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When to Transplant Seedlings in Hydroponics – The Answer!

Hydroponics is the process of growing plants without soil.

The University of Nevada states that “hydro” stands for water and “ponos” for labor.

In the past couple of years, hydroponics has become a very popular method of creating a sustainable and productive growing resource with limited space.

Seedlings are often grown in a seedling tray using a different hydroponics medium and later need to be transferred to a hydroponics system.

Transplanting seedlings in Hydroponics is a delicate process that relies on timing.


When to Transplant Seedlings in Hydroponics

When transplanting hydroponic seedlings there are two very important factors to check. Firstly, the seedlings should be at least three inches tall, the seedlings should also have true leaves coming in. These factors are important because moving plants from a soil environment to a one that lacks soil usually comes with risks. Transplanting seedlings that are not established are more likely to die.


When to Transplant Seedlings in Hydroponics

When to Transplant Seedlings in Hydroponics


When to Transplant Seedlings in a Hydroponics System

Transplanting seedlings into a hydroponic system is all about timing.

You want to transplant seedlines once they develop true leaves.

Wait until there are two to three strong leaves, depending on the types of seeds that you are planting, they may develop leaves that are not true leaves at first, but these will either continue to grow or fall off.

You also want your seedlings to be between three and six inches tall before transplanting them.

Also, keep in mind that your seedling will germinate at different times, depending on the crop.

You don’t want to transplant your seedlings if they are near germination.

This will result in a higher likelihood of your seedlings dying once in the hydroponic environment.


Transplant seedlings once they get true leaves

Transplant seedlings once they get true leaves


Best Environment to Start Seedlings

Seedlings can often seem like a difficult task to take on, but you shouldn’t feel that way.

Always keep in mind that there are generally two environments that help seedlings flourish.

Most crops are either classified as cool weather or warm weather crops.

When sprouting seedlings for a hydroponic system, you start them off in the germination system.

Here you can control the temperature depending on the crop that you are attempting to grow.

The temperature during germination is essential in getting your seeds to sprout.

For example, fruit crops require a higher temperature point to germinate when compared to leafy green crops.

You should keep them in your germination system until you see any sign of the seedling emerging.

Once your seedlings have sprouted, you transfer them to the soil.

Here your goal is to have the seedling become strong enough to transfer to your hydroponic environment.

The easiest way to determine when your seedlings are ready to be transplanted is when they have two to three leaves.

This is a sign that the seedling has grown enough that the roots and plant will flourish once transplanted.

Once you are ready to move your seedlings into your hydroponic system, you should first check the water to ensure that it is at the correct temperature.

Any extremes of hot or cold will shock your seedlings and cause them to die.


Keep seeds in a germination system until they are ready to be transplanted

Keep seedlings in a germination system until they are ready to be transplanted


What to Look Out For When Transplanting Your Hydroponic Seedlings

There are certain factors that you should look out for when it comes to transplant your seedlings into your hydroponic environment.

You should ensure that your seedlings are strong enough to be planted.

Do not transplant them before your seedlings have developed true leaves.

If you transplant them too early, your seedlings will not be strong enough to survive.

You also want to make sure that the roots of your seedlings have been properly watered beforehand.

The temperature of your water in the hydropic system is also important.

You want the temperature to be warm enough to help your seedlings continue to grow stronger.

A temperature between 65°F (18°C) and 68°F (20°C) is considered optimal for hydroponics.

When starting your seedlings, the size of the container matters.

If you are starting seedlings in smaller containers that become cramped once they begin to sprout, you’ll be looking at an earlier transplant time.

Also, if you are using a container that is too large, your seedlings will not grow as quickly.

Meaning that you won’t be able to transplant them until much later.


Make sure the water is between 65°F (18°C) and 68°F (20°C) before transplanting seedlings in hydroponics

Make sure the water is between 65°F (18°C) and 68°F (20°C) before transplanting seedlings in hydroponics


Frequently Asked Questions About When to Transplant Seedlings in Hydroponics

Why is timing so important when it comes to transplanting your hydroponic seedlings?

Timing is essential because you are taking the plant from a watery environment to a watery one. While it may not seem like that big of a change, your seedlings need to have established roots to continue to grow in a water environment. Otherwise, your plants won’t be able to support themselves.

What temperature should the water be?

The ideal temperature for transplanting your seedlings should be between 65°F (18°C) and 68°F (20°C). Water temperature is another very important factor when it comes to transplant your seedlings into a hydroponic environment. Variance in temperature, whether it is too cold or too hot, will result in your seedlings dying. 

Before transplanting your seedlings, do they need to be watered?

You should water your seedlings the day before you plan on transplanting them. Give your seedlings a heavy watering. This will allow the roots of the seedlings to absorb as much water as possible. It also ensures that once they are in the hydroponic environment, their seedlings will not absorb water too quickly.


Conclusion About When to Transplant Seedlings in Hydroponics

If you want to transplant your seedlings successfully into your hydroponic setting, it takes a little TLC to execute it successfully.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you want to have an established plant before moving it from the soil into a water-based setup.

If you don’t have decent root and leaf growth before transferring your seedling, your seedlings will be unable to flourish.

Author Bio

Daniel Iseli

Taking care of houseplants and gardening are my greatest passions. I am transforming my apartment into an urban jungle and am growing veggies in my indoor and outdoor garden year-round.