The BudTrainer Method™ Lesson #2

When & How To Transplant Hemp Plants

Written and edited by Henrique Dias on May 7, 2024

Image showing a young cannabis plant in a yellow BudCups container next to a larger black fabric BudPots container labeled '3 GAL' on a wooden table. The BudPots container has a tag hanging on it with product details and another smaller cannabis plant inside.

DISCLAIMER: Everything taught and sold by BudTrainer is to be used strictly for legal purposes. We condemn the production of illegal substances and it is your duty to ensure that you are complying with the law. The words "hemp", "cannabis", "weed", and "marijuana" are used interchangeably to refer to the same plant (legal hemp with less than 0.3% THC) for the purposes of this lesson.

Transplanting Cannabis Seedlings For Success

Mastering the art of transplanting is crucial in order for your plant to thrive. If not done properly  you might face what is called transplant-shock, which is the stunting of your plants for up to 3 days due to disturbances to the root system. We know this all too well because we’ve made this mistake in the past, until we took to plant science and commercial cannabis production standards to create a method (and a product) to ensure your transplants are as smooth as possible, reducing transplant shock to 0. Welcome to BudTrainer’s Lesson #2, where you will learn how to transplant like a pro.

Image of a person in a plaid shirt, transplanting a young cannabis plant in a black BudPots fabric container. The person's hands are gently pressing the soil around the base of the plant to secure it, with a focus on the transplanting process.

Tools & Materials

Essential

  • The BudCups™ you used to plant your seed
  • The BudPots®, or your final pot of choice
  • Tap water, or RO/distilled water (if using fertilizer)
  • Soil, coco coir, or other media of preference

Upgrades

  • Veg stage cannabis nutrients for faster uptake
  • Mycorrhizal fungi for root development

When Is The Right Time To Transplant Cannabis?

Some marijuana plants will grow vigorously and be ready for transplanting in 3 weeks, while others can get stunted and take more than 6 weeks. The tell-tale sign that your plant is ready for transplanting is not time but whether your root ball has roots shooting out in all directions at the top, like in the picture below. To peek at your roots, simply pop the bottom of your BudCups and have a look!

Image of a man in a plaid shirt examining the root system of a young cannabis plant held outside of its container. The plant has a dense network of white roots visible against the dark soil, and the man is looking closely, evaluating the health of the roots.

Whenever your roots start to form at the top, this means that they will "shoot out" into all directions after you transplant, which is exactly what we want for proper root formation - otherwise your roots will all end up at the bottom, leaving the topsoil of your BudPots empty.

What Size Should My Final Pot Be?

Pots, like the BudPots, come in various sizes ranging from 3Ga to 25Ga and higher. The question is, which one is the right size for you? There are a few things to consider, and they are broken down below:

Promotional image displaying a range of black fabric BudPots containers in various sizes: 3, 5, 7, 10, 15, and 25 gallons. Each pot is accompanied by a descriptive tag indicating optimal plant types and growth conditions for each size. The tags provide detailed usage information such as ideal plant cycle, indoor and outdoor suitability, and recommendations for growing media.

How To Transplant Young Weed Plants

Step 1

Fill Your BudPots® With Soil

Close-up image of a black fabric BudPots container being filled with soil mix from a gray scooping trowel. The pot is positioned inside a blue storage tub, capturing the motion of soil particles falling into the pot, highlighted by the pot's metal ventilation eyelets.

In order to transplant your cannabis plant, first you will need to fill up your BudPots with your media of choice. This part is super easy - go ahead and dump the soil inside your BudPots until just below the grommet level. The BudPots are the only fabric pot in the world that holds its shape with the structural metal ring around the top, so you don’t have to worry about dumping your dirt everywhere.

Hand breaking up a chunk of soil with perlite inside the BudPots, wearing an apron that says BudTrainer in the background.

Make sure to also break up any chunks of soil, as they don't allow roots to properly penetrate due to how compacted they get. Simply crumble it with your hands when you see one.

Step 2

Make A Hole In The Center

Make a hole the same size as the BudCups. For this, you can start from the center and slowly dig a hole in the soil by pulling it to the sides with your hands. Once the hole is about the size of the BudCups, your seedling is ready for transplant.

Image showing a person in a plaid shirt and blue gloves planting a cannabis plant inside a black BudPots fabric container labeled '3 GAL' on a wooden table. A smaller yellow BudCups container with another young cannabis plant is placed to the left. The BudPots container features a tag with product information.

Step 3

Pop Your Rootball Out

Now that you have a perfect hole for the BudCups (or other plastic container), it is time to remove your young plants from them and transplant your root ball into the BudPots. For this, simply pop the bottom of the BudCups with your finger until the entire root ball comes out. As you push the bottom of the BudCups, pull on the young plant's stem to see if it is strong enough to hold the entire root ball. If it is not, pick your plant up from the sides of the root ball instead, but very gently.

Close-up image showing a hand holding a small black BudCups container upside down, revealing its bottom design featuring embossed stars and text. A partial view of a person in a yellow BudPots shirt and a cannabis plant in the background is visible.
Close-up image of a person in a yellow BudPots shirt holding a black BudCups container, with a cannabis plant being lifted out to show its extensive white root system. The focus is on the dense network of roots against the dark soil background.

If the bottom plate of the BudCups is still stuck to the bottom of the roots, make sure to remove it before transplanting.

Image showing a person in a plaid shirt carefully holding a young cannabis plant removed from a BudCups container. The plant's extensive white root system is visible against the dark soil, highlighted as the person examines it against the backdrop

BudTip: Use Mycorrhizal Fungi To Grow Bigger Roots

Mycorrhizal fungi is a commonly used supplement for cannabis plants as it helps your roots intake more nutrients, thus allowing you to grow bigger plants. This fungus called Mycorrhizae creates a mutualistic relationship with your roots, where it absorbs more nutrients from the soil in exchange for some sugars from your plant. Working together, they create massive root structures that take your plants to the next level.

Close-up of a person in a BudTrainer apron sprinkling PROMIX CONNECT mycorrhizal inoculant onto the root ball of a young cannabis plant. The plant is being prepared for transplanting into a BudPots fabric planter filled with a nutrient-rich soil mix. This step is crucial for enhancing root development and overall plant health. The process highlights BudTrainer's commitment to providing effective gardening solutions that promote robust, bushy cannabis plants with optimal growth and yield potential

To use Mycorrhizal, just sprinkle one teaspoon at the bottom of the plant hole,  transplant the rootball from your BudCups, sprinkle another teaspoon on top of it, and shake the BudPots in order to let the dirt fill in the gaps and cover the mycorrhizae. If you are looking for a high-quality Mycorrhizal Fungi, we recommend PRO-MIX® CONNECT™, which is what we use on all of our plants at BudTrainer - it’s super easy to use and works like a charm.

"Close-up of a hand holding a 1/4 teaspoon measuring scoop of PROMIX CONNECT mycorrhizal inoculant, being sprinkled onto soil inside a BudPots fabric pot. The soil preparation is part of the process to enhance cannabis plant growth and root development using BudTrainer's gardening products. The high-quality soil mix and innovative BudPots are designed to optimize light exposure and airflow, transforming plants into robust, bushy structures full of healthy buds.

Step 4

Transplant Your Plants

After your rootball is out, drop it right inside the hole, and shake your BudPots to allow the soil to fall around the rootball. Make sure that the top soil on your BudPots is nice and flat, but do not press down on the soil as this will make it more difficult for your roots to grow. Just a little shake is all you need!

Close-up of a young cannabis plant growing in a BudPots fabric planter. The plant is surrounded by a well-prepared soil mix designed to enhance root development and overall plant health.
Person in a BudTrainer apron carefully holding a fabric BudPots planter containing a young cannabis plant. The plant is growing in a well-prepared soil mix, benefiting from the enhanced airflow and light exposure provided by the BudPots' design.

Step 5

Water Your Media To Runoff

Using dechlorinated tap water, or RO/distilled water with vegetative stage fertilizer, moisten your soil slowly (ideally, over 60 to 120 seconds) until you see the first few drops of runoff start coming out of the bottom, then stop. This means your media can no longer hold water, which will promote your roots to grow out in every direction in search of that much needed water.

Person wearing a BudTrainer apron watering a young cannabis plant growing in a BudPots fabric planter. The plant is situated in a well-prepared soil mix, and the watering process is part of the care routine to ensure optimal growth and health.

Do Not Overwater

Since you will be watering until runoff, it is important NOT to water your plant again until your BudPots feel nearly empty (almost dry). This will take a few days, directing your roots to grow out in search of the remaining water.

On the other hand, if you overwater your media by constantly adding water to your plant, your roots will grow small and you will risk getting root rot. For this reason, every time you water your plants, make sure to water until runoff, and then wait a full dry back to water again.

You will end up with a healthy root ball like the one below, which lived in the BudPots for 12 weeks. Since the walls of the BudPots are made of fabric, the root tips were naturally pruned, causing the root structure to grow stronger from the center.

Person wearing a BudTrainer apron and blue gloves carefully handling a large, healthy root ball being removed from a BudPots fabric planter. The soil structure is intact, showcasing the effectiveness of BudPots in promoting strong root development and overall plant health.

Step 6

Wash Your BudCups™ & Reuse

Give your BudCups a rinse to remove the excess soil, scrub them with a soft sponge or brush, and if you don't want to wash them by hand, just toss them in the dishwasher (top rack)! The BudCups are made with recycled, 100% food-grade plastic that can be used and reused for a lifetime.

Image of a person's hand placing a yellow BudCups container into a dishwasher rack, among other kitchen items. The person is wearing a gray plaid shirt. The setting suggests the ease of cleaning and maintaining the BudCups container in a typical home environment.

You Are Off To A Great Veg Stage

Now that you transplanted your cannabis plant and watered it to runoff, it’s time to leave it alone for at least 1 week, if not 2, until it’s time to water it again. Make sure to provide plenty of light and humidity at this stage, as vegetative plants love high-temperature, high-humidity environments. If you are growing outdoors, now is a great time to expose them to as much sun as possible.

Can I Transplant In The Ground?

Yes! If you plan on planting directly into the ground, you can follow the same steps outlined in this lesson, but you may skip Step 1. Instead, you may dig a big hole in the ground and then fluff that soil around with a garden hoe, or even better: use pre-amended soil to fill the hole back up, so that you give your roots the best possible start. These plants below each took an entire bag of soil, plus a fertilizer mix on top.

Outdoor garden scene showing three cannabis plants supported by wooden stakes, growing directly in the ground. The foreground plant is surrounded by a protective layer of brown mulch. The lush green lawn background accentuates the healthy appearance of the plants.

On this last point, you must also make sure that you are feeding your plants the correct nutrients - the advantage of growing in the ground is that it is very difficult to over feed nutrients, as they dissipate around quite easily. This means you can use both organic or salt-based nutrients, and your plants will thrive.

Image of a lush outdoor cannabis garden located on a wooden deck, featuring several large, healthy cannabis plants. Each plant is supported by a yellow trellis, with a gray storage box in the foreground and string lights above, creating a cozy backyard atmosphere.

#BROBusters: Autoflowers CAN Be Transplanted

While conventional methods believe that transplanting autoflowers is bad for to their development (since it is very stressful), we have been able to prove the opposite: as long as you have a shock-free transplanting container like the BudCups, your autoflowers won’t even feel the transplant and will continue to grow in their new container as if nothing happened. Check out this autoflower that we transplanted.

Image of a man in a plaid shirt smiling and holding up a large harvested cannabis plant suspended by a yellow trellis, in a store setting. Next to him is a black BudPots container on a table, with various BudPots and BudCups products on display in the background, emphasizing the brand's gardening products.

What is important with autoflowers is to not delay the transplant by even a few days: the moment the roots start “shooting out” of your rootball, this means it is time to transplant your autoflower. This typically takes 3 to 4 weeks on fast-growing autoflowers, and it is very easy to check on when you have an easy-transplanting container like the BudCups - all you have to do is pop the bottom and check your roots.

Behind The Leaves: Why Transplanting Works

We avoid planting cannabis seeds directly in their final containers because it results in weaker root development compared to transplanting. Here's how it works:

An infographic titled 'How Transplanting Works' showing two illustrations of plant pots. On the left, a plant with roots growing mainly at the bottom labeled 'Direct Sowing Bottom Root Growth.' On the right, a plant with roots spread throughout the pot labeled 'Transplanted with BudCups Roots Everywhere.' Both pots are dark brown with light green plants.

When seeds begin growing in BudCups, the taproot (the primary root emerging from the seed) quickly reaches the edge within a few days, prompting the plant to produce more roots from the center of the rootball. This process leads to the formation of multiple root tips, so once the plant is moved to its next pot, these tips are primed to spread out and grow in all directions.

A cannabis plant with a dense network of white roots exposed next to an empty yellow BudCups container and its yellow lid, placed on a grey wood-textured surface against a soft white background.

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About The Author

Henrique Dias with sunglasses on the head and a background of an indoor grow tent filled with cannabis plants inside the BudPots

Henrique, the CEO of BudTrainer, is a mechanical engineer with a commercial cannabis production post-grad, and is also a former commercial cannabis consultant. 

H takes plant science principles and breaks them down into simple steps for home growers to achieve the same results as the pros and grow the highest-quality cannabis.

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