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Transplanting Cannabis

Transplanting Cannabis Plants: When and How to Do It

Transplanting cannabis plants is the act of moving them into bigger pots as they increase in size. Throughout the growing cycle, marijuana plants usually need to be transplanted twice. 

The first transplant happens as seedlings are about to enter the weed vegetative stage. The second transplant generally occurs in the vegetative stage to give the plants enough space to start flowering.

In this article, we’ll look at when to transplant cannabis and give you a step-by-step guide on how to transplant marijuana successfully. 

Why is transplanting cannabis plants important?

Transplanting marijuana plants gives the roots more space to spread out, allowing your weed crops to grow stronger and healthier. 

The size of the container you transplant cannabis into determines the potential of the growth of the root.

Transplanting Cannabis

The space around the root zone makes transplanting marijuana in soil or coco important but unnecessary for hydroponics as the roots don’t need to spread out and seek nutrients.

If you use a container that’s too small, it can stunt the growth of roots and impact the plant in the future.

If you end up transplanting weed plants into a small pot, the roots can become knotted and rootbound. This action chokes the plant and impedes its growth.

It can be difficult to determine how much space you need when transplanting a seedling into its new home. The process gets tricky if you’re planting cannabis seeds in the ground. You don’t want to waste space, so you have to plan around your garden.

Most growers opt for a 1-gallon pot when germinating their seeds before transplanting them to bigger pots when the seedlings begin to enter the vegetative stage.

When do you transplant marijuana plants?

Determining when to transplant cannabis into a larger container is important. While you don’t have to be exact with your timing, you must ensure that your plant’s roots don’t become rootbound.

To figure out when to start transplanting cannabis, you need to consider a few things. Follow our guide to help you understand when to transplant marijuana seedlings:

Number of leaves

You should transplant weed seedlings once they sprout around 4–5 sets of leaves.

However, this isn’t a precise amount for transplanting marijuana plants, as it can change depending upon the strain you’re growing.

If you feel the amount of leaves is too big for the pot, transplanting the cannabis plant is probably a good idea.

Root development 

By checking the roots through the holes in the bottom of the container, you can determine if it’s the right time to transplant a cannabis seedling.

Weed plants develop a healthy, white root system. If the roots start to poke out of the holes, it’s time to transplant into a bigger pot.

If you notice the roots of your plants are brown, you must move them right away. Transplanting marijuana seedlings is the first course of action if you notice discolored, brown, and slimy roots.

Speed of growth

If you notice your plant is growing too fast, it’s important to transplant it quickly. Speed isn’t an issue; it simply means it’s time to transplant the cannabis plant before it outgrows its pot.

You should also transplant cannabis seedlings if their growth is stunted, as it could mean their roots have become twisted, rootbound, or the plant is starved of nutrients.

Problems with watering

Weed plants get thirsty easily. If you feel the soil is regularly dry, chances are the roots aren’t getting enough water.

You should transplant your cannabis into a bigger pot so it can access more soil and water.

Vegetative stage

Your plant needs to be transplanted before it fully enters the vegetative stage. You can identify its age by looking at the vegetative growth, namely the leaves.

If your plant has started to sprout full sets of leaves, it’s time to start transplanting cannabis into its new home.

You’ll likely need to transplant your weed once it reaches the end of the vegetative stage.

If the pot you transplanted into earlier wasn’t the final one, you should move your marijuana to it before the start of the flowering stage.

Once a plant begins to flower, it requires more nutrients, water, and space.

How to transplant weed plants

The act of transplanting marijuana generally happens twice throughout the grow cycle: once during the seedling stage and again in the late vegetative stage before your plants start flowering.

Transplanting cannabis seedlings

The first move you have to make is to transplant cannabis seedlings. This part is arguably the more difficult of the two as your plants are still young and fragile.

Transplanting Cannabis

Step 1: Sanitation 

The first thing you must do is sanitize any tools you’re using, even your hands! So, wash up and put some gloves on before touching the roots and transplanting your weed.

Step 2: Let the plants dry

Avoid watering the plants for a while and allow the soil to dry. Transplanting cannabis seedlings is better if the soil is dry as they’re easier to move.

Step 3: Prepare the receiving pot

Fill your receiving pot with soil, coco, or another desired medium to prepare it for the transplanted seedling.

Step 4: Be wary of roots

When transplanting seedlings, make sure you don’t do anything to harm the roots. At this stage, roots can easily be shocked or damaged by the agitation from transplanting.

Step 5: Transplant carefully

Move your seedling carefully to the receiving pot. Decrease or remove any intense lighting while transplanting marijuana into its new home to prevent shock.

Step 6: Water generously

Make sure to water weed seedlings once they’ve moved to their new home. The grow medium in the receiving pot will be extremely dry, so it needs to be watered.

Transplanting during the vegetative stage

You should stick to transplanting marijuana plants for the final time in the late vegetative stage. This way, they have enough room to develop and spread their root zone to prepare for growth.

Transplanting Cannabis

Let’s look at how to transplant marijuana plants in the later stages of growth to prepare them for flowering:

Step 1: Monitor for distress

Check for signs of existing stress, as transplanting weed plants can agitate them and worsen any distress. Chances are your plants will be healthy, but it’s better to be safe than sorry this late in the growth cycle.

Step 2: Reduce nutrient intake

You should reduce the nutrient levels when feeding your plants before and after transplanting. Nutrient imbalances can cause a lot of unnecessary stress to transplants. It’s recommended you water your plants immediately after moving them.

Step 3: Keep growing medium loose

When transplanting cannabis, ensure your soil or coco is not packed too tightly into the container. Keeping your grow medium loose gives your plants ample space to spread their roots.

FAQs related to transplanting cannabis

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about transplanting marijuana:

How big should seedlings be before transplanting?

Before transplanting marijuana seedlings, make sure they’ve sprouted between 4–5 sets of leaves.

If the roots are poking out of the bottom of the container, it indicates your weed seedlings have outgrown their container and should be transplanted.

How do you transplant plants without killing them?

To transplant cannabis plants without killing them, first sterilize the growing area and your tools.

Then, remember to check for any distress or ailments before moving your plants and water them directly after transplanting them to the receiving pot.

Can I transplant from coco to soil?

Yes, you can transplant from coco to soil. Coco coir breaks down naturally in soil and causes very little disturbance to the cannabis root system.

The final word on transplanting marijuana

Transplanting is an important step in the growing cycle that allows your cannabis plant to move onto its next stage of growth.

Transplanting marijuana is one of the most important things to know when learning how to care for a marijuana plant. Without transplanting weed plants, you can severely damage the roots. Your first transplant can be scary, but it’s not too hard. All you need to do is follow our detailed guide and start transplanting cannabis like a pro!