Before We Start! Here are some useful phrases to know:
- Root Bound: Root bound refers to when the plant’s entire root system becomes bound by the container that holds it.
- Air Pruning: Air pruning happens naturally when roots are exposed to air in the absence of high humidity. The roots are effectively “burned” off, causing the plant to constantly produce new and healthy branching roots.
Our seeds have now grown into plants and are ready to be transplanted into a larger pot. We will be transplanting into 1 gallon fabric pots with velcro seem by Geopots. Geopots are a very high quality fabric pot that can be reused. It also comes with handles and velcro. I always recommend getting fabric pots with velcro for anything that will be transplanted again. The velcro pots make it easy to transplant and reduce any potential damage of the root zone.
Fabric pots are ideal because of their ability to encourage rapid root growth, create better aeration and reduce heat in the root zone. The biggest advantage of fabric pots is their ability to reduce the tendency of a plant becoming root bound. In plastic pots, roots form in a spiral and wrap around the medium where the plastic pot wall meets the medium. When this happens, much of the medium in the middle is not used and the plant becomes root bound. In fabric pots, the roots grow throughout the medium because of a process called air pruning. Air pruning happens when roots reach the fabric pot wall. Because the pot is made of fabric, air is able to penetrate the pot and cause the roots to prune themselves.
Follow these 5 steps to successfully transplant your plants
Step 1: Gather All Materials
Before we transplant, we want to make sure we have all the materials needed. In this case, we will be using lava rocks as a base for better drainage and aeration and our medium will consist of Fox Farm’s potting soil and perlite. Make sure to rinse the lava rock and perlite before you start. This will remove any unwanted residue from the medium and hydrate it before it’s used.
Step 2: Add The Lava Rock and Soil To Your Pots
The first thing we want to do is mix the rinsed perlite with the potting soil. Mix well so that there is an even amount of perlite throughout the potting soil. The first thing we want to add to the pots is a base of lava rock about 2 inches deep. This will help with drainage and reduce any unwanted water from remaining at the bottom of the pot. Now that we have our base, we can begin to add the potting soil mix. Add enough to fill the pot about 3 inches from the top. This will leave enough room for the extra medium that will be added with the transplanted plant.
Step 3: Removing Plants From Current Pot
We can now remove our plants from their current pots. Begin by placing your hand at the lip of the pot with the stalk between your fingers. Don’t squeeze the stalk. Now rotate the pot with your other hand while gently squeezing the sides. This will help loosen any dirt that is stuck on the pot wall. The plant should slide out once it has been freed from the pot. Be careful with the root ball. Make sure the root ball doesn’t begin to lose its form as this can cause roots to tear.
Step 4: Place Plant in New Pot
Place the plant on the new medium in the fabric pot. Don’t compress the medium to make room for the plant. Add or remove the necessary amount of grow medium to accommodate this. Once in place, add soil around the root ball and leave about half an inch of space between the top of the medium and the lip of the pot. Make sure to keep the foliage above the lip of the pot. Now gently shake the pot so the medium can fill in any pockets in the pot. At this time make sure your plant is where you want it to be. Make any adjustments at this point.
Step 5: After Care
You have now transplanted your plants and all that’s left to do is to water them. Because this is a strenuous procedure that the plants have gone through, we want to make sure that we help the plant cope with the stress by using B vitamins. We also want to help our roots bounce back and start growing again. To do this we will also feed our plants a root fertilizer.
When mixing your nutrients follow the label on the back of the bottle and use a quarter of the strength. This will help reduce the risk of over feeding your plants and reduce any stress that can come with this. When feeding, make sure to water where the root ball meets the new grow medium. This will hydrate the root ball and the new grow medium allowing the roots to start growing again. I always water enough so that my next feed is 24 to 48 hours later. This will help the roots chase whatever water is in the medium and allow them to grow rapidly.
A helpful tip is to feel the weight of the pot after you have watered it. You want to do this to get an idea of what the pot weighs when it has water. This will help to determine when you should water again. Just grab the pot from the lip, with both hands, and gently rock it back and forth to feel the weight.
You have now completed the transplant and all that is left to do is to put them back under lights. Make sure to keep the lights slightly higher than usual for a 24 hour period so that the plants don’t begin to stress from too much light exposure. Just add an extra foot of space to the distance you usually have to accomplish this. Continue monitoring you plants for the next 24 hours. You should be required to feed the plant again within 24 to 48 hours, depending on environmental conditions. You can continue with the same feeding of B vitamins and root fertilizer at half the strength of what the directions on the bottle require when you need to water the plants again.