Transplanting young marijuana clones or seedlings is one of the first things novice gardeners need to master. Rooted cuttings are eager to stretch their new appendages and begin feeding. For these young plants the first transplant could be equated to a baby’s first taste of solid food. We put together a short transplanting video outlining some of the details listed below.
Clean and Sterilize
Transplanting is very simple but there are a few important things that can be easily overlooked. Start with new soil and clean pots to avoid contamination. Plastic pots reused from a previous grow should be sterilized using bleach or hydrogen-peroxide to remove any leftover biological residue that may introduce harmful fungus or insects. Marijuana clones from outside sources should be quarantined for a few days and carefully examined for pests and fungus before introducing them into your grow room. Dipping clones in a foliar pest and fungus control product works great to help prevent introducing new problems into your grow room.
- Use only fresh soil or growing medium
- Clean pots or sterilize used pots
- Quarantine clones from outside sources
- Treat clones for pests if needed
It’s important not to fill nursery pots all the way to the top. Instead leave some room for water to pool before it settles into the soil. When potting larger batches try to keep soil levels as uniform as possible. By filling all of the pot to the same level, each will have uniform water holding characteristics. Pots that may have been under filled hold less water and will dry out faster. Lighter soils tend to settle significantly after the first watering; so slightly compact the loose soil before planting the clone. I like to use the bottom of an extra pot to make this step go quickly. Avoid excessive soil compaction as this will hinder root growth and drainage. Remember to always water after transplanting, this helps settle the soil around the roots and removes any air pockets as well as helping to prevent shock.
- Fill all pots to the same level
- Leave a little space for water
- Avoid over compacting the soil
- Water thoroughly
Soil Amendments and Transplant Aids
Many of the soil amendments used in outdoor gardening can be skipped for plants grown indoors. One additive that should not be skipped is mycorrhizae which can easily be added when transplanting, and can help boost plant health. Mycorrhizae inoculates are normally a blend of beneficial fungi that develop a symbiotic relationship with the plant. Vitamin B1 is thought to reduce transplant shock and diluted1-Naphthalene acetic acid encourages root growth. These two ingredients have been conveniently mixed into a wonderful cocktail by Liquinox. There is some debate as to whether or not vitamin B1 actually works, and plenty of studies (PDF) suggest it doesn’t help.
It is important to transplant into the correct size pot. The clones roots will take some time to outgrow a small or medium pot. While it may save some work to transplant a clone directly into a large pot, this is not advised, especially for indoor growing. Large pots mean lots of soil from day 1 and there are some real disadvantages to this..
- Extra soil mean extra water and nutrients are needed to keep the soil at a consistent moister level. Until the roots have spread out, much of these nutrients will simply drain off and be wasted.
- Unused nutrients leave behind salts in the soil before the roots have even ventured into it; this can cause nutrient lockout problems later on.
- Extra moister in the soil means extra moister in the grow room; this will drive up the humidity potentially creating pest and fungus problems.
- Larger pots mean that your plants must be spaced out; this means you will either be using more lights, or that some plants are receiving less light.
Bare root clones from aeroponic cloning systems like the EZ Clone can be transplanted into soil in much the same manner as clones in rockwool. Handling bare root clones is delicate work and the roots can easily be damaged. Some attention is required to evenly spread out the roots as much as possible. Despite this minor inconvenience, bare root clones are still pretty easy to transplant and thrive when potted properly.
Regardless of what medium your clones may have been rooted in, a successful first transplant is paramount in getting them off to a good start. Take the time to assure each young plant gets the attention it deserves, and always water after transplanting!
Transplanting Clones and Seedlings,