Saturating Starter Plugs for Successful Root Development

Riley Jones
April 16, 2024

Before taking cannabis cuttings, we always recommend growers properly prepare and saturate their Grodan starter plugs or cubes first in order to set the stage for successful and healthy root development. Because stone wool is a clean and consistent growing media that lacks essential nutrients, it’s crucial to provide a complete and balanced fertilizer solution to sustain your cannabis cuttings with the nutrients they need to maintain existing tissue and promote healthy root growth.  

To start the saturation process, growers should prepare a nutrient solution with an EC of 1.5 mS/cm or higher and a pH level of 5.5. Doing so ensures your plugs or cubes are properly saturated with the necessary elements to encourage new growth. 

Nutrient Solution - Originals

Once the nutrient solution is ready, soak the plugs or cubes in the solution for several minutes, at least until the bubbles have stopped, to allow the substrate to absorb the nutrients required and achieve full saturation.  

While soaking is preferred, growers can achieve the same result via overhead saturation through a watering wand fitted with a coarse spray head. Remember, if this is your chosen method, your plugs or cubes must be watered multiple times to ensure a thorough soaking. Typically, more than one pass is required to allow your substrate to reach full saturation and avoid issues in the later stages of growth.  

Often, facilities equipped with wetting lines or irrigation booms have the advantage of automating the overhead saturation process. However, ensuring that the substrate passes under the nutrient solution multiple times is critical to reaching full absorption.  

Once the plugs or cubes have reached full saturation, remember to allow excess nutrient solution to drain away, as this drainage ensures that the plugs are not oversaturated, which can cause root rot and other issues to develop.  

After drainage is complete, it’s always a good idea to measure the wet weight of a few plugs, cubes, or trays to confirm they are uniform and fully saturated. By doing so, growers can ensure their substrate has absorbed the necessary nutrients and is ready to take cuttings and begin the propagation process.  

By following the guidelines and ensuring thorough saturation, growers can provide the necessary nutrients for healthy root development, vigorous plant growth, and bountiful harvests. 

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