How To Reduce Cannabis Transplant Shock

Like most other plants, transplanting is critical to the healthy growth of a cannabis plant.

cannabis transplant shock to seedlings is all part of growing plantsPin
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But, for most gardeners, this is also the trickiest part of growing cannabis, or any other plant per se, because it leads to transplant shock.

What is Cannabis Transplant Shock, and Why Does it Happen?

The term transplant cannabis shock refers to the stress plants suffer from when they are moved from one location to another.

It usually happens because of a change in temperature, soil, or growing conditions. Other common reasons include heat stress, nutrient deficiencies, and pests.

Whether shrubs or trees, all plants suffer from transplant shock when they are moved from one place to another.

However, the effects of the shock can vary depending on its severity.

Some plants may show symptoms like only drooping a little, while others may wilt completely, turn yellow, or, at worst, die.

The greater the difference in a plant’s old and new environment, the more severe the transplant shock will be.

Transplantation also causes a disturbance in the root system of a plant.

If not done carefully, it can cause damage to healthy roots.

Both of these factors also lead to transplant shock.

Why Is Transplanting Important for a Cannabis Plant?

Knowing about the risks involved in transplanting cannabis (or any other) plant, many new growers of cannabis wonder why it is important.

As mentioned above, transplanting is critical to the healthy growth of a cannabis plant. It also helps in maximizing your yield.

Unlike hydroponics or deep water culture growing techniques, growing a cannabis plant in a solid growing medium, like soil or coco coir fiber, makes it necessary to repot the plant from a small container to a bigger pot as it grows.

Otherwise, it will get root-bound, especially if grown in a small pot.

For those who do not know, the term root-bound refers to the condition when the growth of a plant’s root system gets restricted by the pot size.

When the rootball of the cannabis plant does not have enough space to grow and spread, it will cause these signs of transplant shock weed:

  • Stunted growth
  • Stem discoloration – reddening
  • Growing medium drying out too quickly, which then will require you to water the plant more frequently
  • Wilting
  • Slow or stunted flower production
  • Smaller blooms
  • Flimsy growth
  • Nutrient sensitivity – root-bound cannabis plants easily get burned even when fed with weak nutrient solutions.

According to experts, marijuana plants are protected from getting root-bound by growing them in air pots or smart pots (fabric pots) because they let air in from the sides.

Is it Possible to Prevent Cannabis Transplant Shock?

While you may not be able to avoid transplant shock cannabis completely, it’s possible to reduce it significantly.

Knowing when to transplant your cannabis plant is the most important factor to prevent or reduce transplant shock.

Transplant at the Right Stage and The Right Time

To minimize the chances of marijuana transplant shock, move your cannabis plant to the new container before it gets root-bound.

It’s also best to transplant cannabis plants during the vegetative stage. Also, make sure to prepare a new larger pot for transplanting.

Waiting until the plant outgrows its current container will increase the chances of root damage.

For example, the young plants, grown from cannabis seeds, are ready for transplantation when they have produced a specific number of leaves, about 4 to 5 sets of true leaves.

The root system, at this stage, should be healthy and white.

Most gardeners choose to transplant their cannabis plants two to three times during the initial growth stage before they start to produce flowers to encourage healthy and better plant growth.

In addition, two gallons of soil per 12″ inches of growth is required for a cannabis plant.

Make sure there is plenty of space available in the final container for the plant to fully develop.

With regards to the time of transplantation, experienced gardeners recommend doing it at the beginning of the spring or at the end of the fall season.

Never transplant your cannabis plants during the summer season.

Whether you are transplanting seedlings, small plants, or large ones, experts recommend doing it in the late afternoon when the sun and wind have calmed down.

Some Other Measures Which Can Help Prevent or Reduce Cannabis Plant Transplant Shock

Here are some more tips and tricks to make sure your cannabis plant doesn’t get severely affected by transplanting:

  • Limit the disturbance to the root system – While you cannot move the plant to a new location without disturbing the plant roots at all, you should try to minimize it as much as possible.
  • Try your best to keep the root ball intact when taking out the plant (turning the container upside down might help).
  • Also, do not shake out the soil or let the root ball dry out.
  • Water regularly – Water the plants immediately after transplanting – it will help the root system to recover from the damage or shock.
  • Avoid overwatering – Overwatering can lead to soggy or waterlogged soil, which can increase the risk of transplant shock. The plants will also not get the proper oxygen.
  • Feed with a root booster – Help the newly transplanted plants to the environment and encourage their root development by feeding them with a transplant-boosting fertilizer meant for promoting root growth.

How To Cure Cannabis Transplant Shock?

In most cases, the plants gradually recover from the transplant shock on their own.

However, help speed up the cannabis transplant shock recovery time process by undertaking the following measures:

Trim the Plants

Cutting back the foliage will reduce the stress as well as the loss of moisture and nutrients.

It will also help the plant focus and utilize its energy in developing the roots.

Water Regularly

Do not let the soil of your newly transplanted cannabis plants get dry.

Water the plant regularly, but only enough to keep the soil moist. Make sure to also try the wet-to-dry watering cycle.

Be careful not to overwater.

Also, make sure the new soil is moist, and the new pot has good drainage holes – newly transplanted plants should never be left in waterlogged grow medium or standing water.

Give It Time and Care

As mentioned above, most plants recover from transplant shock on their own.

But this doesn’t mean you should leave them on their own.

In fact, you should give extra care to the newly transplanted plants and make sure they are getting the right amount of water, sun, and nutrients.

Adding extra perlite to loosen the soil will also help the new plants to adjust to the new environment.


When re-potting a cannabis plant, experts recommend using about 3 to 5 times larger containers than the previous ones.

Also, keep the young plants protected from pest infestations, as they are susceptible to them.

Using a natural insecticide, like neem oil, has been found to be highly effective.

Simply use it as a foliar spray once every 2 to 3 weeks until the plants are established at their new location.

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