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The Ultimate Transplanting Guide – Learn When and How to Transplant Plants

The Ultimate Transplanting Guide – Learn When and How to Transplant Plants

When it comes to gardening, growers adopt a variety of different practices to increase the yield and boost the production of their plants. From the use of nutrients to carrying out super cropping, there are a plethora of methods that help growers enjoy high yields. Out of all these, there is one that has proved itself as one of the smartest methods to increase the production of plants. Transplantation of plants is one of the many methods that aid the rapid and healthy growth of plants. It is a common practice among serious growers, and the reason for its wide-scale acceptance is its effectiveness.

Understanding Plant Transplantation

Starting with the basics, every grower must have a clear understanding of plant transplantation. In simple terms, transplanting a plant means moving fully germinated seedlings or a mature plant to another place that serves as its permanent growth location. When it comes to agribusinesses, this practice is very common, especially in northern climates. How does it help? Transplanting a plant leads to an extended fruit-bearing and flowering season – an ideal situation for growers. A plant that is transplanted is termeda ‘transplant.’

Why is Transplanting Your Plants Important?

Now that you know what the process is, it is time that we proceed to the part where we shed light on its significance. Talking about transplanting, there are many reasons why this practice has made a permanent place in this industry. One of the most significant outcomes of this practice is fast growth. Growers, especially those growing for commercial matters, put in their efforts to increase plant growth speed. Not only does this practice lead to the fast growth of plants, but it also paves the way for healthy growth.

If you are dealing with the flimsy growth of plants and struggling to address this issue, transplanting can really help you. The process helps in allowing the plant roots to grow freely, building a solid foundation. As a grower, you must be well aware that density and strength of the roots matter most for the healthy growth of plants.

Replanting plants protects plants from several serious problems. For one, this method helps in preventing the development of nutritional deficiencies. Other problems that you can protect your plant from through transplanting are unhealthy flower development and stem discoloration.

If you think transplanting is not a wise choice, it is time you know about a plant condition that is termed 'root binding.' It is a common problem, and it occurs when a plant outgrows the container it is planted in. In root binding, the plant begins to strangle itself as it becomes root-bound. In this case, the roots begin to circle back across themselves, which leads to weak growth and eventually kills the plant.

Is Avoiding Transplanting an Option?

As discussed earlier, many growers believe that transplanting is just an 'additional tool' to boost the yield. Some even try to avoid the process as they do not realize the significance of this practice. The sole purpose of this technique is to provide the roots room to grow freely and prevent them from binding. The roots need free space to grow freely to help the plant grow well. If you think replanting is not the best option for you, then using the right size of container will serve you well if you are growing small plants.

Selecting the right size of the container or pot is not as simple as it may seem. A grower needs to have an understanding of plant growth as per the type. They need to estimate how big a specific plant can grow and then choose the pot's size. The right-sized pot is a smart alternative to transplanting, but only if you are growing small plants in compact spaces, such as a closet.

You may have to face some problems when growing in a pot instead of the ground. When you take a pot that is large and offers room for the roots to grow, it increases the risks of overwatering. This condition can even lead to drowning the roots of plants - which hinders the growth of the plant - and root rot, among other issues.

If you think you can be cautious and careful with your plant, this method can work for you. Commercial growers, who have to manage large-scale growing, cannot attend to such needs. For such cases, it is best to go for transplanting as it reduces the risks of damage to plants and paves the way for fast and healthy growth.

The Right Time to Transplant

One of the most important aspects of transplanting in agribusiness is timing. The growers have to analyze the plants growth and check whether the roots are about to outgrow the container. If you are wondering about the right time to transplant, there is no fixed time for it. Plants grow at a different rate, and it is more about your experience and expertise. The best phases in which you can carry out this procedure are after germination, during veg, or just before the flowering phase.

The First Transplantation

After you sow the seeds, you can transplant them when the seedling begins to grow. As soon as the seedling appears, a plant is ready to be transplanted. It is essential to focus on the first transplantation of the seeds, as it is much more important than the germination process or planting seeds phase. Growers choose a variety of different mediums to plant seeds. Some plant them in paper towels, starter cubes, root plugs, or a glass of water.

Transplanting a seedling growing in root plugs or cubes is simple compared to seedlings growing in paper towels or glass of water. You need to pick up the starter's plugs or cubes and place them in a pot that is partially filled with the medium. Once you place the seedling in the pot, you can cover it with the grow medium. It is that simple. One thing that you have to ensure is the moisture in the medium. Make sure that when you are transplanting, the medium is moist.

When it comes to transplanting a seedling growing in a paper towel or a glass of water, you need to be very careful. You can only proceed when the taproot is half-inch long. The timing is crucial in this situation. You have to be very cautious when you pick up the seed. After you pick it up, you have to gently place it in the designated or chosen pot or container. Once you put the seed in the grow container, you have to cover it with the grow medium and then spray it with water. After one or two days, you will see the seedling coming out of the soil.

An important thing to note here is not to use a watering can or a garden hose. The best option is to use a sprayer to water the plant.

Transplanting Seedlings into Large Pots or Containers

The first transplant location for seedlings is often small pots or solo cups. The reason for choosing such grow mediums is the fact that small plants grow well in them. Just like kids feel comfortable in the right type of clothes, but with time, they outgrow those clothes; even the plants outgrow the first container they have been transplanted to.

We have already discussed the issues that arise when a plant begins to outgrow its pot or container. If you observe that your plant needs more space to grow at a certain point, you need to prepare for the next transplant of the seedling. As discussed, there is no fixed way to determine the right time to transplant seedlings into a large pot, but there are things that can help you make your decision.

There are several factors that help growers tell whether it is time or not. The first sign is the growth of leaves beyond the brim of the solo cup or container. This is the perfect time to change the container. In addition to this, there is another way many professional growers decide the timing. When the plant grows four to five leaves, they go ahead with this process. These are phases of plants where the roots have grown and need room to spread freely to provide the plant with a firm standing.

These two are very common factors that help growers decide whether it is time to change the pot or not. Another factor that growers consider is plant height. A rule of thumb is that for every 12 inches a plant grows, it needs 2 gallons of container/soil.

These factors help growers perfectly time the transplant. In case a grower misses out on these factors, there is another one that they can look at. It is recommended not to delay it this further, but many growers transplant a plant when roots begin to come out of the drainage holes. It should not be delayed further as it can damage the plant.

Transplanting During the Vegging Phase

The second transplant is usually done to aid the vegging phase of the plant. When you plan to transplant during this stage, you need to follow several protocols to save plants from transplanting shock and stress.

Firstly, cut down the nutrient feeding. The best approach is to cut it down to half. Practice this for one to two days, that too, before transplanting. It will help in making this process less stressful for the plants and even reduce the shock.

The right way to transplant during vegging is to ensure that the medium is dry. Why is it important? It allows the roots to separate from the soil with ease.

Read our guide on Monster Cropping and Re-vegging for more details on more harvest.

Guide on the Steps of Transplantation

You cannot proceed with the technique until you have a complete understanding of the process. Theoretically, the process of transplanting seems scary, with too many technicalities. With a complete understanding and adoption of a step-by-step approach, you can effectively carry out your plants' transplantation.

Step 1: Preparing the Pot/Container

To start, you need to find out what pot size will work best for your garden. Once you have the pot, the next step is to choose the grow media. After selecting both the pot and the grow medium, it is time to prepare the pot for transplanting. Start by filling the grow medium in the pot. Do not fill the pot with the grow medium fully. It will be filled fully once you have placed the plant in it. The next stage here is to prepare the grow medium. Spray water on it and make it moist. Once the grow medium is moist, you need to dig a hole in it where your plant will fit perfectly.

Step 2: Removing the Plant

Once you have prepared the pot/container and the grow media, it is time to get the plant ready for the transplant. This is one of the trickiest parts of the process. Here, you have to remove the plant from its current container in a way that none of its roots incur damage. Growers have to be very careful in this process. Many professionals proceed with this step using a butter knife. It makes the process comparatively easy.

A butter knife can help you extract the plant very smoothly. Place the knife between the wall of the pot and the soil. Start by slowly sliding the butter knife deep into the pot. Move the butter knife in a circular motion; make sure it touches the walls of the container at all times. It smoothly separates the roots, and the grow media from the wall without incurring any damage.

The next thing you need to do is to lay your hand flat on the grow medium. Position your hand in a way that the fingers support the stem. Once you are sure that you have secured the plant's stem, go ahead and turn the pot upside down. After you have turned the pot, use your knuckles, fingers, or whole hand to gently tap the bottom side of the pot. If you do not think tapping is working, you can gently shake the pot to free the roots and grow medium of the pot.

When the plant is small, which usually is the case during vegging, the process is easy and does not require much force. In case the plant has grown, you will have to pull the plant to separate it from the pot's walls.

Step 3: Transplant

After you free the plant from its existing container, you need to proceed further with its transplanting. Before you place the plant in the hole which you dug in the new pot, shake it gently to remove excess grow media. The next step is to place the extracted plant in the new pot or container. You will have to fill the pot with the grow medium fully. After filling the pot, pat it on the surface and gently shake it while ensuring the roots grip the soil with firmness.

As this process is very stressful and draining for the plants, you need to water them. Feed and water them more than usual to help the plants recover from the transplant shock.

Helping Plants Recover from Transplant Shock

As a grower, you need to understand the whole process of transplanting plants. After this process is carried out, you will have to deal with the stunted growth of plants. Some plants even appear weak and sick after the process. The change of environment and movement is not easy on the plants. This condition is what is termed transplant shock. After this process, you need to focus on helping the plants recover from this condition. Once the plant recovers from it, you will observe faster and healthier plant growth than before.

If you wish to minimize the stress on the plants and ensure that they do not go deep into the transplant shock, you need to time the process perfectly. The right time is when the plant has grown to its fullest potential for its current pot and is about to get root bounded to the pot.

Other than timing the process perfectly, you need to water two days before transplanting. For these two days, you must not water the plant. If you are unsure about the timing, you can proceed with the process early. Remember, in this case, early is better than late. Another important thing you need to consider is the disturbance to the roots. Do not touch the roots or force them in a medium.

Suppose the plant is going through excessive transplant shock. In that case, you can aid its recovery by providing it with organic seaweed kelp extract.

Transplanting after Vegging or Later in a Plant’s Life

Transplanting more than twice is not something you have to worry about if you are growing small plants. Growers are required to transplant several more times than the initial two if they are managing the growth of huge plants. For such plants, you need to transplant them just before the flowering stage. You will need a much bigger pot as these plants are big and not easy to handle during the process.

According to experts at, the best approach is to give your plants a new home just before the flowering stage. This should be done at least one to two weeks before the plant’s flowering stage. This is helpful as it gives a plant ample time to acclimatize to the new environment.

The End Notes

Now that you have acquired ample knowledge of the entire transplanting process, you can enjoy greater yield by applying it to your plants. If you look at the process, you will find it simple. It just requires you to be a bit careful. If you wish to take care of your plants in a better way and need some tips and tricks related to garden care, you will find lots of stuff on our blogs. Check it out today!

Sep 22nd 2022