Why do my plants look crappy and grow slowly?

I did seedling in AO’K plugs then transplanted directly into a Hugo block. Problem: Purple stems, yellowing, root pack much less dense. The roots barely use 25% of the Hugo block. Block stays consistently heavy and what used to be a once a day watering is now an every other day watering.

Answer: The lack of roots is the main reason your plants look the way they do. The problem started with your seedling.

About 75% of the root mass is established when the plant is young. The roots will get longer/thicker later but the all the roots hairs must be established by the young plant. This is why all our literature preaches ‘healthy baby’ is the alfa-omega to success.

Why didn’t you get the roots in the early stage: 99% sure: your cubes/blocks were too wet. The chloramine in your tap water could also have been too high and limited the root growth – but not so high that it killed the plant. Talk to your local store about a carbon filter or use bottled water.

The easy fix (without having to change too much you do): Transplant the 1.5” cube to a 3” block and then put the 3” on Hugo. Why; cause it is easier to manage the water content in the small 3” than the huge 6” block (watch our video on transplanting). Also see below notes on successful transplanting:

  • Mist the 3” twice a day but don’t water until the block feels light (half weight).
  • Use a stake to hold the 3” block to Hugo.
  • Water on the 3” (low volume twice a day) until rooted into Hugo.

Second choice: Keep your current setup – but change your watering in the early stages. The seedling in 1.5” AO’K cubes must look healthy with roots about 1” below the cubes to succeed well. After transplant to the wet Hugo; Only MIST (plain water) twice a day for the first weeks time. Do NOT water. Wait until you can feel HUGO is lighter or the upper part starts to dry out. Then water sparingly – right on the little cube – probably about ½ cup. Once you see active growing and the cubes is stuck (have rooted into Hugo) then start to increase the water volume ..but slowly. Don’t drown them!