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Transplanting Cannabis

Cannabis plants grown in small and tight containers need to be transplanted right away. If transplanting cannabis is overlooked, plants may suffer from all kinds of problems from poor growth to countless nutritional deficiencies. This is why we recommend starting in a large 5-gallon pot to avoid such problems. But if you need to transplant your plants, do it quickly and properly with no added stress to your plants.

Why Transplanting Cannabis is Done?

The roots should be well-developed in plants. It is responsible for making plants resilient and stand upright and absorbing nutrients in the soil. A small container like a party cup (the most common starting container for most beginner growers), will contain only a small amount of soil and hence, only a small amount of nutrients to feed a plant. And your plant needs a lot of nutrients to support its vegetative growth!

When roots are bound in a small pot, it will do all it can to break free. It will grow larger, longer, and even burst out of a pot if it can. You will also notice that the roots are large and showing from the pot, but the plant is too small or underdeveloped. This is because the roots are not absorbing any nutrients.

Transplanting should be done as soon as your seedlings have developed three layers of leaves or you can see that the roots are growing through your peat pellet (if you used peat pellet to germinate your plants).

Properly transplanted plants will grow better, taller, and will maximize its full potential. These will also grow better yields. Your plants will develop strong roots that will firmly anchor your plants in soil and thus, these will grow stronger and resilient to environmental conditions.

Whether you’re growing recreational or medicinal weed, you can grow stronger plants that are capable of handling large and heavy buds. We know it’s the goal of all growers to produce the best yields and this can be accomplished when you grow your plants in a spacious and good quality growing container.

Transplanting Steps

Before you proceed, make sure you have the following handy.

  • The cannabis plants you need to transplant (this could be seedlings in peat pellets, plants in small cups or plants in small fabric pots)
  • A level area or table where you can work efficiently
  • Good healthy growing soil best for cannabis plants
  • A 5-gallon pot or container
  • Clean and pH-balanced water
  • High-intensity growing light


1. Prepare the Plants that Will be Transplanted

Place your plants on top of a level table and examine them. If the plants are in a small growing pot like a party cup, consider ways to loosen the plant out. You may water the plants first to soften the soil. Never pull the plant out as this can stress it. If you’re transplanting from a small clay pot then you may break it open if the plant won’t budge.

2. How to Remove the Small Pot Carefully

For plants in a small party cup, cut the cup out of the way but do so slowly. For plants inside fabric pots, cut the fabric away but be careful not to disturb any roots. Usually, fine roots may grow through fabric pots, and thus, it’s hard to avoid touching them. Some growers consider replanting plants with the fabric pot to avoid stress. Once you’ve managed to remove the small pot out, place your plant on a safe area of the table and work on the final pot.

3. Prepare the Final Pot

The final pot may be made of any material for as long as it’s large, spacious, and has enough drainage holes at the bottom, not on the sides. More drainage holes ensure that excess water and fertilizer can properly drain from the plant. Also, more holes allow oxygen to move through the soil to reach the roots.

Place soil inside the pot and fill it up but leave an inch or 1 1⁄2 inch of space from the top. This will help keep water in as you water your plants. Pat the soil lightly with your hands. Now, remove soil in the middle to give way for the plant. Water the soil and allow water to drain from the holes. Wait till the soil is damp before you transplant your plant in.

4. Transplant Your Plant to the Final Pot

Place the young plant slowly and carefully in the hole and cover it with remaining soil. Pat the soil with your hands or gardening tools. In transferring your plants in the soil, never touch any part of the roots even the small roots.

But if you think that the roots are too thick in the case of rescuing plants with root overgrowth, use a clean, sterile pair of scissors to cut away excess roots. Do so very carefully.

5. Water Your Newly-transplanted Pots Well

Water your plants until you see water draining from the drainage holes. When the soil is damp, transfer it inside your growing area.

6. Place Your Newly-transplanted Pots Under a Growing Light

After transplanting, place your young plants in your growing area with good lighting. Allow your plants to recover as this is an unknown and stressful experience for them. Follow a 22/2 or 20/4 light/dark lighting schedule.

Transplanting Tips and Techniques

Remember the following tips as you transplant your cannabis plants to a larger growing container.

  • Avoid touching the roots. If you’re working on a seedling with the taproot still easily seen, never touch this as this is a very fragile part of your plant.
  • There are so many types of containers you can use. You may recycle 5-gallon plastic water containers, old recyclable bags, or old clay pots. But no matter what material, make sure that these are clean as there are plant diseases that come from dirty and infested soil and containers.
  • Your plants will soon recover and you can tell by growing new leaves and stems and growing vertically and horizontally. Monitor your plants daily.

Transplanting cannabis is a very straightforward thing to do. You can avoid this by growing your plants initially in large growing pots rather than starting in small, cramped makeshift pots.

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