So you’ve chosen your seeds or clipped your clones, and you’ve patiently waited while they spent the last week germinating; their roots have sprouted, and they need more space. It is time to transplant. Transplanting cannabis means moving your plant from one growing container into a larger one.
Aside from the cannabis plants’ genetics, the size of the container you grow in and the method in which you train your plant (when done correctly) could give you an extra ounce or two of cured cannabis off of each plant per harvest.
If you take the time to nurture your babies, they will provide for you an abundance of killer cannabis. This guide hopes to inform you of why transplanting is important, why container size does play a significant role in growing your plants, techniques you can use to transplant your girls successfully, as well as tips on how to train your plant to max out your yield.
Why should you give a damn about transplanting?
When you were born, you didn’t wear the same size pants as you do now, right? Imagine: “My baby is only 1 year old but he wears size 34 jeans because he’ll grow into them one day.” That’s straight up illogical. The same can be said for your cannabis plants. Your clones or baby seedlings should start off in a baby-sized pot.
Two words: root rot. Planting your cannabis clones or seedlings into a large pot solely to skip past the transplanting process is careless and lazy. Your plant’s roots will not absorb all of the moisture because of being stuck in too much soil and will eventually rot.
This is why most growers start small and will do a second transplant later on into what is called finishing pots. (Get it? They are “finished” growing in these pots).
The biggest limitation for a cannabis plant grown in pots is the ability to expand their roots. When a plant’s roots do not have enough room to grow the plant starts to show signs of what is called root bound. Roots grow by expanding and developing, which in turn allows your cannabis plant to flourish.
In order for your plant to reach its maximum growth potential, it needs room for its roots to grow. Nutrient deficiency/sensitivity, discoloration/ reddening of the stem, flimsy/weak growth, and poor flower production are all signs that your plant needs to be transplanted into a bigger pot.
How to Not Suck at Transplanting Cannabis
Transplanting. Sounds risky, right? There are some risks involved, but when executed correctly, transplanting your cannabis plants will help them develop a stronger root system and lead to enhanced flower production. If you are a beginner, plan for some expected loss or delays when you transplant. Shock can lead to stunted growth and sometimes even the death of a cannabis seedling or clone. Throughout your grow, you may need to transplant a few different times.
Get your shit together (all your shit):
- Seedlings or clones
- Solo cups or pots (containers)
- 10-gallon pots
- Professional mix soil
- Nutrient Program
The Start of Your Grow
Whether you are growing from cannabis seedling or clone, your first transplant will most likely be into a red solo cup. If you are growing more than one strain, be sure to label your cups with the strain name.
First, poke good-sized drainage holes in the bottom of each cup before you begin to transplant. Ideally, you want water to be able to drain after you have packed soil into the cup. Next, add water to your soil mixture to create a rich base for your plants to grow in. Then, take a handful of the mixture and fill your solo cup or small container. Finally, leaving space for your seedling or clone, make a thumb-sized hole in the packed soil and place your plant in it.
If you have checked the roots and they have taken up most of the container with healthy roots, it is okay to transplant. Sanitary is primary. Make sure you wear gloves or wash your hands so you do not contaminate your roots-they are delicate!
Pro Tip: Keep in mind that you should not water your plants right before transplanting. Refraining from watering allows the soil to be a little more sticky and it will hold together better when you are removing the plant from your solo cup or starter container.
Be gentle! Do not damage the roots. When roots are disturbed or agitated, the plant goes into shock. Intense lighting during transplanting can also send your plant into shock too. A healthy root system is a robust root system. It also means your plant is being well fed and will grow successfully. When it is time to transplant your babies from their solo cups into a standard 10-gallon pot the plant’s root system will be very long.
Once your 10-gallon pot ( or container of your choice) has been filled with your soil mixture and you have made a solo-cup sized hole, gently give your plant a push upwards from the bottom of your cup and squeeze the plant out. Next, twirl the clone in a clockwise motion to easily place the roots into the pot without tangling or damaging them. Finally, softly pack more soil into the pot and around your seedling or clone.
Transplanting for Vegetation
For a typical grow, transplanting into a 10-gallon pot may be the final transplant. If you intend on growing a large plant, you may opt to transplant once more into a finishing pot right before the flowering stage. Always be sure your cannabis plant has maxed-out its current container before you transplant into a larger size.
A mother cannabis plant is one that stays in the vegetation state in order to produce clones. Transplanting into larger pots is an ongoing process when you keep your plant in a vegetative state for cloning purposes.
Note: Do not over-pack your soil (or other growing medium) into your container as it can damage your root system and inhibit proper drainage. Also, keep an eye on your plants for signs of root bound and distress.
Your plant’s final home is a finishing pot. This is where it will begin its flowering stage and also will be the biggest plant pot (container) that you use during your grow. It is highly important to have your cannabis plants in their finishing pots before the flowering cycle begins.
Each time you correctly transplant, you gain a notch on your home grower’s belt. The amazing benefits of mastering the technique of transplanting will also enhance your yield come harvest time. The pots you choose to grow with can make or break your grow.
There are many styles and customization when it comes to the options of containers today. For me, 10-gallon pots are what works, but for you that could be completely different. Your grow style will be different than mine or any other growers. That’s what makes growing your own special. Your routine, your grow medium, your container choice are all unique to how you, the grower, envisions his crop.
Just like the strain of cannabis you choose to grow is highly important to the outcome of your yield, transplanting is important. Knowing how, when, and why your transplant cannabis will enable you to master this technique so you every grow you start is successful. In the next part of our ‘grow’ series, we discuss how training and monitoring your grow increases your chances of maxing out your harvest and producing a higher yield.
Growing Cannabis Part 1: Seeds and Clones