Transplantation of a Cannabis Plant

by | Jun 6, 2023 | Growing | 0 comments

What Is Transplantation of Cannabis?

Image Source: (

Transplanting cannabis refers to the practice of relocating a cannabis plant to a larger pot with increased soil volume as it progresses in size.

In the realm of cannabis cultivation, growers often initiate the growth process by sowing numerous seeds in smaller pots. This approach is adopted due to uncertainties surrounding germination rates and the sex of the plants.

Since only female cannabis plants yield buds, growers utilizing regular seeds must identify and discard the male plants.

Transplanting Cannabis 101 - Herbies

When to Transplant Marijuana?

Marijuana plants typically undergo 1-2 transplants throughout their lifecycle, although additional transplants are possible. Here’s an example of the transplanting timeline:

  • First container (1-gallon) to second container (2-gallon): Recommended at around 4-8 weeks after seed germination.
  • Second container (2-gallon) to third container (5-gallon): Recommended 8-12 weeks after the previous transplant or 2 weeks prior to flowering.

Some growers opt to transplant only once, skipping the 2-gallon container and moving directly from a 1-gallon to a 5-gallon container. It’s worth noting that the choice of pot size can vary depending on the desired size of the marijuana plants.

For outdoor transplanting into the ground, you have the option to move the plant directly from the initial pot. However, this decision should be based on your local climate, weather conditions, and the timing of the transplant.

Here are some indicators that your cannabis plant is ready for a new container:

  1. Number of leaves: Typically, young plants with 4-5 sets of leaves are ready for transplantation, although this can vary across different strains.
  2. Root development: Examine the drainage holes at the bottom of the container. A healthy plant should display a visibly white and robust root system. If roots are emerging from the holes, it’s a clear sign that a transplant is needed. Discoloration or darkening may indicate that the plant has become rootbound, requiring an immediate transplant.
  3. End of vegetative stage: To ensure ample space for root development, it’s crucial to have marijuana plants settled in their final pot or in the ground before entering the flowering stage. As plants continue to grow and buds develop during flowering, they will increase in size and volume, necessitating sufficient room for root expansion

How To Transplant Cannabis?

Transplanting marijuana comes with certain risks, including transplant shock that can harm or even kill the plant. However, when executed correctly, transplanting can enhance root development and promote healthier flower production. Here’s a step-by-step guide for successful marijuana transplanting:

First Transplantation for Cannabis Seedlings:

  1. Begin with a 4-inch or 1-gallon pot for young cannabis plants, providing sufficient space until a transplant is necessary.
  2. Wait until the seedling has sprouted its 4th or 5th set of leaves before performing the first transplant.
  3. Ensure a hygienic environment by washing hands or wearing gloves to prevent root contamination.
  4. Sprinkle a light amount of water on the plant to minimize shock, avoiding excessive moisture that can make the soil difficult to work with.
  5. Fill the new pot with soil, leaving enough room for the plant.
  6. Avoid compacting the soil during and after transplantation to maintain proper drainage and prevent root damage.
  7. Take caution not to disturb or harm the roots during the transplant, as the first transplantation carries the highest risk of shock.
  8. Minimize exposure to intense light during transplanting to reduce the chances of transplant shock.
  9. Thoroughly water the plant after it has been placed in its new home.

Additional Transplantations for Marijuana Plants:

  1. Monitor the plants for signs of distress or overcrowded roots, which may necessitate further transplanting.
  2. Repeat the steps mentioned above, ensuring that the new container is at least twice the size of the previous one, if not larger.

Final Container for Marijuana Plants:

  1. The finishing container will serve as the plant’s permanent home until harvest. It should be the largest container used.
  2. Transplant into this container 1-2 weeks before the flowering stage, as disturbing a flowering plant can be detrimental.
  3. Consider providing stakes or additional support for large plants to prevent structural damage post-transplantation.

By following these guidelines, you can facilitate successful marijuana transplanting, promoting optimal growth and ensuring the plant’s well-being throughout its lifecycle.

How Much Space Do I Need To Transplant Marijuana?

Determining the appropriate space for your marijuana plants is crucial for their development. By providing sufficient room, you can minimize the need for frequent transplants and reduce the risk of transplant shock caused by root disturbance. Consider the following guidelines for pot sizes based on plant height:

During the transplanting process, it is recommended to offer the plant double the space of its previous container. This strategy provides ample room for growth while minimizing the stress associated with root disturbance.

For instance, you can progress from a 1-gallon to a 2-gallon and then to a 5-gallon container. Similarly, a 2-gallon container can be followed by a 5-gallon and then a 10-gallon container.

Indoor cannabis plants of medium size typically thrive in 5-gallon containers as a final pot size. However, large outdoor plants may require much larger containers, such as 10-gallon or even 20-gallon pots, to reach their full potential.

If uncertain, it is advisable to err on the side of providing slightly more space than necessary. As a general guideline, a plant typically requires 2 gallons of soil for every 12 inches of growth during the vegetative stage. Having knowledge of the potential height of the specific strain you are cultivating can be beneficial.

By adhering to these space requirements, you can ensure optimal growth for your marijuana plants, leading to healthier and more robust vegetation.

Should I Transplant Marijuana Plant Into the Largest Pot?

When cultivating cannabis, it’s common practice to transplant the plants 1-3 times, gradually transferring them to bigger pots as they grow.

Avoid the issue of stunted root development and inadequate water absorption by refraining from placing your plant in an excessively large pot. Doing so may cause water to accumulate in the pot for extended periods, resulting in waterlogged plants and root rot.

To simplify the transplantation process and minimize the need for multiple transfers, consider initially planting your weed in the largest pot suitable. However, exercise caution when watering, ensuring that you only moisten the soil surrounding the plant’s stem, where the young roots are located.

Guide For the First Transplantation:

When initiating the first transplant, it is recommended to use a 4-inch or 1-gallon pot for young cannabis plants. This initial pot should provide sufficient space for a few weeks before a larger transplant becomes necessary.

Ensure a smooth transplanting process by following these steps:

  1. Maintain cleanliness: Prior to transplanting, wash your hands or wear gloves to prevent any contamination that could harm the delicate roots. Keep the surroundings as sanitary as possible.
  2. Minimize shock: Give the plant a light sprinkling of water to reduce shock during the transplantation process. Avoid excessive watering as it can make the soil difficult to work with.
  3. Prepare the receiving pot: Fill the new pot with soil, leaving ample space for the new plant to grow comfortably.
  4. Ensure proper drainage: Avoid compacting the soil excessively during and after transplantation, as this can impede drainage and potentially damage the root system.
  5. Handle roots with care: Take caution not to disturb or harm the roots while transplanting. The first transplant poses the greatest risk for shock, which can result from root damage and agitation.
  6. Manage light exposure: Minimize exposure to intense light during the transplanting process to further prevent transplant shock.
  7. Water thoroughly: Once the plant is in its new home, fully water it to establish a good hydration level.

By following these guidelines, you can optimize the first transplant of your cannabis plant and ensure its successful transition to a larger pot.

Enrico Bratta

Enrico Bratta

Medical cannabis professional based in Phuket, Thailand.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like…

Enrico Bratta

Medical cannabis professional based in Phuket, Thailand.