuously this
    blog and I am impressed! Extremely useful info particularly the last part 🙂 I take care of
    such info a lot. I was seeking this particular information for a
    very long time. Thanks and good luck.

  • I was suggested this blog by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by
    him as no one else know such detailed about my difficulty.
    You’re amazing! Thanks!

  • My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find a lot
    of your post’s to be exactly I’m looking for. Would
    you offer guest writers to write content available for you?
    I wouldn’t mind creating a post or elaborating on a number of the subjects you write with regards to here.
    Again, awesome weblog!

  • No matter if some one searches for his vital thing, therefore he/she desires to be available
    that in detail, therefore that thing is maintained over here.

  • If some one needs expert view concerning blogging and site-building after that i advise him/her to visit this website, Keep up the good

  • A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment.
    There’s no doubt that that you need to publish more on this
    topic, it might not be a taboo subject but generally folks don’t speak about these topics.
    To the next! Cheers!!

  • Hello, Neat post. There is a problem with
    your site in internet explorer, might test this?
    IE nonetheless is the marketplace leader and a large part of other
    people will leave out your wonderful writing
    due to this problem.

  • Do you have a spam problem on this site; I also am a blogger, and I was curious about your situation; we have created some nice methods and we are looking
    to swap techniques with other folks, why not shoot me an e-mail if interested.

  • We stumbled over here from a different web address and thought I may
    as well check things out. I like what I see so i am just following you.
    Look forward to finding out about your web page again.

  • I do accept as true with all of the ideas you have presented on your post.

    They’re very convincing and can certainly work.

    Still, the posts are too brief for beginners.
    Could you please prolong them a bit from subsequent time?
    Thank you for the post.

  • I like the helpful info you provide to your articles.
    I will bookmark your weblog and check once more right here frequently.
    I’m quite sure I’ll learn many new stuff proper right here!
    Best of luck for the next!

  • Undeniably believe that which you said. Your favorite justification appeared to be
    on the web the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to
    you, I certainly get irked while people think about
    worries that they plainly don’t know about. You managed to
    hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people could take a signal.
    Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

  • Excellent article. Keep posting such kind of info on your blog.
    Im really impressed by your blog.
    Hey there, You’ve done a fantastic job.
    I will certainly digg it and in my opinion suggest to
    my friends. I am confident they’ll be benefited
    from this website.

  • What’s Happening i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It
    absolutely useful and it has aided me out loads. I’m
    hoping to contribute & aid other customers like its helped me.
    Good job.

  • whoah this weblog is great i like reading your articles.

    Stay up the great work! You already know, lots of persons are looking round for this
    information, you can help them greatly.

  • I seriously love your website.. Excellent colors & theme.
    Did you make this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as I’m planning to create my own site and would love to find out
    where you got this from or just what the theme is named. Thank you!

  • whoah this weblog is fantastic i love reading your posts. Keep up the great work!
    You realize, many people are searching round for this information, you could help them greatly.

  • hello!,I really like your writing so a lot!
    percentage we be in contact more about your article on AOL?

    I require a specialist on this area to solve my problem. Maybe that is you!
    Taking a look ahead to look you.

  • I’m impressed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s
    both educative and entertaining, and without a doubt, you
    have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that not enough folks are speaking intelligently about.

    I am very happy I found this during my search for something concerning this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.