Transform Ordinary Solo Cups Into a Hybrid Hydroponic/Soil Plant Booster: If you have ever attempted to start plants indoors before your last frost, you probably know what it is to get a root bound plant. No matter the size of your growing container, it does not take the roots too long to find its outer boundaries. This m… Learn how to germinate and when to transplant your seedlings so you get the fastest growth. This step-by-step tutorial includes pictures plus hints and tips! Seedlings In solo cups 1 weeks old tomorrow I’ve just been feeding ro water at pH 6.0. When should I do my first transplant? Any suggestions? I’m using a 600 king led grow light pretty cheap paid
Transform Ordinary Solo Cups Into a Hybrid Hydroponic/Soil Plant Booster
Introduction: Transform Ordinary Solo Cups Into a Hybrid Hydroponic/Soil Plant Booster
If you have ever attempted to start plants indoors before your last frost, you probably know what it is to get a root bound plant. No matter the size of your growing container, it does not take the roots too long to find its outer boundaries. This method uses the benefits of hydroponic growing to keep those roots thriving, while preparing your plant to live in soil.
Step 1: Watch the Video
This Youtube video leads you through all of the steps of converting red solo cups into an outstanding hydroponic/soil planting solution.
Step 2: Keep a Couple of Your Old Solo Cups
You can use new ones of course, but why not get some use out of them first. We don’t judge you based on what was in the cup prior to starting the project.
Step 3: Let’s Put Some Holes in the Bottom of One Cup
Or I have found you can easily do up to five of these at a time, but you will want one hole-free cup for every cup into which you put holes. You can use a nail, scissors, box knife, any number of things to cut your cups; however I find that for the smoothest process and the least chance of unintentionally cracking out your cup, warming a screwdriver over an open flame for about a minute and then pushing down with some force and melting through works best.
Step 4: Put Potting Soil Into the Cup That Has the Holes
I have used straight compost for this before as well. Whatever growing medium you would normally use for a potted plant should be used here.
Step 5: Place Inside the Solo Cup Without Holes
Step 6: Plant Your Seedling Into the Cup
It is time to put your seedling into the new creation. Plant it like you normally would when transplanting a seedling into a larger pot. Then give it a good initial watering. There are drainage holes in the inner cups, so your plant should not get water logged, and the outer cup will prevent water from spilling out.
Step 7: After a Good Initial Watering, Water Sparingly
You want those roots to seek out the holes in the bottom. If the soil goes completely dry and there are not yet roots in the bottom, make sure to water to keep your plant alive, but as soon as you see a root peeking out the bottom of the inner cup, quit watering from the top.
Step 8: Add Hydroponic Solution to the Outer Cup
Once you see that root peeking through, add hydroponic solution to the outer cup. The roots will thrive, and the plant will get tons of nutrients from the hydroponic solution. Your plant will grow as if it was in a much bigger pot, and be very health to transplant outside later.
How to Germinate & Transplant Cannabis Seedlings
In this tutorial, you’ll learn how (and when) to transplant your new cannabis seedlings so they grow as fast as possible!
Did you know that seedlings in solo cups often grow faster than seedlings started in big containers?
The reason some growers transplant their plants instead of starting them in their final container is that seedlings usually grow faster during the first few weeks of their life if you start them in something small like a solo cup. The growing medium dries out much faster in a smaller container, which means your seedling roots are always getting access to lots of oxygen at all times. It also makes it more difficult to overwater your plants!
If you start seedlings in a solo cup, you should try to transplant to a bigger pot around the time the leaves reach the edges of the cup. This seedling is ready for transfer!
If seedlings get too big for their cups before transplanting to a bigger container, you may accidentally limit your plant’s root space. This slows down growth and can cause puzzling deficiencies! So if you do start in small containers it’s important to transplant your seedlings on time to avoid letting them become rootbound!
“Rootbound” seedlings are often droopy and may display odd symptoms that are hard to explain. If seedlings are rootbound you’ll see during the transfer process that the roots have wrapped all the way around the outsides of the container, preventing the plant roots from doing what they need to do. Try to transfer to a bigger pot before this point!
For many growers, it’s simpler to start plants in their final containers. Although your seedlings may grow slightly slower at first, you never have to worry about transplanting them. You also avoid the possibility of shocking them during the transplant process.
That being said, if you want the fastest growth from your seedlings and don’t mind transplanting, starting in small containers like solo cups may be the way to go.
The truth is, your seedlings will thrive whether you start in a big or small container as long as you take good care of them! Neither way is the “best” method; it’s more a matter of personal preference.
How to Transplant Seedlings
1.) Germinate Seeds with Paper Towel Method
Before you can start transplanting, you need to germinate your seeds. I recommend the “paper towel” method for germination because this method is easy and hard to mess up! Learn About Other Ways to Germinate Seeds!
- Place your seeds inside a folded wet paper towel, and place it between two paper plates (or regular plates) so that they don’t dry out.
- Check on your seeds every 12 hours but try not to disturb them. When they’ve germinated, you’ll see the seeds have cracked and there are little white roots coming out.
- They should germinate in 1-4 days, though some seeds can take a week or longer (especially older seeds).
- Keep them warm if possible. One thing you can do to get seeds to germinate a little faster is to keep them in a warm place (75-80°F). Some people use a seedling heat mat but in most cases that’s unnecessary.
These seedlings were sprouted using the paper towel method!
Once your seeds have germinated, gently plant seeds in a solo cup about an inch deep, roots down.
Make sure to cut plenty of holes in the bottom of the solo cup first, so water can drain out the bottom easily!
Add your potting mix to the solo cup. Dig a small hole about 1-2″ deep and gently place your sprouted seed, root down, into the hole you made. Lightly fill around and cover with soil. You’ll see a seedling emerge a day or two later!
Here’s a quick cheat sheet for the paper towel germination method!
2.) Allow leaves to grow to edges of the solo cup
Your seedlings will take off in a day or two, and soon it’ll seem like they’re growing more and more each day!
Once your seedlings have grown enough that their leaves have reached the edges of the solo cup, it’s time to transplant to a bigger container!
These seedlings are begging to be transplanted to bigger pots (especially that big one on the bottom!)
Transferring to a bigger container at this stage will prevent your seedling roots from becoming rootbound and “choking” themselves because they get all wrapped around the outside of the soil. The outside circling of the roots prevents the plant from using water and nutrients properly, so you often end up with droopy seedlings and hard-to-explain nutrient deficiencies.
3.) Transplant seedlings to a 1, 2 or 3-gallon pot (then to an even bigger final container if you desire)
Instead of pulling the whole plant out of the container, sometimes you can just cut away the solo cup when you plan on transplanting. This is one of the advantages of starting in disposable cups – it makes transplanting easy and stress-free. You can also gently run a butter knife around the outside to help loosen the soil, turn it upside down and pat out the seedling, soil and all!
Transfer seedling into a new container by digging a hole the size of a solo cup, and gently placing your seedling in the new hole without disturbing the roots at all if possible, like this!
How to Avoid Transplant Shock
The process of transplanting from one container into a bigger one can shock your cannabis plants, especially if you wait too long to transplant.
You don’t want cannabis transplant shock!
You can help avoid causing your cannabis plants stress during transplant by following these principles:
- Transplant your cannabis plants after their roots have begun to fill container (to help hold all the growing medium together) but before the roots have started wrapping around the edges (plants have become rootbound).
- Water your cannabis plants 1-2 days before transplanting. This will help the growing medium stay together (since it’s moist), but still slide out easily (since it’s not soaking wet).
- It’s better to transfer too early than too late!
- If the roots haven’t grown all around the sides of the root ball (plant isn’t rootbound), avoid disturbing the roots if possible. There’s no need to shake out dirt, just carefully move entire root ball directly into the next pot.
- Make sure your plants are in their final container at least 1-2 weeks before you switch them over to the flowering stage, and avoid transplanting plants during the flowering/budding stage if you can since the stress may affect your final yields.
- If your cannabis plants seem like they are suffering from transplant shock (leaf symptoms, drooping, slowed growth), it can be helpful to use a seaweed kelp extract (often available as a liquid fertilizer) to help your cannabis recover more quickly. If transplanting seems scary, it’s okay to plant your seed or clone in its final destination right at the beginning, just be wary of overwatering until the plant has a few sets of leaves and is growing vigorously. You can increase the amount of oxygen available to your plants by adding extra perlite to loosen the soil and allow water to drain through more easily. after they’ve been transplanted for the best results!
If you follow all these steps, you may notice that your plant doesn’t show any signs of stress at all!
Now you just allow plants to grow!
4.) Transplant to an even bigger container if desired
If your cannabis plants double in height while still in the vegetative stage, you may want to consider transplanting them into an even bigger container for the best results. The final size of your cannabis plant is constrained by the pot size. If you keep your plants in small pots, they simply won’t grow as big as they would in bigger pots.
If you’re trying to keep plants small, small containers can actually be a good thing. But if you want to grow bigger plants, you need to give their roots enough space to “spread out”
What Size Final Container?
A general guide is to have at least 2 gallons per 12″ of height. This isn’t perfect since plants often grow differently, and some plants are short and wide instead of tall, but this is a good starting rule of thumb.
So if your final (desired) plant size is…
12″ ~ 2-3 gallon container
24″ ~ 4-6 gallon container
36″ ~ 6-8 gallon container
48″ ~ 8-10 gallon container
60″ ~ 10+ gallon container
Go Bigger If You Need to Spend Time Away From Your Cannabis!
If you plan on being away from your plants for more than a day or two during the grow, it can’t hurt to go up a size or two. The bigger the container, the less often you need to water. So even if you get slightly slower growth in a too-big container, you will definitely be able to spend more time away from your plants without having to water them!
5.) You’re Done!
That’s it. You’re done transplanting your weed plants!
Now you just need to worry about taking care of your plants until you’re ready to start flowering/budding. Remember plants will usually double (or even triple) in size from when you first initiate the flowering stage!
Note: You can skip transplanting if it seems like too much work for you. Just make sure you’re careful not to overwater small plants in too-big containers. Once plants start growing vigorously, you don’t need to worry as much about overwatering. Learn more about common seedling problems.
Should I start in a solo cup or in a bigger pot?
I think it’s a matter of preference. Just as a quick summary: It’s easy to give too much or too little water to a very small seedling in a big pot. With a solo cup, you just soak the grow medium and the roots get a lot of both oxygen and water at all times because the medium dries out quickly. The downside is you have to transplant a seedling as soon as the leaves reach the edges of the cup, or its growth starts slowing down. Also, if you’re not careful you could possibly shock the plant during transplant.
Seedlings started in solo cups take less room in the grow space, and tend to grow a little faster! But if you’re careful about watering plant in a big container, you can get seedlings to grow almost as fast without having to worry about transplanting.
I’ve done it both ways and each method will serve you well. In the end, don’t stress too much. Your seedlings will come out fine as long as you pay attention to them
Seedlings In solo cups
1 weeks old tomorrow I’ve just been feeding ro water at pH 6.0. When should I do my first transplant? Any suggestions? I’m using a 600 king led grow light pretty cheap paid 80 bucks for it about 20 inches away. Gonna switch once I started feeding stronger ppm.
Wait till the root stays together when u tap out of cup. If it falls apart… not ready Freddy.
Thanks for the feed back sunny
I wait till you get your first nodes and leaves span the diameter of cup!
Much appreciated feedback
I’ve never gone longer than 14 days in the cups. A nice vigorous plant and I’m getting that thing in a 1gl in 10 or 11 days. Then 2 more weeks in a 1 gl. I love transplanting.
I feed to water for the first 2 weeks after it sprouts then I’ll start low pppm like 275 right that’s what I did on my auto flower that are 2 weeks ahead of these seedlings but I just wanna make sure I don’t have to give nutes till a littler later stage I haven’t even been adding cal mag to the ro water wanna make sure I don’t burn them but they looking weak rn maybe I should start 275 now after the first week of just to water
Yeah 1st 2 weeks don’t need any additives. A sign they’re ready for nutes is when the cotyledon leaves fade to yellow and die.
There are variables that determine the amount you feed, but sounds like you have a good starting point to me.
This are the rounder leafs not the sedated ones right
Yes the rounder ones.
I wanna thank you for your feedback btw it’s been very helpful I’ve been studying this more and more everyday I got a whole shedule that I’ve put to get her from days of studying so atleast I know I’m not going in lost I just over think stuf a lot
I can tell by the pics you are watering too much.
Get a spray bottle and keep the soil moist. It should not compact, which is was pouring water will do.
That is probably why they look weak to you.
Environment and lighting should be suitable for a seedling as well. Low intense light at close distance is best. 75-85 degrees and 60-75% humidity is a good range. The ideal numbers are within that range.
I thought coco and perlite was no such thing as over watering cause the air to water ratio that it has idk maybe I read wrong I’ve been getting a lot of good info from cocoforcannabis.com great info for coco
I’ve been watering it every day just very little to get a little run off I figure that also give the roots air like as it run off
The climate is deff dialed in
78 degrees at 65 humidity
No runoff needed. The seedling stage should be treated differently than the veg stage. You should be nursing the little girl to develop a root system first. Small amount of water…moisture, not wetness. If that makes sense.
Sounds like you’re doing a good job, just let it dry out a little then start misting the coco. About 15-20 sprays once a day, sometimes twice.
I just read that once the cleyotede have been open for 24 hours and in its first container I should start to fertigate with a ppm no higher than 400 I mean that’s what I’m feeding my other four bigger autos that’s Are one week ahead plus they grew faster these are feminizes so should I start to follow my low ppm of 275 for the next Tyne I spray the coco/per which I don’t need run of for or should I follow my shedule and just Waugh’s the 2 weeks cause it’s sounds to me with what your telling me that I shouldn’t water it a lot to no move the roots around to let them grow and fill in the cup so every how many days should I water or fertigate in this solo cups
You would be ok to feed up to 400ppm, that not bad advise, but the idea of that is to have available nutrition at a concentration that won’t burn the roots and keep that concentration at a low amount then increasing the amount as the plant gets bigger. This can prevent deficiencies later on. It’s not completely necessary, but I can see the benefits when growing in coco.
It’s tricky watering a young plant, so for a less complicated and more nurturing strategy, I suggest adding nothing for 10-14 days then transplant to 1 gallon pot and begin feeding at 400ppm.
one of them got a small hole on the serated leaf got me thinking maybe it needs calmag I mean I did buffer it with calmag at a pretty good strength mix maybe it’s nothing and rn I got the kingled 600w I don’t think it a strong like bought it for cheap i feel like it’s easier to use that then a bunch of bulbs do you think my light might be to strong for them I don’t have it that close