Some plants outgrow the Aerogarden system, others are planted to start them off. Follow this guide to help you transplant your Aerogarden plants with the least stress.
You can transplant your Aerogarden plants to soil. You need to be careful as they have been in a controlled environment, but with care they can be relocated with the minimum stress.
Moving the plants from an environment they had everything to one where they are fighting against everything else can be stressful, so find out what you can do to help reduce their stress while transplanting.
How to Transplant Your Aerogarden Plants
If your plants have become too big for your Aerogarden then you can think about transplanting them elsewhere to allow them to carry on growing.
Before you do that – one thing I have done – especially with the older models is to remove the light dome altogether and place it near a sunny window.
Not the best environment, but it is getting fed with the nutrient and is still being fed with oxygenated water.
Transplanting an older plant from an Aerogarden may not work, I will warn you now as they may find the stress is too much.
You can reduce the stress as much as possible, but it does take time to get the plant acclimatized to it’s new environment.
If you can easily open the top to see the root mass or if it is the only plant in the Aerogarden then it is easier.
If you have multiple plants the root mass will have intertwined and be very difficult to separate.
I would advise transplanting the plant into a pot to start with.
You can keep an eye on it for the next week or so, before moving it outside, if that is it’s final place.
So get together a pot large enough to house the plant and some good quality potting mix compost.
Loosely fill the post with compost and water till water runs out of the bottom, leave somewhere to drain overnight.
If you can take the grow table off the nutrient bowl and lay it down on its back without damaging the top of the plants – making sure you cover whatever you place it down on with a waterproof cover ( or use the bathtub)
This way you can work on separating the roots of the various plants you want to remove carefully.
You may lose some of the thinner smaller roots, this should be ok.
Once you have them separated you can extract the seed pod out of the grow table.
Lay it on newspaper for now
Get the grow table back onto the Aerogarden as soon as possible to reduce the stress to the other plants.
Now you can concentrate on getting the plant into the pot.
Remember while it has been in the aerogarden it has been pampered.
It hasn’t had to look for food, it hasn’t had to combat any bacteria in the soil.
It has had warmth, it has had light…
You now have a decision to make – to remove the plastic pot or not…
If it is easily removable then definitely remove it without damaging the roots.
If you are going to damage the roots then leave it on.
If the plant will grow larger where the pot is and you would damage a lot of the roots if you took it off, then it is out with the scissors.
At the very least cut the pot into pieces so the plant can expand, but if you are going this far then it is worth seeing if you can release the pot from its constraints and cut it off in pieces, but without damaging the root mass.
In the transplant pot with the moist compost – make a hole big enough to take the root mass and about one inch of stem (2.5cm).
Making sure the root system is not just in a tight mass and have sticking out roots, place the plant into the pot.
Backfill the top of the roots with more potting compost ( you probably had to scoop some out to make room for the plant, so use this).
Make sure the plant is about one inch below the surface of the compost and firm very gently.
See if the plant can support itself – if not you will need to stake it for the first few weeks.
Now you need to put the plant in a place where it can become accustomed to being outside of the aerogarden.
If you don’t have a sunny window you can place it next to the aerogarden to share the light.
Allow the compost to dry on the top over then next few days.
The plant will droop as the roots are now having to look for food.
They will be growing the small hair like tendrils they never needed while in the aerogarden, so don’t panic.
And don’t over water it, the roots need to have oxygen.
They were getting this from the nutrient in the aerogarden, but not the small spaces in the soil are the available oxygen. along with the dry top part of the compost.
The bottom part of the compost doesn’t want to dry out.
Once the roots have changed over to soil roots you will see the leaves pick up and the plant to look healthier.
Water infrequently for a few more days, keeping an eye on it .
But once you are at this stage you are over the first hurdle.
If it is destined as an indoor pot plant now you can move it to the new location and see how happy it is there.
If it is going outside then take it outdoors for a few hours in the daylight – not in direct sunlight.
And bring it in overnight.
Do this longer and longer over the period of a week, until you decide to leave it out overnight.
The last frosts must be gone by about a month for most plants to be relatively safe to be outside.
If you know where the plant is going to be located in the garden, now is a good time to place it in place in the pot to see how it fits.
After it being there for a few days and still happy then you can dig a hole and transplant it into the soil.
Make sure you tease a few of the roots out of the compost to allow them to start going into the soil.
If you don’t do this the roots will stay in the compost and use up all the nutrients and start to die back.
Water the plant in well and keep an eye on it over the next week.
That is about the least stressful way to transition between the Aerogarden and the soil.
I have grown from seed and now need to transplant them
Growing seeds early in the year to get a head start is a good idea and Aerogarden have seed starters for most of their model available.
Planting the seeds and having them in an ideal environment will give them the best chance of germination.
Follow the manufacturers instructions on the amount of nutrient, for the first two weeks at least they will be ok with just water using up the reserves within the seeds to start the germination period.
After this add nutrient gradually.
If you are mixing your own then use 1/4 strength and increase it to half the next time you replace the nutrient.
Within the starter tray there are no covers so just use it as directed with the Aerogarden lights down as low as possible.
If you are using the grow table with the seed pods then you can place the plastic domes over to help your seeds germinate.
Waiting until the leaves reach the domes will give your plants the best chance of growing quickly.
Sort out where your plants are going
While you are growing your seedlings it is worth looking at where they are going to go.
Either planting them in the ground or in containers, destined for inside or outside.
Just remember these seedlings have been pampered with heat, light and food.
They will need an adjustment period to get used to being in their final habitat.
Planting them on into pots after they have been germinated in the Aerogarden and keeping them in for a few days before exposing them to the outdoors will lessen the shock.
Once the seedlings have two or three real leaves then they are ready to be transplanted ( remember plants like chives tend to only have one or two leaves and height will determine when these are ready at about 1 1/2 ” (3cm)).
After they have been transplanted you are now going to do more work to keep them alive.
You need to make sure they are watered – keeping the bottom of the root mass damp to wet will help your plant start to grow.
You will see your plants droop at first while the roots start to establish themselves in the soil.
The leaves will recover after a few days -keep watering them , a little daily rather than a complete saturation.
Placing them outside in a sheltered place for a couple of hours at the start – extending the time over a period of two weeks will harden them off.
After they have established themselves, which should be within two weeks they are ready to go to their final places – either the garden or containers (if the containers are indoors these could be used instead of the pots)
The roots will now be used to searching for food and with you placing them outside for longer each day they will be used to the environment.
So they can now be planted up in the containers or the ground.
Just make sure that you leave enough space around them for the final growth size.
This is the best way to transplant your plants with the least stress from the Aerogarden to the ground.
If you have another method which works well for you then tell us about it in the comments below.
Thanks for reading.
I have been growing plants hydroponically since 2009. For years before that i was reading books and looking at systems and saying ...no way...
But once i had taken the plunge with the tomatoes outside, then there was no stopping me.
I tried out most of the systems and started to refine them, getting the plants to grow more efficiently.
Now I am more interested in indoor hydroponics and the challenges it presents. Being able to control the environment, feeding the correct nutrients and giving the correct length and type of lighting....