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How Long Plants Can Stay In Different Sized Trays

In general, the answer to how long plants can stay in different sized trays depends on their growth. Check your plants if they have grown their set of true leaves, and this shall signal that they are ready for planting. Gardeners’ common mistake is that they assume the seedlings have developed their true leaves, but they are only seed leaves, so you must distinguish between the two. 

The Minnesota State Horticultural Society emphasizes never to transplant your seedlings until they have developed true leaves. This is the same concept you’ll apply to know how long your plants will stay in trays. To help prevent transplant shock and drawbacks, you can also start your plants in the greenhouse to ensure that they’ll grow strong for transplanting. 

How Long Plants Can Stay In Different Sized Trays

Do You Know How Long Plants Can Stay In Different Sized Trays?

As mentioned earlier, true leaves’ growth dictates when it’s time to move your seedlings from their tray. Therefore, this makes the timing varying for different plants and saying a specific period of stay in different sized trays will be impossible. Additionally, it’s worth noting the size and type of tray you’re using as well to know how long plants can stay in it.

One of the most common ways of starting seedlings is in a flat. And depending on the tray size, they can stay longer or shorter in it. Simply put, a bigger flat means a more extended waiting period compared to a smaller tray. 

You can quickly know the reason behind this since plants have spacing requirements. The bigger the plants are, then the sooner they will outgrow the tray and require transplanting. Remember that the more room or bigger tray cell you have, the longer the plants can stay in different sized trays. 


What Is Potting On?

When starting plants, you have probably heard of university extensions mentioning the terms, potting on, and pricking out. When potting on seedlings, you are giving the plants more space in their existing container, which can be pots or modular trays. This way, they’ll have enough room for their roots to ensure proper growth and development. 

Let’s say you want to pot on seedlings in modular trays. You can efficiently and safely take the seedling out by pushing beneath the tray. This will loosen the root ball of your seedling, and you’ll be able to take it out of the tray. 

Remember that you must only handle the seedlings by the root ball as they are vulnerable to injuries. Unlike mature plants, the stems of seedlings are too fragile that even a gentle pinch can damage them. 


What Is Pricking Out?

Another common term besides potting on is pricking out seedlings. To put it simply, this is the process of moving seed trays to modular trays or bare-root seedlings to larger pots. This way, you’ll be growing the seedlings individually instead of by clumps. 

But as mentioned previously, seedlings are fragile, so only prick them out when they are large enough to handle. Ensure that you have also prepared the new modular or plug tray beforehand with a peat-free potting mix. The surface should be firm, and it’s better if your seedlings’ roots retain their original potting mix after teasing them apart. 

It would be best if you didn’t also rush in pricking seedlings by big batches, so the roots don’t dry up. Make a hole in the new potting mix using a pencil and gently lower the roots inside. Firm the area around the plant, and you can also bury some part of the stem to support leggy seedlings. 

And lastly, don’t forget to water your plants to help them get healthy. 


How To Transplant Seedlings

Now that you know how long plants can stay in different sized trays, you should also learn to transplant itself. Remember that you’re moving fragile seedlings from a seed tray, which means every action can affect their survival later on. For starters, never grab the seedlings by their stems when handling them, as mentioned in potting on and pricking out.

Tap the bottom of the tray instead of removing the whole seedling with the soil and roots intact. It’s ideal for getting the roots with dirt around them to avoid potential damages. Additionally, gently unwind the roots if they are twisted around the soil, so they are all facing outward for easier transplanting. 


Seed leaves vs true leaves

Let us now talk about identifying true leaves. Remember that the first ones that will develop are the cotyledons or seed leaves. Be careful not to transplant your seedlings when they haven’t developed their true leaves yet. 

Identifying true leaves lets you know that the plants can handle transplanting because they’ll be mature enough at this point. Compared to seed leaves, the true leaves look like smaller versions of the adult leaves that you might even see ridges and hairs. Seed leaves, on the other hand, look smoother and less detailed and are commonly located near the base of the seedling’s stem. 



It can be nerve-wracking to transplant, pot on, or prick out seedlings. And to guarantee success, you must know how long plants can stay in different sized trays. Two considerations can affect their duration of stay. 

First, your seedlings can leave their starting tray when they’ve developed true leaves. Second, if the tray they are in are small, then transferring them will be sooner. You’re both looking at the plants’ maturity for transplanting and if their tray can still accommodate their growth. 


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How To Prevent Root Rot In Hydroponics: 3 Useful Tips

If you’re a newbie gardener who’s looking to find ways to hone your skills, you’d want to learn how to prevent root rot in hydroponics even before this problem affects your plants.

Hydroponics can be advantageous to crops in more ways than one. However, it also comes with risks of diseases, such as root rot, which can be destructive or even lethal to your plants.

Unfortunately, there are no effective methods to recover the wilted parts that were affected by the root rot once it hits your plants. The only thing you can do if you do not want this catastrophe to befall your crops is to prevent it before it happens. Read on to learn more about this subject.


What is Root Rot?

Root rot is a disease that attacks the plant roots and causes them to suffer decay. This usually happens when a lack of oxygen supply occurs in the substrate.

To give you an idea, think about plant roots that are submerged in water that only has a little oxygen in it. Over time, the plant suffocates and dies.

Aside from rot and decay, this disease also leads to the proliferation of fungi that are naturally present in the soil. These include Rhizoctonia, Alternaria, Pythium, Botrytis, Fusarium, or Phytophthora. As soon as fungi colonies start to grow, they tend to target the weakened roots and infect your precious plant babies.

Once the plant becomes infected, they won’t be able to take in what they need to grow – water, oxygen, and other nutrients. When this happens, it won’t be long before the plant dies.


What is Hydroponics?

In case you’re not aware, the term hydroponic is derived from a Latin word that means “working water”. To put it simply, hydroponics is an art that involves growing various types of plants without soil. If you’re like most people, the first thing that comes to mind when somebody talks about hydroponics would be a picture of plants with roots suspended into the water without using any type of growing medium.


Avoiding Root Rot in Hydroponic Systems

Detecting and identifying root rot can be tricky. When your plants get infected, their leaves and roots gradually wither until the whole crop itself dies from the lack of nutrients, which is a common symptom of many diseases.


What causes root rot in hydroponics?

One of the requirements in hydroponics systems is oxygen. Without it, your plants are basically on the road to death. On the other hand, lack of such is one of the major triggers for root rot, and it must be avoided at all costs.

Just like when planting in soil, you loosen up the ground so that your plants’ roots can have their required intake of oxygen. That is the case for crops grown in aqueous solutions as well. If they cannot breathe, they would not be able to grow.

Another agent for root rot is the temperature. The last thing you would want in your system are parasites that leech nutrients intended for your plants and infect the water during the process. In common terms, these fungi are called molds.

One of the best breeding grounds for these is warm and moist areas. For this reason, if the water temperature inside your reservoir is high, then you are susceptible to it. Something as minor as letting the solutions exposed to sunlight can already be a risk factor.


3 Useful Tips on How to prevent root rot in hydroponics

There is good news! Root rot in hydroponics can be prevented! Just follow these tips:

Tip#1: Use the right air pump

If you do not want root rot to affect your plants, you merely have to avoid its causes. If you need oxygen, keep the water bubbling by providing an air pump of appropriate size, and also give importance to proper ventilation in the room.


Tip #2: Maintain the temperature

The temperature should be maintained within the 70 to 80 degrees F range. Get rid of any materials that can make your system vulnerable to infections, and make sure not to disturb your crops while they are trying to grow.


Tip #3: Get rid of the rotten parts

However, if you failed in preventing the disease, then the rotten parts should be removed immediately. Cut them off as there is no chance of reviving them, and focus on the potential new growth instead. Fix your hydroponics system and eliminate the risks.


Why Give Greenhouse Gardening a Try?

Greenhouse gardening offers numerous benefits to greens aficionados who dare to take their gardening experience to the next level. Aside from acting as a shield against the effects of inclement weather, a mini, hobby, or semi-pro greenhouse can also serve as a protective layer that keeps harmful bugs and critters at bay.

What’s more, its enclosed structure allows you to control your plants’ growing conditions including the temperature, light, moisture, and ventilation of the greenhouse’s internal environment. With a controlled environment, you’ll be able to extend growing seasons and grow plants that aren’t native to your area.



No matter how well-informed you are about how to prevent root rot in hydroponics, you cannot completely eradicate the risks. Therefore, to avoid the worst-case scenario, you should be prepared to sacrifice the infected for the sake of others. While you’re at it, consider trying your hand at greenhouse gardening as well.


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