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How To Transplant Marijuana Plants

Growing Cannabis and Transplanting

Written by Neal Brown . Updated: March 16, 2021

Transplanting Marijuana Plants

When growers plant their marijuana seeds, they typically use small pots called starter cups or peat pots to get them started. There is a good reason for this decision, as using a huge pot can leave tiny plants in the earliest stages of vegetative growth unable to absorb enough of the moisture from the soil to avoid problems like root rot. By far the best solution is to start the cannabis plants in small pots, then transplant them into larger containers when growing indoors or raised garden beds outside.

Unfortunately, transplanting can be dangerous to the plants when the process is not performed correctly. Handling the plant improperly can cause root damage, or the plants could go into transplant shock. Failing to transplant them from smaller pots has even more detrimental effects, though, as it causes them to become rootbound, which severely stunts their growth. This article will offer insight into everything novice growers need to know about the transplanting process to avoid damaging their 420 or 710 plants and ensure a healthy, heavy yield at the end of the season.

When to Transplant

All marijuana plants need to be transplanted at least once in their lives. For the first transplant, you will wait until the new seedlings have established sturdy root systems and entered the vegetative stage. Each plant should have at least four or five sets of leaves, a small but firm stem, and a sufficient root system to support further growth.

Indoor growers in Maine or Vermont who use starter cups will begin to see the roots poking through the bottom, while those who use peat pots will see them growing up against the mesh. At this point, the plants will not be as susceptible to transplant shock and are ready to start focusing their energy on vegetative growth.

Some other indoor growers transplant their marijuana plants multiple times throughout the vegetative stage. This saves space in the grow room and helps to avoid problems with excess soil moisture. Growers who want to transplant their marijuana plants progressively into larger pots should check frequently for signs that the plants are becoming rootbound. Here are a few warning signs a plant is becoming rootbound:

  • Frequent watering
  • Stunted growth
  • Stretching stems
  • Flimsy new growth
  • Nutrient sensitivity
  • Wilting
  • Stem discoloration

Indoor growers from Michigan to California typically transplant their plants for the last time around two weeks before they induce flowering. Once marijuana plants enter the flowering stage, they direct almost all their energy into bud production. They prepare to make that switch during the last two weeks of vegetative growth by creating more substantial root systems and heavier foliage.

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