Transplanting cannabis is vital to growing healthy, high-yielding weed plants. Transplanting is the process of moving a plant from either one grow medium to another or changing the plant’s container from a smaller pot to a larger pot. The practice gives the roots of the marijuana plant more space to develop, helping to make larger branches, bigger buds, and an overall healthier plant.
- Why transplant your cannabis plant
- When to transplant cannabis plants
- How to transplant cannabis
- Cannabis transplanting aftercare
Transplanting cannabis plants can seem scary, especially when you take transplant shock into account. However, if you learn how to transplant diligently, you don’t have to worry about killing or stressing your marijuana plants out. In this article, I’ll explain the why, how, when, and why behind transplanting cannabis.
Why transplant your cannabis plant
Transplanting marijuana has plenty of benefits, including improved root system development and a larger yielding, overall healthier plant. As the roots extend and develop, they’ll gradually take up more and more space in the soil. The extra space helps them absorb as many nutrients as possible. Roots continue to grow until they take up nearly the entirety of the pot they’re in, leading us to transplant.
In summary, giving your plant’s roots more space to continue growing helps take up more nutrients, leading to more branches and more prominent flowers. When you transplant cannabis from too small a pot to a larger one, the plant’s health increases substantially.
What is cannabis transplant shock?
Transplant shock refers to the stress a plant endures when moved from one grow medium or container to another. Some symptoms of transplant shock include yellowing and browning leaves, wilting, and a weakened immune system. These symptoms are similar to over/underfeeding and nutrient deficiency; you’ll know it’s due to transplanting because of the timing.
There’s no real way to avoid transplant shock, but you can prepare your plant by preparing your new container. Create a hole cut out in your soil approximately the same size as the pot you’re transplanting from. Once you have that opened up, start with moistened, not overwatered, soil.
Typically, transplanting cannabis can happen once or twice before it becomes detrimental to your plant’s health. The amount of stress and transplanting cannabis seedlings can withstand depends on their growing conditions and the genetics you’re running. I recommend you transplant weed plants only one or two times max in order to reduce stress.
Does sugar water help transplant shock recovery? (or is this a myth?)
Sugar water DOES NOT help transplant shock; there is no merit to the claim that it does. Sugar water can actually block the reuptake of nutrients from your plant’s roots, making their shock even worse.
When to transplant cannabis plants
Knowing when to transplant cannabis seedlings comes down to seeing the signs and understanding the way your plants grow. If your plant stops growing as fast as it did initially, the leaves are yellowing and wilting, and you can see roots coming from the bottom of the pot; it’s time to transplant. Transplanting is ideal during the vegetative stage. This gives your plant time to recover from the shock. It’s similar to a young person breaking a bone versus an elderly individual, one heals quickly, and the other tends to have trouble recovering.
Transplanting too soon or too late
Transplanting your plants too soon may cause transplant shock, which can stunt their growth. Transplanting too late can result in a rootbound plant, stunting growth and reducing yields. When a plant is rootbound, it means the roots have developed to the point where they can’t expand and are stuck within the confines of the container.
Check out our Marijuana Grow Bible for more info on setting your plants up for success!
Should I transplant at night or day?
Transplanting during the day keeps your plants from being “woken up” and disturbed when they’re in a recovery phase. At the same time, it provides light and nutrition to combat their stress.
Can I transplant during flower?
Yes, you can transplant during flower, but any disruption to the healthy root system will negatively impact its growth and bud size. I recommend planning ahead of time. Put your plant into a larger pot when it’s in its vegetative stage; that way, you don’t risk shocking the plant while in flower.
How to transplant cannabis
Knowing how to transplant marijuana and what steps to take for a successful transplant that minimizes shock will make all the difference in how your plant turns out. You won’t need much in terms of supplies, just soil and a larger pot for you to transplant to. You’ll also need a clean workspace to work in and hold your soil, as well as plants and pots. For our example, I’ll use 1-gallon and 4-gallon pots as our two containers to transplant between:
1. Prep both your old and new pot
When preparing your new pot for transplanting, fill the bottom 25%-50% of the 4-gallon pot with soil, then place your 1-gallon pot into the 4-gallon to understand how deep your plant will need in the soil. If the pot doesn’t have any drainage holes at the bottom, take a drill and make some. This is to ensure proper drainage in your pot.
2. Take your plant out of the 1-gallon pot
Lightly squeeze each side of your 1-gallon pot while holding your plant at the base where the stalk meets the soil. Gently pull the plant out of the container so you can transplant it.
3. Lightly water your new container and place your plant in
Apply a light amount of water to your 4-gallon pot to soften the soil, then place your plant in the soil. Add additional soil to close any gaps and cover any roots.
4. Water your plant and give her light
Give your plant a normal feeding and put her in some light so she can absorb the energy to repair herself from transplant shock. The best way to minimize transplant shock is to avoid moving your plant and changing anything about its schedule or environment.
Cannabis transplanting aftercare
Preparing for and dealing with the aftercare from a plant experiencing transplant shock is vital to ensuring healthy plants for the rest of your grow cycle. Lightly watering the soil in your larger container before transplanting is important because it softens the soil and makes it more malleable for the plants’ roots to move.
Do not water your smaller pot prior to transplanting; this will make it messy when pulling your plant from its pot. However, it’s important to water afterward to soften the soil of the transplanted plant. Don’t hesitate to use nutrients after transplanting; recovering plants eagerly seek nutrients to help mend any damage. Phosphorus and Potassium, the P-K in the N-P-K nutrient ratio, are particularly well equipped for helping with root development after stress.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Transplanting
It’s equally important to understand if and when to transplant cannabis and know what conditions call for having a plant in a smaller container or starting it in its final container. While growing indoors, I recommend starting in a smaller 1-gallon pot so there isn’t the need to transfer the plant between 3 pots. As you see the plant move on from seedling growth, and as the root ball grows, transplant it into a larger pot.
Check out our article on indoor vs outdoor weed if you want to know more about the differences in each type of plant.
With outdoor growing, I typically recommend starting with the seedling in the same container that you’ll harvest it in. This is similar to how we would seed autoflowering cannabis plants. That way, you don’t need to worry about shock issues while the plant is exposed to the elements and other threats to its health. Your plant may also experience shock from being brought outside if you went through the vegetative stage indoors. That’s why starting the plant outside is a good way to minimize shock. The best way to get ahead when growing outdoors is to ensure you have a good weather season and a healthy plant to grow.
Our free little Harvest Guide will help you determine the best moment to transplant your marijuana plants. Download it now!
Transplanting cannabis is crucial in growing cannabis plants that are healthy and high-yielding. Transplanting promotes root development, leading to bigger branches, bigger buds, and an overall healthier plant.
Transplanting can be scary, but it won’t stress or kill plants if done diligently. It’s equally important to understand when to transplant, depending on growing conditions, and how to do it correctly to minimize transplant shock. Transplanting too soon or too late can result in stunted growth and limit it to one or two transplants to reduce stress on the plant. If you follow the steps I outlined in this article, you will be ready to transplant in no time!
Get going growing!