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How to transplant seedlings to larger pots.

The more branches there are on a plant, the more clones it will yield. Shorter, bushier plants with more branches make better mother plants than plants with long stems and fewer branches. To encourage more branch growth, transplant in 2” pot size increments as plants get bigger. For example, from a 4” pot to 6” pot, from 6” pot to 8” pot and so on. This technique constrains roots, which has the effect of forcing more branches to grow.

How To Know When It’s Time To Transplant

Without sufficient roots to hold it together, media will be loose and will fall apart during a transplant, causing unwanted root stress and damage. Before transplanting, check first to see if there are roots growing out of the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot. This is a good sign that roots are developed enough to handle a transplant. Another good sign your roots are mature enough is the diameter of the plant’s top canopy is wider than the diameter of the pot. The diameter of the canopy mirrors the diameter of the root ball, and a wide canopy suggests that the root system has developed to the outer perimeter of the pot.

Roots growing out bottom, and top canopy with a wider diameter than the pot are signs that plant is ready to be transplanted.

Setting Up A Fresh Pot For Transplant

The first step for preparing a new pot is adding a layer of hydroton to its bottom. For 6” – 8” pots, use 1” of hydroton. For 10” and wider pots, use 1.5” of hydroton. Hydroton is added to the bottom of pots because it creates air pockets that help with drainage and provide plant roots with air access.

Fill the new pot with coco coir, with the outgoing pot nested inside it. Pour a mix of 90% coco coir, 10% hydroton between the old and new pots, saturate it with treated water, then push it down with your fingers until it feels firm. 

Add a mix of 90% coco coir, 10% hydroton.
Add water.
pack down.

Remove the old pot using a twisting motion. The coco coir in the new pot will have a convenient indent ready to receive a new rootball.

New pot is ready to receive transplant.

Performing A Transplant

Secure the stem of the plant you are transplanting between your fingers, and its base with your palm. Then flip the pot upside down. The plant might simply fall out into your palm. If it doesn’t, with your other hand push your finger into the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot to dislodge the rootball. The rootball should come out as one piece with little mess.

Hand position for transplanting rootball.

Once the plug is removed from the old pot, drop it into the indent in the media in the new pot. Perform the transplant quickly because roots shouldn’t be exposed for any length of time. 

Add some additional coco coir to fill in any gaps. Pack the coco coir tightly around the rootball.

Finishing Up

After the plant has been successfully moved to the new pot, add 1” of sand on top. The sand helps prevent insects from getting into the coco coir and laying eggs. 

Sand on top provides a protective barrier against pest infestation.

As a last step, lay down a layer of hydroton. Hydroton helps with even distribution of water and maintaining the integrity of the sand barrier. Without the hydroton, coco coir can float up over the sand during watering.