Proper way to transplant a seedling to bury the stem?

I have ordered Fox Farm Ocean Forest soil and it should be here in a couple of days. The current organic soil I am using is staying too wet. My seedling is also at 3" tall with only the first set of leaves besides the cotyledons. I have read up on transplanting the seedling and burying the stem up to the bottom leaves. What I have read says to remove as much soil as possible from around the roots during transplant. Why is this? Or is it bad information. Thanks.

My seedling has been above soil for almost exactly 3 days at this point so still a very young seedling.

Bad information on removing the seedling soil. That would also tear up the root system and more then likely kill the plant. Whenever you transplant use the seedling pot to make an impression into the new pot by pouring soil around the small pot and compressing it. Then slide the entire seedling root ball from out of the pot and into the impression you just made. Use a little but of water around the soil to mold it all together. From there just monitor the plant for new growth. If your stem is only 3 inches, I would leave it like that. If your plant is getting stretchy then you need to lower the light source more for better lighting.


Thanks. My main goal is to get the seedling out of this crap soil and into some good stuff. I wonder how much of a root ball there will be after just 3 days above soil? I am assuming not much and that most of the existing soil will fall away anyways. I am hoping most of the existing soil does fall away because I am afraid it will continue to retain too much water and cause root rot problems.

I turned up my light a bit and the stretching has slowed down it seems. The two regular leaves are getting bigger as well. I see no sign of the next set of leaves yet.

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What soil is it in? I would leave it there for at least 10 days

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Harvest Organics from Lowes. I should have just bought FF in the first place. This stuff was wet as soon as I opened the bag.

I let it dry out and then yesterday I gave it a little bit of water. I have had a fan blowing above the pot all night and the top of the soil is still wet this morning.

Does it have slow release nitrogen in it?
It’ll say it in the ingredient list

It says it contains slow release nutrients but doesn’t say what they are or the concentration. The main ingredients are shredded pine bark, perlite and peat moss.

Is it in a solo cup? How much soil is in the seedling pot

I used a clay pot just a little bit bigger than a solo cup. That was probably a mistake too since clay pots hold moisture. I am going to go to a plastic pot next and a 5 gallon fabric pot for the final transplant. Now I know why I see so many pictures of solo cups only half full…so you can add soil around the stem as it grows taller. I filled the clay pot almost to the top.

You really shouldn’t be adding more than 1 or 2 ml of water every day or 2 for a seedling that young. They won’t tolerate being wet for too long.

I usually dont advise this but if you want to try to flip the pot upside down and break away as much of that soil as you can the repot into the FFOF. That FF soil is a little hot for seedlings but it’s better then having slow release nitrogen in your 5 gal pot giving you problems in flower.

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Agreed…but if he had a small dome on it he shouldnt really need ANY water in the ground. Misting the dome for a week is usually what I recommend


Yes. This!

I only poured a little bit of water around the outside edges of the pot and quite a bit of it ran out the bottom. I have noticed the cotyledons are curled downward slightly which if I am correct is a sign of being too wet. Thanks.

Too early for that. All she has is a tap root at this point.

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I agree. I think my soil is arriving wed or thur and I plan on getting the seedling into some nice dry FF asap.

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I dont focus on the appearance of the first few leaves of a seedling. More so focus on the color. Seedling leaves look a little funky half the time

That’s what I was hoping. If that is the case I don’t think much of the old soil will stick to the taproot anyways. Do you think a seedling this young will survive a transplant and burying the stem up to the first set of leaves?

I would follow imsick’s advice and wait several days.

Any time I transplant I bury them up to their neck. Not everyone does that though.

You will be far better off believing that you are underwatering!


I am not going to add any more water at all until the transplant. What about the FF soil. Should I water it directly after the transplant? From what I have heard, FF is very light and airy.