3 Things You Should Know Before Transplanting from Soil to Hydroponics

Welcome to the wonderful world of hydroponic plants!

What sold me on hydroponics in the beginning was its cleanliness (no soil!) and how easy it was to care for plants with a water gauge. 

In fact, after I saw the advantages of growing with hydroponics I wanted to transfer all my plants!

After 30 years of hydroponic growing I’ve converting hundreds (probably thousands) of plants both as a commercial nurseryman and as a hobbyist.  I learned a lot about what works and I want to help you be successful at transferring your plants to hydroponics.

Hydroponic plants growing in our Florida nursery


Here are 3 things I think you should know before you start transferring soil plants to hydroponics. 

1. The Plants You Choose for Repotting

Choose plants carefully. The type of plant you choose for transferring makes a big difference. See a list of plants on our website.

Use only healthy plants. This is not a good way to revive sick or diseased plants.

Don’t transfer newly purchased plants. Give new plants 2-3 weeks to get acclimated before transplanting.

Start small. Start with table top plants – don’t transfer floor plants in the beginning


2. Using the Right Components

Using the right components will improve your transplanting success.

I always recommend using genuine EasyGroHydro components for transferring soil plants to hydroponics. Each component is designed to promote healthy plant growth.

  • Water Gauges


Water gauges tell you how much water is in the reservoir at the bottom of the pot. That’s important to know because you’ll be adjusting your watering routine while the plant is adapting. Water gauges make it easy.  

  • The Culture Pot

The hydroponic culture pot (or grow pot) should be the same size or even slightly smaller than the existing soil pot for a snug fit (the opposite of soil transplants). If the grow pot is too big it will hold too much water and won’t dry out evenly.

Our Culture Pots have openings in the side and bottom to encourage air flow through the pebbles and around the roots. (New roots need air to breathe!) The #1 killer of new transplants is over watering and then the roots suffocate. This is also common with soil plants. 

  • A Separate Outer Pot (or saucer) for the Reservoir –

The reservoir holds water for the plant to use as needed. During the transition form soil to hydroponics it’s essential that your new transplant dries out between waterings. Those roots need to breathe!  For the first 4-6 weeks I water to only 1/4 on the water gauge. After 2 weeks I lift the plant (and inner pot) to make sure the reservoir is completely dry before rewatering. 

If the bottom of the pot isn’t dry after 2 weeks, I dump out any remaining water and introduce a dry period of several days before I rewater. This is impossible without an separate reservoir.


3. Be Prepared to Nurture New Transplants for the First Couple of Weeks

I see it over and over – people expect the plant to take off after transplanting into LECA. Unfortunately that’s not always the case.

Transferring soil plants to hydroponics forces the plant to convert its soil roots to hydroponic (water) roots. This can be stressful for some plants and they’re going to need a little TLC during the transition. 

Don’t worry, your new transplant will be stronger after it adapts to hydroponics. Believe me, it’s worth the effort.

After moving from soil to hydroponics, new transplants are either 1) converting existing roots to hydroponics or 2) establishing new roots. 

This takes time and energy. Creating an ideal “growing area” to support the plant during this transition period is important.

This includes 1) good light  2) warm temperatures at the root zone and 3) lots of humidity at the leaves. 

The best way to insure warm temperatures at the roots is growing on a Heat Mat. Heat Mats gently warm the roots without raising the air temperature at the leaves.

Arranging your plants on a Humidity Tray is a good way to increase humidity. Moisture in the air increases as the water in the tray evaporates. 

After the new transplant has developed a solid root system (usually 4-6 weeks) you can move it out of the growing area to wherever it looks best. 

The time and effort it takes to nurture new transplants is definitely worth it. Established hydroponic plants are more durable and will out perform soil in every way.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s