Hydroponic Transplant Shock, A Complete Guide

What is Hydroponic Transplant Shock? Hydroponic transplant shock in plants is almost unavoidable. Let’s face it! There are essential things you can do about it. You need to know how to avoid the “shock” and treat the plant when it occurs. 

So, what exactly is transplant shock? Transplant shock is when the plant experiences a shock or loses its strength.

This normally occurs when it is moved from one media to another. Thus, causing several problems that inhibit its growth.

After being transferred to a different hydroponic medium, plants usually have difficulty or fail to grow in the new media due to transplant shock.

Mostly due to its inability to adapt to different environmental conditions. Hence, plants need time to adapt to a new environment to grow optimally.

The Cause of Hydroponic Transplant Shock

Hydroponic plants sometimes need to be transferred to a new medium or location. It’s done just to get better light or nutrient needs.

As a result, the plant’s condition worsens. Thus, causing transplant shock and even causing plants to die.

Therefore, factors that will cause hydroponic transplant shock are related to a poor root system, such as watering, light, humidity, and temperature changes. For example:

  • Plants transferred to a new medium with poor drainage will experience a shock.
  • Improper light, exposure to strong winds, or damage to the root system during transplantation leads to poor growth.
  • Potted plants also experience a shock when transferred to a new medium too small to accommodate the root system. Therefore, making the plants more susceptible to pests ultimately inhibits plant growth.

Signs of Hydroponic Transplant Shock

Before a transplanted plant withers, the plant will show some signs of hydroponic transplant shock. So, what are the signs?

  • The veins and the leaf margins of the plant change in color. The color fades from green to yellow and then brown at the end. Thus, it will spread across the entire leaf surface as the plant loses its strength.
  • The leaves begin to wither, dry, and fall off. If it still manages to thrive, it will cause the defoliation of stems and roots to die. Thus, plants’ new growth becomes stunted, eventually stops growing, and withers.

How to Avoid Transplant Shock

What can you do to avoid hydroponic transplant shock?

Avoid shocking the roots

Moving plants from one medium to another or from one location to the next is not to shock the roots or rub them forcefully.

Lift as many roots as possible

Make sure to lift as much of the roots as possible when transferring. The more roots still attached to the plant, the less likely a transplant shock to occur.

Water thoroughly after transplanting

Another way to avoid transplant shock is to ensure the plant receives plenty of water after transplanting. This is a good way to help the plant settle into its new environment.

Always keep the root ball moist

When moving the plant, ensure that the root ball remains moist. If the root ball dries off, the roots in the dry area will be damaged.

Safest Ways in Treating Hydroponic Transplant Shock

There are ways to treat transplant shock in plants safely, such as:


Pruning the plant allows it to focus on regrowing, mainly its roots. Cut about one-third of the perennials or shrubs or half of each leaf for the plants with main stems.

Keep the roots moist

Keep the soil and roots moist. However, ensure the plant has a good drainage system to reduce waterlogging.

Adding sugar

In many cases, it has been shown that adding a bit of sugar mixed with water can be given to plants after transplantation. This way, it will help plants recover from transplant shock. This easy solution won’t cause damage or harm the plants.

Be patient

Mostly, plants need a few days to recover from transplant shock. Wait and give the plants some time to recover on their own. Keep treating it as usual.

Easy Hydroponic Plant Transition to a New Environment

Ultimately, before any plants undergo hydroponic transplant shock, they must be adapted to their new environment. Here are ways to transition your plant:

  • A process known as hardening will help the plant make adjustments, especially for seedlings and indoor plants to transition outdoors.
  • For 3-14 days, move the plant to a new environment, away from direct sunlight, strong winds, and heavy rain.
  • Make sure you meet your plant’s sunlight, water, and pH levels needs before moving the plant to another area.
  • Most plants need well-drained soil. Try not to mix the lighter soil into the heavier soil mixture. This will cause disintegration and trap water, causing the plant’s root system to sink.
  • When moving the plant to a new medium or pot, ensure enough room for the roots to spread. They don’t curl up and will get enough oxygen to grow.
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