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How And When To Transplant Your Marijuana Plants?


transplanting marijuana

Once your marijuana plants have established a stable root system, they are ready for a period of major foliage growth. It’s time to set up your permanent growing system. To accomplish this, you will need to learn how to safely transplant your young crop and to decide where you can permanently house your marijuana plants.

No matter what system you used to sprout your marijuana seeds, you are eventually going to need to move the plants from their original container to a more permanent environment. The process of moving your plants from one container to another is a serious step in plants growth. If the transplant is done poorly, the plant can suffer from shock—leaves will turn yellow, wither and eventually die. If the trauma is too severe, the whole plant will eventually succumb. If done correctly, transplanting can allow your plant to reach maturity rapidly and with minimal support and care. Download my free marijuana grow bible for more tips about transplanting marijuana plants.

Now is also the time to decide how you want to set up your permanent growing environment. Some cannabis  growers choose to keep their entire crop indoors, their plants growing in large individual containers. This situation allows for much more environmental control but also demands more resources and energy to be expended by the grower. Everything from light to food and water must be provided by human engineering. Other growers choose to plant their marijuana directly in the earth. This can lead to a much less costly experience in terms of time and energy. But picking a permanent outdoor site raises several major issues for any grower. Not only does the location have to meet certain horticultural standards, but crop security, personal safety, and overall accessibility all have to be considered.

Transplanting: When and How to Transplant

Cannabis plants seem to have a mind of their own, and whatever container you start yours in, they will rapidly expand their root systems to reach the wails that contain them. (Oddly, because plants in open ground seem less anxious about their freedom, and seldom develop root balls greater than 18 inches in diameter; but let a plant mature in a 55-gallon drum, and its roots will reach to its walls.) If a plant becomes root-bound, as marijuana plants are likely to do in any container whose capacity is under 4 gallons, it just stops growing.

The same problem is seen with peat plugs; just when a plant begins to take off for its spring growing spurt, its roots become bound by the fine mesh that covers and holds peat plugs in shape. In a perfect world all plant roots can easily grow through this delicate netting, but in the real world most marijuana plants will become trapped and root-bound, and will cease to grow.

When to Transplant

As your marijuana plants thrive they will begin to move from the “sprouting” stage into the “seedling” stage. Marijuana plants are still quite small during this ‘” seedling” stage. After sprouting your seeds, you will see two oblong leaves (“cotyledons”) emerge from the small stem that has risen from the dirt. Within a few days these two odd leaves will give way to “true leaves” that are visibly recognizable as marijuana leaves. This stage is critical for root growth, and while you may not see a lot going on above the dirt, your plants will be busy establishing a fragile but essential root system in whatever sprouting medium you chose.

Your plants are too young to move during the “seedling” stage, but as with the “sprouting” stage, you need to make sure your plants are provided with light and constantly moist dirt. This stage of life will usually last anywhere from two to six weeks.

You will know your plant is ready to move by the sudden increase in rapid leaf growth. More and more “true leaves” will begin appearing, and the stem will be firm enough for you to grasp gently without damaging the plant. Once you start to notice these changes, your plant is officially moving from the “seedling” stage to the “vegetative” growth phase.

Peat plugs are a great way to start your crop earlier when you live where growing seasons are short, but be prepared to transplant seedlings to a larger pot or to the outside as soon as you can see white root tendrils emerging beneath the mesh, or you might stunt the plant’s growth permanently.

How to Transplant

Any grower has three basic options when replanting vegetative-stage marijuana. First, you can decide to continue growing your plant indoors in an easily accessible but discreet location. Second, you can pick a location in the great outdoors where you can monitor your crop while taking advantage of natural resources like water and sunlight. Third, you can decide to move your plant into a larger container (a 55-gallon barrel, for example) and then move that container to a temporary outdoor location. This third option allows for rapid crop relocation to avoid hazards such as law enforcement detection or the unexpected appearance of local pests.

There are definite advantages and disadvantages to all three situations. But for the most part, the actual process of moving your plant(s) from one container to another is fairly straightforward.

Whether you’re moving a plant directly into the ground, or you’re popping your weed in a larger potting vessel (we recommend an absolute minimum container size of 4 gallons per plant), the first step is to prepare new soil to receive your plants. If you’re working in the ground, dig a hole several inches larger than the pot from which a transplant will be taken, but leave excavated soil piled around the outside of the hole, where it can be pushed back in place after transplanting. It is important to transplant plants with the soil in which they have been growing; this helps to eliminate shock that might occur from a sudden change in habitat (closet-grown plants seem especially prone to shock), and eases a plant’s transition from potting soil to natural dirt.

Make sure that soil in the pot being transplanted is moist; not so wet that it becomes mud, and not so dry that it crumbles, but moist enough to be firm and to stick together in the shape of its container. Next, place your hand palm-down over the soil in the original container (so that the stalk is between your middle fingers). Place your other palm under the pot’s bottom, and in one smooth motion turn the pot upside down, emptying its contents into the hand around the stalk. Put down the discarded container and place your free hand under the plant’s bottom (white root tendrils should be visible) and gently lower the roots into the hole you’ve dug for them.

If chunks of dirt break off from the root ball, don’t worry; just get the roots immediately into the ground and re-covered with soil. Surrounded by good soil instead of water, there is no more need to hold a peat plug together, so the mesh surrounding them should be torn free entirely and thrown away. Saturate the soil all around the plant with a gallon of water enriched with the prescribed amount of plant food. Finally, cover over exposed soil around the transplant with leaves and ground debris from the surrounding area, not only to make the plant less noticeable but also to inhibit the evaporation of water from below.

If you want to start growing, download my free grow guide and order some marijuana seeds. All top quality marijuana seeds are available in my marijuana seed shop. We ship seeds to the US, CA and many other countries. For any growing related question please visit the marijuana support page.

Source: ILoveGrowingMarijuana.Com



About Author

Robert Bergman is a master marijuana grower. Robert Bergman is the author of 'Marijuana Plant Care' and 'The Marijuana Grow Bible'.


  1. Hello, i am a grower, getting ready for the new season. i wont be mentioning my location as this years grow, is a 100 plant grow, of 6 foot plants. but, i do have some advice for those in need of help transplanting. i like to start my grows in a “Red Solo Cup” aka “Red beer cups”. not the small ones, ones that are “larger”. i do this with the cup filled with one inch at the top not filled. the way i transplant, when the time comes, so i dont damage the roots, i take a exacto knife/utility knife, and i cut away the bottom (be careful not to go too far up into the cup, or you risk damage), and then i cut a line up the side of the cup, set it in the ground, and bend off the cup from the cut line at the side, allowing the least possible risk to the roots.

  2. Is good to have a two weeks all plant with 8hours sun light and 10 hours of electric light its good??

  3. Constance V Thomas on


  4. Daniel A. Kunk on

    How big is too big to transplant. My plant is pretty big mabye a foot high and its current pot is too small. Can i transplant or will it be too much stress on the plant?

  5. I usually wrap my seeds in wet papertowels for a few days, till they sprout, keep them in the dark. I found they sprout alot quicker and root comes out ready for soil.

  6. They range from 5″ to 3″, i’ve had them in quart pots since the beginning, i transplanted them into the same pots, but used alot better soul, !nd now they are taking off, ate they tall enough to transplant?

  7. I just fed my plants fertilizer a few days ago, but now they need to be transplantes, should i feed them.more with new dirt, or should i hold off? Is it okay to use both artificial light and outside sunlight?

  8. I have a plant about two months old. I went relocate it and there was no ball of roots. Can I still replant it in a pot? It was outside in my yardf

  9. Julia you are looking beautiful, can I add you on facebook? To answer your question if you transplant from a cup to a pot then you don’t need to keep them away from bright sunlight. If you are putting seedlings into a cup then you shouldn’t give them too much sunlight or it can burn the baby seedlings.

  10. disqus_GdEUy8xzum on

    I’ve got 8″ white tendrils and I planted the seeds about two weeks ago. This can’t be good. Any thoughts/help? Thx

  11. Can I bury the stem of a seedling when I transplant it to a new pot, like a tomato plant?

  12. After replanting, are you supposed to keep it away from bright sunlight for about a day-2 like other plants?

    Mine has been growing perfectly in natural sunlight indoors, I have huge windows in a high rise building so it’s fine but I don’t want to “shock” it. Any advice?

  13. I’ve got 5 plants started… in the little Styrofoam cups they are to the point where the “round” leaves are still there but the next set of leaves are coming in. When can I transplant I kinda feel the Styrofoam cups are to small

  14. Gary Rydenbark on

    I have a 2 ft tall plant and the location is in plain site and I want to move it so it doesn’t get spotted what’s the best way to transplant it into a pot

  15. Jane Rasberry on

    I live in so.cal I just bought 4 clones that are only 6 in high. They were started indoors but I need to plant them outdoors how do I go about doing this without shocking them. please help

  16. I’m going to have to plant it at the seedling stage, as long as it’s done well, and is getting enough water it should be ok, mines outside so I’m hoping for pleasant weather for a while….

  17. I’m going to have to plant it at the seedling stage, as long as it’s done well, and is getting enough water it should be ok, mines outside so I’m hoping for pleasant weather for a while..

  18. I live in New england. My plants are in the sixth week of flowering and it is getting cold. It is going to rain this week and in the 50 60s . Should I attempt taking them out of the outdoor goround and placing them in containers to bring inside.. Or will they be ok.. This was my first time growing and the season might cut them short on their growth.. Move or leave in soil?

  19. Someone I know already has it growing in the ground. .. can I dig it up n replant it?.. it’s like 3 or 4 feet tall already n mid September?

  20. I have 4 plants but I started them all I 1 big pot.i dug around them and got most of the root ball out but some of the roots got cut.do you think they will make it?

  21. Hey Rob…Why not transplant into the next size up pot…i started my babies in a cup…so i go straight from cup into a four gallon pot..?

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