Rapid rooters make an ideal starter to promote plants to grow cleaner, easier, and faster. These plugs come in bags of 50, and they can work wonders if you know how to use them.
This article includes a guide to show you how to use rapid rooters. You can either be seeding or cloning to receive consistent results.
Rapid rooters are a combination of composted materials. Sometimes they’re derived from peat moss, sometimes from tree bark or organic polymer binders.
They come from General Hydroponics – one of the biggest producers of hydroponic growing supplies and gardening materials.
Rapid rooters have proven to have an optimal air-to-water ratio, resulting in significantly faster root growth in the early stage. This ratio allows the plugs to lock in moisture while engaging enough oxygen for seedlings.
Rapid rooters are designed to have plenty of needed nutrients for plant germination. By using media like rapid rooters, you’re giving your crops a good kickstart in their initial growing stage.
If you want to germinate seeds, rapid rooter plugs instructions say to use a 50-cell seed tray.
Remove the rapid rooter plugs for seeds from the bag and rinse them in water or diluted nutrient solution.
You can skip this step if the plugs already feel moist out of the bag. After soaking, make sure to drain the excess water before you get to the next step.
Also, if you wish to use mycorrhizae for better root growth, this is the best time to do it.
Put the rapid rooters in the cavities and place your seeds into the premade holes right on top of each plug.
Once you’ve made sure the plugs are all filled with a sufficient number of seeds, transfer them into a shaded space so the seeds can sprout.
Consequently, cover the top with a humidity dome to lock in warmth and moisture. If you don’t have a humidity dome, saran wrap is a great alternative.
Tips: Place a ripped piece from the bottom of the rapid rooters on each hole where you place the seeds. By doing this, the seeds are guaranteed to be in a completely dark area, which they need to germinate.
Water them every 2 or 3 days or, as mentioned on rapid rooters instructions, a quarter-inch of water is ideal. Be careful not to add too much water; this action may negatively affect cuttings and seedlings.
After soaking, the plug matrix will hold several nutrients and liquid it comes within; so, only water when you see signs of drying out. You know you’re overwatering if you see no evidence of rooting seeds.
Move the rapid rooter tray to a brighter area (either fluorescent or natural sunlight) as the seeds sprout.
When the roots start to grow a bit more, your rapid rooter starter plugs are ready to be transferred to hydroponics or directly to the soil.
Here’s how you can germinate cannabis seeds using Rapid Rooter:
The process of cloning is similar to seeding. Again, the manufacturer suggests using a 50-cell tray for cloning.
Repeat the entire seeding process, but instead of placing seeds into the holes, you’re going to place the cuttings.
With proper watering and lighting exposure, the cuttings will stand erect in a short time without needing any support.
As the root system manifests, you will see strong root networks developing from the plugs. This moment is when they’re ready to be moved into your hydroponic system or directly to the soil.
Since rapid rooters are soilless plugs, you often see them in most hydroponic systems. After multiple roots have popped out, you can transplant the cutting cans into a hydroponic system or directly into the soil.
Not only can you use rapid rooters in hydroponics, but you can also use them in aeroponics. These plugs will work just as well in air or soil as they do underwater.
Rapid rooters don’t have any nutrients except for the naturally occurring micronutrients available in their organic substrate – peat moss.
As mentioned above, it is recommended to soak your rapid rooters plugs in a pH-balanced solution before loading the additional nutrients into the plugs.
This measure will prepare the plugs for immediate availability to even the youngest roots that emerge, thus better seedling growth.
For more details, follow the steps below carefully.
- Step 1: Place your rapid rooter plugs into a container where they fit without cramming too much.
- Step 2: Fill the container with just enough water to cover the rapid rooters thoroughly, then add in the nutrient solution. Depending on the plants you’re trying to grow, increase or lower the pH level to the proper extent.
- Step 3: Let the rooters sit in that container for at least an hour. It is advisable to leave them there for 12-24 hours. Then, remove the solution from the grow plugs.
Do not try to squeeze out the water; you can ruin the structure of the rapid rooters.
- Step 4: Add the rooters to your tray and use them when you’re ready.
A common problem many gardeners encounter is no seed germination. This issue often occurs because of overwatering but little did you know how you drain the plugs after soaking also influences this.
The rooters, after soaking, need to be put on a tray with holes so the excess liquid can leak out.
Below are some of the tips you can apply when using rapid rooters.
- Pay good attention to where you’re going to put your rapid rooter trays. As seeds are sprouting or cuttings are coaxing, they must get enough lighting. If the light source is insufficient, your crops can end up underdeveloped or not growing at all.
You can try several light sources, including fluorescent, LED grow light, or natural sunlight if you have a conventional soil garden.
Also, if you choose to use LED lights or fluorescent lights, place the lights right on top of the plugs. When we say right on top, we mean it.
The ideal gap is one inch; nonetheless, as long as it’s no more than 2 inches away from each other, you’re good.
- Besides soaking your starter cubes into a weak nutrient solution for added nutrients, you can also try mycorrhizal fungi.
Mycorrhizal fungi act as a kickstart for your cuttings and seedlings, and the best time to add it is after soaking solutions.
Such mixtures contribute to healthier root networks as the nutrient uptake, and nitrogen utilization will be remarkably improved.
Using mycorrhizal fungi in the early stage provides enough time for beneficial bacteria to produce hyphae as the crops develop.
Without the help of these fungi, your plants won’t be able to grow at a fast enough pace for a more productive batch of harvest.
- Know when the plugs are ready to transplant. Just because you see seeds sprouting doesn’t mean the plants are ready to be moved into a hydroponic system.
Seedling takes place after a couple of days, but you will need to wait at least one week, sometimes up to three weeks, to do so, depending on the kind of plant you’re growing.
- Make use of a heat source. It was proven that seeds engage in a successful germination rate when exposed to extra heat. Consider placing a seedling heat mat underneath the tray to keep a steady warmer temperature.
- Store your rooters properly when not in use. Essentially, rapid rooters are inert when made; however, since they’re a grow medium, organic materials like mold or mildew can develop once they have got inside the plugs.
Always keep the bag on when not in use to prevent this from happening.
If you don’t use an entire grow tray of 50 cells, keep the unused cells in a zip-top bag and add some purified water to maintain their pristine condition.
Then, place the bag in a cool, dark place in your cabinet; these cells can easily last up to 3 years.
Choosing the suitable growing media can make a world of difference, from germination to harvest. Rapid rooters are proven to be one of the best growing media for crops, especially if you have a hydroponic garden.
So, what’s with the wait? It’s time to get out there and start gardening with rapid rooters!