Deep Water Culture Transplant

The Gardenisto | May 8, 2012
While it is best to start a hydroponic garden from seed, it is also possible to transplant sprouts from containers and peat pots.

Transplanting sprouts from soil to a hydroponic system can introduce a lot of organic material. Organic materials can introduce destructive microbes, mold spores, and disease that can ultimately destroy your plant, or even your entire hydroponic crop. This type of plant destruction can be prevented, by taking a few precautions.

Hydrogen Peroxide, Spray bottle, net pots, container plant, razor blade, rockwool, small bucket or large Tupperware container.

Prior To Transplanting
Prepare your hydroponic system to receive a new plant. In our case, this is a 5 gallon DWC (deep water culture) bucket that has been ph balanced between 5.5 and 6.5, de-chlorinated, and heavily aerated.

Some planting mediums need to be prepared ahead of time. So if your planting medium requires a presoak in PH balanced water or a sterile rinse, prepare this prior to proceeding with transplanting.


Step 1
Gather and sterilize materials.

Step 2
Fill a small open top container with clean water. While others might disagree, tap water is actually good in this case because it is chlorinated. The chlorination will help to destroy microbes, and other unwanted organic material on the plants root mass.

Step 3
Extract the plant and root ball from container. If you are starting with a peat pot, it’s easiest to soak the peat pot before crumbling it away.

Step 4
Very gently remove as much soil as possible with your fingers. Be careful not to damage any of the roots, or small hairs on the roots. At this point, your plant will still have organic debris, vermiculite, bark, perlite, or even chunks of peat pot attached to the roots.

Step 5
Holding the green portions of your sprout out of the water container, place the root mass in the water container. Agitate the water over the root ball until all the dirt and organic material is removed.

Step 6
You will likely have to stop, replace the water from your washing container, and repeat the previous step a couple times, to completely remove all organic matter attached to the root mass of your plant.

Step 7
Rinse the root mass, by spraying it with a diluted H202 Hydrogen Peroxide solution. We made our rinsing solution with 3% Hydrogen Peroxide, and diluted it to 3ml for every liter of water. H202 can be dangerous, treat it as you would any other hazardous material. Especially if starting with a higher concentration of H202.

Step 8
Since we are using rockwool for our transplanting example, with a razor blade we slice into the rockwool from the side, all the way to the center where you would typically sow a seed.

Step 9
Gently stretch the rockwool open, and insert the sprout. If the root mass does not fit, or fits too tightly, either stretch the rockwool or slice away some rockwool to accommodate for the sprout.

Step 10
Insert the freshly prepared sprout into our net pot. Depending on plant size, you may need to add other growing mediums around the rockwool, such as red clay, or perlite..

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Written By The Gardenisto
The Gardenisto is passionate about aquaponics, hydroponics, horticulture, and traditional gardening. The Gardenisto shares his knowledge to help other enthusiasts in their own gardening endeavors.