Transplanting Your Weed Plants With Minimal Stress Possible

Transplanting is a crucial step in the weed growing process. You’ll need to consider when your plants are ready for transplant, where your permanent grow site will be, and what is the best technique for moving your plants.

Transplanting is considered a necessary evil for weed growers, mostly because it can seem pretty difficult at first. However: it is a task that just about anyone can accomplish! In this article, we will cover the reasons why transplanting is so important and some pieces of advice that will help you with your transplanting.

The importance of transplanting

Transplanting is best accomplished once a solid root system has been established. This is simply because the plant will shift its main “focus” from growing its roots to growing its foliage, meaning it’s important to change its location to a place that is more suited for that type of growth. This is when it is crucial to move your weed plants, no matter what method you used to begin your plants’ growth.

The tricky thing about transplanting is that even a tiny error could lead to big problems — or, worse yet, utter failure. This is why research and self-education are so important, as is proper preparation. Perhaps most important is the location that your plants will be moved to. It needs to be ideal for the plant to live out the rest of its life — as well as to avoid another transplant.

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It is simply impossible to grow your plants in little containers for their entire lives, so transplanting is a necessary evil. If you do make a mistake while transplanting, it could lead to discoloration, leaf withering, and leaf death. Sometimes the plant itself could drop dead. This is why it is of the utmost importance that you are well-prepared before you begin the transplantation process. All in all, it is a risk worth taking, as the benefit far outweighs the potential for disaster.

Indoor vs. outdoor transplanting of weed plants

When transplanting time comes around, you can no longer avoid deciding where exactly you will have your plants live permanently. The location is very important to the overall success of your weed plants, as well as how secure your growing operation will remain. One decision you’ll need to make is whether to grow indoors or outdoors. There are pros and cons to both options, but in the end it all depends on your personal preferences and lifestyle.

For those who like to be more hands-on with their growing operation, it is probably best to grow indoors. You can grow your plants in larger containers indoors, and you will be able to ensure the proper amounts of light, heat, humidity, water, and temperature. That being said, growing indoors requires more time, more resources, and more money. Your plants will be completely dependent upon you so you will need to be up to the task.

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Growers who would like their operations to be more natural or who are growing on a budget will likely prefer to grow their plants outdoors. While this makes things easier on the wallet and your schedule, it also comes with a new set of risks: both security and environmental. Special care needs to be taken to make sure it’s a location where your weed plants can thrive, but also where you won’t get caught tending to them.

Timing your weed transplant

You will know it’s time to transplant your weed plants once their roots have grown as much as they can within their containers.

If you don’t transplant your plants in time they might get rootbound. Rootbound means that the roots have grown all the way around the edges and bottom of the container because it is nog big enough. Your plant will not grow any more until you transplant it to a larger container.

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The following symptoms are signs that your plant is rootbound:

  • Stunted Growth
  • Stretching
  • Smaller and slower bud production
  • Needs watering too often
  • Easy to burn with low % nutrient solution mixtures
  • Wilting
  • Red stems
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It’s best to transplant when your plants are growing leaves at a faster rate, and their stems are firming up. This means that they are now growing vegetatively and the time for transplanting has come.

How to transplant your weed plants

You can avoid stressing out your plants if you use care when transplanting. You may not be able to completely eliminate transplant stress, but by transplanting correctly you will mitigate as much stress as possible.

The details of how to perform the transplant will depend on where you are transplanting. If you are putting them into larger pots, for instance, it’s important to ensure that the pots are at least 4 gallons in volume or more. Moving your plants outdoors, on the other hand, involves digging a hole that is bigger than the containers your plants are currently living in.

The key to a successful transplant is to keep the same soil they are growing in with the plant when you make the transplant. This will limit the severity of the shock of the transplant, helping your plant gradually get used to the new situation. 

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Transplanting Indoor Grow

Put your hand on the soil, with the stem between two fingers. Put your other hand underneath the plant. You simply have to flip the container upside-down so that the entire contents of the pot fall into your previously top hand. Discard (or move away) the container, then replace your hand below the bottom of the pot’s contents. Have your new containers prepped and ready to go. They should be filled with your favorite growing media already and the media should be leveled, loose, and at the same temperature as the media in the pots you’re transplanting from.

Transplanting Outdoor

Once you have removed your plants from the container, place your plants into the holes you have dug. Carefully place your plants into the root holes you dug out. Take care not to damage your roots. After they’re placed, fill with soil or growing media and gently compress. Water them in well, because one of the biggest reasons for transplant shock is a lack of watering.

Transplanting Autoflowers

Things are different when it comes to transplanting autoflowering cannabis. Autoflowers have a preset life cycle and only veg for about 3–4 weeks before flowering. With this limited lifespan, autoflowers don’t have the time to recover from transplant shock. Days of growth lost to stress mean diminished yields. Therefore, you should sow your autoflowering seeds directly into their final pots.

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A good pot size for autoflowers is generally around 11–12 litres. You may also get by with somewhat smaller pots (7–8 liters), but your yields will be appropriately reduced.

Transplanting advice for your weed plants

There are a few key elements that need to be remembered when performing a transplantation. First of all, don’t water the plants for one or two days before you plan to transplant. When you do transplant the plants, be cautious of the roots — simply avoid making contact with them at all. The more they are disturbed, the more trouble you are going to have with your plant’s growth later.

After you have transplanted your weed plants, make sure to water them immediately. Include only half a dose of nutrients rather than the full dosage. It is also a good idea to keep your plants away from intense amounts of sunlight for the first day or two after the transplant.

A good way to go about transplanting is to keep your babies in seedling containers until they’ve each developed at least three nodes. At this point, you can transplant your specimens into larger pots until they double in size.

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Typically, you will transplant a (photoperiod) plant 2–3 times. Re-potting more frequently isn’t recommended as transplanting causes significant stress.

Use nutrients that are only half-strength in your water, and water your plant immediately after its transplant.

There are a lot of helpful additives you can use when transplanting to mitigate transplant shock, boost root production, or help your plants in other ways.

Avoid hitting your plant with intense light in the first one or two days directly after the transplant.

Replace any soil or media that has washed away.  Because you are watering aggressively, you may have washed away some soil or growing media. Simply replace it to cover up any roots that are laid bare.

When some simple measures are taken to lower risk of transplant shock, you should have a highly successful transplant and harvest.

[Update, originally published 20.1.2017]

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