Transplanting Marijuana (Potting Up)

When growing just about any plant, you’ll likely need to transplant it at least once, and this is also true for marijuana. Transplanting can be a delicate process and if not done correctly, it can lead to yellow and withering leaves. In cases when the transplanting process results in a great loss of root or soil, the entire plant can be lost.

Before you begin

The transplanting process is actually quite simple, but thought must be given to the
type of pot and growing medium you’re going to use once the plant has been transplanted. You’ll need to have these things on hand and ready to go once you start transplanting.

  • Choose a pot that will be big enough to hold the plant and allow room for growth, but won’t be too big for your plant. While the first containers for the plant will be one liter or less, you’ll want to transplant into a 4-liter container, then maybe a 10. Very large plants may even eventually need 15-liter or 20-liter pots as they grow.
  • Not all marijuana plants need to be grown in soil, of course. Soilless mixes are available, and hydroponic setups can also be used, but will still need to be transplanted. If you are transplanting the plant into soil, fill the new container halfway with soil, making sure that the root ball of the plant will fit comfortably inside. Press down on the soil lightly, making sure it’s firm. This will ensure it will allow for good drainage.

Transplanting, step-by-step

Once you have your container and soil or soilless mix ready, you can begin the transplanting process by following the following steps.

  • Lightly water the marijuana plant so that the soil is moist but not saturated. Moist soil is easier to transplant than dry soil but if it’s too wet, the soil will easily clump and fall apart.
  • Place one hand over the top of the container, holding it so that the base of the plant between is between your index and middle fingers. Place your other hand on the bottom of the pot.
  • Flip the container upside-down. If the plant doesn’t slide out easily, tap the bottom while gently pulling the plant from the top.
  • Find the root ball (typically it’s held the shape of its last container) and nestle it into the spot you’ve made for it in the new soil. Place more soil on top of the root ball and tamp it down slightly to make sure it’s firmly packed around the plant.

Do’s and don’ts


  • Transplant as soon as the plants have grown taller than their containers. Remember marijuana roots go down as far as the plant goes up!
  • Complete the transplant over plastic sheets or outside. It’s likely soil will spill.
  • Take your time. Remember that this is a delicate process.


  • Stir in wet soil mix ingredients as they will simply turn to useless mud.
  • Transplant more than two or three times for one plant. Doing so will lower the yield the plant gives.
  • Wait until the plant is root-bound to transplant it. This will make the transplanting process even more difficult and less likely to succeed.

Transplanting can be done, and done successfully, with just about any marijuana plant.

IMPORTANT - Remember however, that auto-flowering plants should not be transplanted at all as the shock will stunt them limiting yields. If needed, they can be moved once from a smaller container to a larger one but ideally they should be started in a pot big enough to hold them when they are adults.

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