What is Transplanting?
Transplanting is the phrase used to describe the process of moving your germinated cutting or seedling into its final pot. It is essential to transplant your plants when they begin to outgrow their pots. Transplanting or Repotting is essential as it allows your plant’s root system to expand even more and create a healthy foundation for your young plants.
When should I Transplant?
It is vital to ensure that your plants are only repotted when they are ready. This can be difficult to determine but is important for your plant’s health. If they are transplanted too early, they can be stressed which can stunt growth for a short period of time, too late and you could cause extremely detrimental damage to the vulnerable root systems. The main way to tell if your plants need to be repotted is if you can see the roots escaping the bottom of the plant pot or Rockwool cube. Make sure to look at the roots as this is the best way of knowing if they are ready for this process!
It can also be important to pay attention to the colouring of your plant’s leaves. Leaves turn yellow when they are nutrient deficient but it can also be a sign that your plants have become root bound meaning that your plant has outgrown it’s container and has locked itself in. Unfortunately plants that are root bound are difficult to transplant because if the roots have locked themselves to the pot, pulling the plant out of that environment may cause the roots to snap and become damage, putting the plant into instant shock. The root systems of any plant are incredibly fragile and delicate and you should always handle them with care.
How to Transplant.
- Check for roots.
First of all ensure that your plant really is ready for this process, the aim is to transfer from one container to another. If you have germinated in Rockwool cubes then it should be quite easy to see when the roots have outgrown the block. If you have germinated in a plant pot, check the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot to see if there are any roots visible. Don’t allow these roots to grow too long before making the transplant, other wise they run the risk of becoming root bound.
- Repot your plant
After checking your roots and making sure that your plants are ready, you can now carefully remove your plant from its old pot (if you are using Rockwool cubes you can place directly into a pot with a pre-prepared medium). The best way to do this is to place two fingers either side of the stem and flip the pot upside down into your hand, then slide off the pot, leaving the medium and plant in your hand. Make sure you have created a crater the size of your plant’s root system within the medium in the new pot. If you’d like to boost your root growth, now would be the time to add a root stimulator or mycorrhizae. Adding this is not necessary but will certainly help your plant establish thicker and healthier roots, allowing it to grow bigger and produce greater yields. Whilst transplanting try to ensure that the roots are not exposed to the air for too long, they will dry out and this will cause damage, stunting your plant’s growth, you must have sufficient humidity!
- Plant firmly
Once you have carefully placed you plant into its medium, cover the base and gently push the medium to expel any extra air that may be stuck. Be sure not to push down too hard as this may compact the roots making it harder for them to do what they need to do. Many people speculate about what size pot to use, some growers gradually increase the size of the pot and transplant when necessary, other growers prefer to germinate in the final pot. Its completely up to you and your plant’s needs! We recommend planting your seed into a smaller pot and then transferring directly to the final pot once ready.
- Water your plant!
The final step to transplanting is to give your plant every nutrient it will need. Transplanting can often stress plants no matter how mature, it is recommended to feed your plant immediately after transplanting to help it “settle in”. The nutrient feed you use at this stage depends on the size of your plant and the nutrients you are using. For more information on this, check the back of the nutrient bottles and follow the company’s guide. You must also ensure that you have created the perfect environment for your plant and to do this, feel free to check out our other article; “Handy Equipment Checklist for Indoor Growing.”