How to Transplant Your Medical Marijuana Plants
Wondering when, how, and other specifics related to transplanting those prospering ladies in your garden? In this article we’ll take a look at the basics of properly and safely transplanting your medical marijuana plants. I’ll also discuss my method, which I’ve adopted from my partner @Indicantonio because I was tired of having to bring out the shop vac after every transplant.
A small disclaimer: there are so many methods of transplanting out there. Off the top of my head, every grower friend of mine has their own technique and it really depends on what works for your particular set-up. Personally, I look for the quickest method that involves minimum effort and maximum cleanliness, with the least possible trauma to the root mass. With that in mind, let’s dive into transplanting your ladies!
So when exactly is the right time to transplant my plants?
Roots collect at the edges of their containers in an attempt to find stability. Transplanting on time prevents the root mass from wrapping around the container and becoming root bound—at this point root bound plants lack sufficient root room to match the complimentary growth above the ground. Root bound plants are more susceptible to micro deficiencies, dehydration, growth stunt, and other issues because of it.
If you have root bound plants it’s best to cut away at the roots because it can promote faster root penetration when transplanted into the new container.
The ideal time to transplant is during that key window when the roots have filled the original container, but have yet to wrap around it. Transplanting too early could result in damaging the growing roots. There may not be enough young roots to hold the soil together and you could easily rip many roots apart during transplant.
So if you’re like me and drop your germinated seeds or plugs (if clones) into red cups with coco, you’ll find yourself searching through the bottom drain holes for peeking white roots when determining if it’s time to transplant.
Experience is the best professor and eventually you’ll become familiar enough with your set-up to either be able to eye-ball it or time it.
Should I water before or after transplanting my mmj plants?
Ideally you should be transplanting when the roots and soil are moist, not soaking wet or dry, so usually a day after watering. Moist soil holds together better, making it easier to slide your plant out of the container with minimal trauma to the roots.
Lightly water using water wands or misters because roots reach out toward moist, light, airy soil vs. compacted muddy soil that is created when hard water pressure is applied, such as when using a hose.
What size container should I transplant to?
It depends on your set up, really. In our last run we transplanted red cups to 2gal grow bags to final 7gal Air-Pots. I have a friend who starts his girls indoors under a T5 in 1gal pots and transplants directly to his final 20gal Air-Pots to finish his girls outdoors.
It is important to note that the size and efficiency of the root system has a direct effect on the development of the plant, and ultimately the yield of its fruit. A general rule of thumb to follow is that the bigger the container size, the bigger the plant. So when choosing container sizes it depends what your set-up looks like and what you plan for it to look like. Thus, the final size of your container is determined by the final size intended for the plant.
Growing indoor in tents, the biggest pot size I’ve transplanted into has been 7gal Air-Pots.
How deep should I plant my transplants?
If you strive for an even canopy, transplanting your girls evenly is the key to success! You might even find yourself burying up to the first node of a certain girl just to match her to the height of a shorter neighbor in the canopy.
If you’re growing outdoors under drier conditions, you may want to transplant your girls a little deeper, leaving a rim and room on top to collect water. If you’re an outdoor grower that gets more rainy conditions, you may want to transplant your girls higher, mounding the soil around it to help with drainage.
Mycorrhizal Fungi and Transplanting
As Jeff Lowenfels stated in Teaming With Microbes, “Plants that are fed by mycorrhizal fungi grow larger and more vigorously and develop healthier roots, stems, and leaves” (164).
In the hole dug and designated for my girl’s transplanting I usually add some Jellyfish.
MissMMJ Geek’s Photo Guide to Transplanting Medical Marijuana Plants
Now go out there and transplant, my friend. Happy farming!