Starting Cannabis Seeds In Rapid Rooters

How to Germinate Marijuana Seeds: 4 Different Methods Plus Expert Tips This marijuana germination tutorial is different. Get exact steps from beginning to end (with pictures!) so your germination goes fast and seedlings start strong! Rapid Rooters 101: How They Work & Best Alternatives Generally speaking, there are two types of growing media. One kind is loose, sold by weight. For example, perlite, potting mix, peat moss,

How to Germinate Marijuana Seeds: 4 Methods Plus Expert Tips

How to Germinate Marijuana Seeds Method 1: Starter Cubes & Seedling Plugs (Recommended)

One of the best cannabis germination methods is to use specifically-made starter cubes and seedling plugs. These plugs make cannabis germination easy. You simply place the seed in the cube or plug, add water as directed, and seedlings automatically get the perfect conditions for germination.

Each cube or plug already has a hole specifically for you to place your seed. Just stick your seed into the precut hole and pinch the top closed a bit with your fingers. Don’t worry, you can’t mess this part up As long as the seed makes it in there, you should be good.

This is one of the easiest germination methods, and doesn’t leave a lot of room for error. Cannabis seeds and clones can be expensive, and sometimes we have genetics we just can’t afford to lose. When that’s the case, germinate your cannabis with one of the following recommended options to ensure as close to 100% germination rate as possible.

Which Starter Cubes Work Best for Germinating Cannabis?

Rapid Rooters (Highly Recommended For All Setups)

Rapid Rooters are easy to work with – you just stick your cannabis seed in the Rapid Rooter (pointy side down), keep your seed warm and slightly moist, and let the Rapid Rooter do its magic.

Sprouts emerge and roots appear in just a few days.

Rapid rooter starter cubes are suitable for all growing methods, including hydroponics, coco coir and soil. They work for every setup and come from General Hydroponics, a trusted company (the same one used by NASA) which is known for the quality and consistency of its products.

I highly recommend using Rapid Rooters over any other starter plugs. They are less prone to problems and work great with any growing medium (including hydroponic systems).

  • Easy to Use – You Can’t Really Mess Up
  • No Prep or Setup – Open the Package and Go

    Can only get 50+ at a time (General Hydroponics currently does not offer fewer plugs per package)

There are a few different options for Rapid Rooters, which can be confusing if you’re not sure what you want. The 3 different options for Rapid Rooters are listed here…

Bag of Rapid Rooters

These are round on bottom instead of being a cube, which means they cannot stand up on their own. These are best suited to a hydroponic setup where the Rapid Rooter will be placed directly in the final destination. In our hydroponic setups, we’ve had near 100% germination rates with Rapid Rooters, better than any other seedling cube we’ve tried.

  • Round on bottom (won’t stand up by themselves without support) unless you squish the bottom so it’s flat like this grower did (pic)
  • Great for starting with Rapid Rooter directly in final destination (hydro, soil, coco coir, etc)
  • Get 50 Rapid Rooters at a time
Rapid Rooters Mat
  • Easily break cubes off the mat (already sectioned off with precut holes)
  • Already shaped like cubes with flat bottoms, so they easily stand up by themselves

Rapid Rooters Tray

The Rapid Rooters tray is perfect for seeds or clones. Allow your young plants to sit in the tray with water until their roots are well formed and ready to be transplanted to your final destination. The standard size tray fits most humidity domes. You can refill the tray with Rapid Rooters from the bag or mat.

As you can see in the pictures below, the Rapid Rooter Tray comes packaged up. Once you open the package, you will see 50 Rapid Rooters already set in the tray. The resing place for each Rapid Rooter has a hole on the bottom so water within the tray is wicked up. The top part comes apart from the bottom.

    Perfect for cloning or starting seeds with a humidity dome (standard 10-inch by 20-inch dome like this one – 7-inch height recommended for cannabis seeds or clones)

Germination Station

One option for growers is to use a tool which has been specifically designed to provide optimal germination conditions like this germination station with heat mat.

You can make a DIY germination station at home by putting a plastic dome over a plate of Rapid Rooters on a heating pad.

There are benefits to the professionally made germination stations as they work very well and are pretty cheap to buy.

Rockwool Cubes (Not Recommended)

It’s often hydroponic cannabis growers who use rockwool cubes since these can be safely placed in hydroponic setups, hold a lot of moisture, and are resistant to mold. Rockwool is cheap and easy to find. It comes in convenient cubes. But it does have some major drawbacks…

Pros of Rockwool

  • Cheap & Easy to Find
  • Inert Medium (useful for hydroponic growers)

Cons of Rockwool

  • Bad for the environment (unnatural material that does not break down)
  • Bad for your health (especially your lungs) – wear gloves and cover your mouth/eyes when handling rockwool
  • Has a pH that is too high for cannabis, so it must be thoroughly rinsed and treated

Protect yourself! Always use a mask, goggles and gloves when working with rockwool.

If you do use rockwool, it’s recommended you germinate your seeds using another method like the paper towel method, then transplant your seeds to the rockwool cubes after roots have already appeared.

I highly recommend using Rapid Rooters instead for your hydroponic application (or any grow setup), as they are much more user-friendly and tend to get far better germination rates.

Jiffy Pellets

Jiffy Pellets are used in a similar way to rockwool cubes, though these tend to get much better germination results. Jiffy pellets are not suitable for most hydroponic setups where the roots are grown directly in water, but Jiffy Pellets can be directly transferred into soil or coco coir or soil.

  • Good Germination Rates for Soil and Coco Coir
  • Good for Cloning

    Not suitable for hydroponic setups

Once the compressed Jiffy pellets have expanded in warm water, gently squeeze excess water from each pellet and you’re ready to go. Treat them the same as Rapid Rooters.

Next: How to Germinate Marijuana Seeds Method 2: Plant marijuana seeds directly in growing medium.

Fail-Proof Cannabis Germination Method in Soil or Coco

We have a cannabis seedling germination page that includes everything you need to know about all the different germination methods, but this tutorial is different. In this tutorial, I’m going to share exactly how I do my seeds from beginning to end. Just follow these instructions and you’ll end up with healthy, fast-growing plants that germinate in just a few days. It’s basically fail-proof.

Turn your cannabis seeds…

This step-by-step tutorial will teach you how to germinate seeds and provide basic seedling care

Soon you’ll have healthy cannabis plants to admire

Supplies Needed

1.) Get Cannabis Seeds

There are a few different ways to get cannabis seeds, with the most common being ordering seeds online and growing seeds you find in weed that you buy. Learn how to research and find the right strain.

Here’s a picture showing several healthy and viable cannabis seeds

2.) Prepare Your Soil or Coco Containers

Before you start germinating your seeds, set up your soil or coco. It will still be a few days until your seedlings arrive, but you want to have everything ready before the seedlings need to be planted.

Get your containers ready before you start germinating

3.) Germination

When it comes to new growers, it seems like the most fool-proof method (at least for me, and many of the new growers who write in) is the Paper Towel Method! It’s so simple, but there’s something about wet paper towels that a young seedling loves Learn About Other Ways to Germinate Seeds.

Paper Towel Method – Place your seeds inside a folded wet paper towel (Important: use cheap brand!)

This method is hard to mess up if you follow the instructions. Place your seeds inside a folded wet paper towel, and put that between two plates. The purpose of the plates is to prevent the seeds from drying out. Don’t let any part of a paper towel hang out the edges or it will wick away all the moisture and dry out. Keep everything totally contained between the plates.

Surprisingly, the really cheap paper towels work the best because the seeds and roots lay on top without getting stuck to anything. This is important. The more expensive “cloth-like” paper towels (like Viva brand) aren’t good for germination because the roots actually grow into them instead of laying on top.

Wet a paper towel (use the cheapest brand you can find). If growing multiple strains, you may want to label the paper towel so you know which is which. Place each seed on the wet paper towel next to their label.

Cover with another wet paper towel

Add another plate on top to keep the paper towels from drying out. Make sure now paper towel is sticking out the sides.

Tips

  1. Check on your seeds every 24 hours but try not to disturb them. When they’ve germinated, you’ll see the seeds have cracked and there are little white roots coming out.
  2. They should germinate in 1-4 days, though some seeds can take 7 days or longer (especially older and smaller seeds).
  3. Keep them warm if possible. Seeds germinate a little faster is to keep them in a warm place (75-80°F). Some people use a seedling heat mat but in most cases that’s unnecessary. I leave mine near a sunny window. I usually put a thermometer in the same place to make sure it’s not too hot or cold (or just check the plate with your hands)

Here are those seedlings about 2 days later. Be extra careful when removing the paper towels. Don’t let the seeds roll around or you won’t know which is which. This is when you’ll be glad you used cheap paper towels, as they are much easier to peel off without disturbing your seedlings.

You can see some of the seeds sprouted, but some of them haven’t yet. That’s totally normal! Each seed is different. If this happens to you, you have two choices. You could plant the ones that have already sprouted and let the other ones stay in the paper towels until they germinate. Or you could just put all the seeds in Rapid Rooters now, and hope for the best as far as the slow-sprouting ones. It’s up to you. Letting the unsprouted seeds stay in the paper towels longer improves the germination rate in my experience, but it’s simpler (easier) to move them all at once.

Seeds often germinate at different rates even if they get the exact same conditions

4.) Place Germinated Seed in a Rapid Rooter

Now it’s time to get your Rapid Rooters! Alternatively, you could place your sprouted seeds directly in the final growing medium (coco or soil). I think these help them get started, but I’ve grown many successful plants by just putting the germinated seed directly in its final home.

Rapid Rooters are nice, but not necessary

The Rapid Rooter should be cut open lengthwise. I use big scissors but you could also use a knife.

Gently place the germinated seed inside, root down. Place the seed close to the surface so it doesn’t have far to go.

If you have a root that is curved or bent, don’t try to straighten it out. Open the Rapid Rooter and lay the germinated seed down gently. It will naturally lay on its flattest side. When you slowly close the Rapid Rooter, the bent parts of the root will end up in the “crack” of the Rapid Rooter that you cut to split it open from the side.

Most seedling plugs will go back into place easily, and you’ll barely be able to tell it’s been opened. I love Rapid Rooters because their texture causes most seeds to stay in place and not “fall down” further into the hole once you’ve got the Rapid Rooter closed.

5.) Water the seedling in the Rapid Rooter until you see a root come out bottom, 1-2 days.

Make sure to always keep the Rapid Rooter moist but not soaking wet and give plain water.

Since your seed has already sprouted and been in placed into the right growing position, it’ll often pop its head out within just 12-24 hours! Sometimes you see just the leaves, but often you actually see the seedling push the shell above ground.

Don’t touch the shell if possible because a tiny tug in the wrong direction can pull the seedling out of the plug and break off the taproot.

Try to let the seedlings break free if possible. But if you have a seedling that’s stuck in a shell after a day or two, and doesn’t seem to be getting any better, you need to go in and help.

I’ve found that pointy tweezers are perfect to pry open a shell that’s stuck. Just close the tweezer, stick it inside between the shell halves, and let it slowly open to pull the shell apart without you ever touching the seedling.

Sometimes a “film” from inside the shell gets stuck on the leaves. If that happens, try putting a drop of water on the film a few times a day to soften it. If the seedling doesn’t push it off on its own, hold the stem between your fingers (so it doesn’t pull at the root) and use tweezers to gently tug at the membrane and release the leaves.

Don’t use a dome on seedlings unless it’s very dry where you live. If you do use a dome, consider keeping a vent open and watching the humidity. A young seedling doesn’t require as high humidity as clones (which are what the domes are designed for), and seedlings tend to get “wet feet” and stop growing as fast in constantly wet conditions.

Water your seeding in the Rapid Rooters until you see a root coming out the bottom. Keep Rapid Rooters moist but not wet. During this time, give seedlings bright filtered light. A CFL or LED light bulb kept several inches away works well. I’ve left mine on the kitchen table next to a sunny window, and that’s also worked fine for me as long as it doesn’t get too hot.

You should see a root come out the bottom in just a day or two!

After you see your first root, it’s time to…

6.) Put Seedling in its New Home

You are about to water your seedlings for the first time, so prepare your water now.

  • Coco – Prepare water with seedling-strength nutrients, and make sure to pH your water to 5.5-6.5 right before giving it to plants. Unlike soil, coco does not naturally contain any nutrients so you must provide nutrients in the water from the first watering.
  • Soil – Prepare plain water at 6-7 pH. You don’t need to add nutrients for the first 3 weeks or so because your plants will live off what’s in the soil. Adding extra nutrients at this point might overload and burn the seedlings.

Now that your water is ready, dig a hole that’s a little smaller than the Rapid Rooter, and place your seedling plug inside. The idea is to let the Rapid Rooter stick up above the soil a little to help the roots get more oxygen. It’s okay if the plug goes in flat with the soil, but don’t bury the stem as that can cause stem rot in some cases. Even if you’ve got a tall seedling, you usually won’t notice the extra length once the plant is bigger.

Gently pack the nearby soil/coco to hold the Rapid Rooter in place so the seedling is stable.

Your seedlings get a little extra oxygen if you let the Rapid Rooter stick up into the air slightly as opposed to burying it.

Example of cannabis seedlings growing in coco coir, about to get seedling-strength nutrient water. If they were in soil, I would give plain water for the first few weeks.

Water immediately in a small circle around your seedling. For most grow mediums and containers above 1 gallon, you can give 2 cups (500 ml) of water immediately without overloading your seedling. If the grow medium feels moist (for example coco that was recently re-hydrated), give 1 cup (250ml) of water this first watering.

Give 2 cups (500 ml) water in a circle around the seedling. If the grow medium is already wet, give just 1 cup (250 ml)

How to Water Seedlings in the Beginning

Two Main Goals

  • Seedling roots never dry out (most important)
  • Seedling roots aren’t staying soaking wet (roots need oxygen)

Seedlings “drown” and die due to lack of oxygen if they get too much water too often. To avoid this, try to provide an amount of water that lets you water seedlings every few days. Avoid giving so much water that the seedling roots are in a super wet grow medium for days as this causes “damping off” and root problems. Some grow styles like high-frequency fertigation call for watering more frequently. Just remember that the more often you water your plants, the less water you should give at a time. Also, keep in mind that a smaller container tends to dry out fast while a bigger container holds onto the water for longer

Try to maintain a schedule that lets you water your plants every few days without them looking droopy

  • Water in a small circle around the base of the plant at first
  • If the growing medium feels dry within 1 day, give more water next time. Otherwise, give the same amount again next time you water
  • Repeat, until you can give enough water to get at least a little runoff, and have it dry in a few days

If the medium is drying in less than 2 days, it means you need to give more water to the plant at a time, or possibly transplant to a bigger container if the plant has outgrown its current one.

If your growing medium takes longer than 3 days for the top inch to dry, it means the soil is staying wet too long, and plant roots aren’t getting enough oxygen. It also puts your plants at risk of getting fungus gnats . Try giving less water at a time until the plant is drinking more. It’s possible you may have a problem with drainage in your medium ( what is good soil? ) or there are no drainage holes so extra water can’t come out the bottom of the container. Always remove any runoff water instead of letting the plant sit in it.

More seedling resources

Some growers like to put seedlings in solo cups and then into their final container. When done right this can increase the rate of growth by providing more oxygen to the plant’s roots. If you go that route, I recommend paper cups as they’re not as bad for the environment.

Autopsy: Why Aren’t My Marijuana Seeds Sprouting?

If your seeds still aren’t sprouting and growing properly, consider the following factors.

If there’s no germination at all…

  • Temperature may be too hot or cold – aim for 75-80°F
  • Too wet – seeds and seedling roots should always be moist, but should not be soaking wet
  • Too dry – if a root dries out the seedling can die
  • Bad seeds – It might not be you, it could be the seeds themselves. Even if you purchase from a good breeder, sometimes you still get duds. How can I tell if seeds are viable?

If seeds sprout, but then stop growing…

  • Temperature is too hot or cold – aim for 75-80°F
  • Too wet – new seedlings don’t like “wet feet” so make sure your Rapid Rooter or growing medium never looks shiny or muddy, as that means there’s too much water! For this reason, it’s also usually recommended to avoid using a humidity dome with seedlings unless your air is dry. Although clones love humidity domes (they need water from the air because they don’t have any roots to get water), seedlings like it a little drier or roots tend to get mushy.
  • Too dry – less common unless you live in a very dry area, but sometimes your medium dries out too fast if you’ve got a heavy-drinking, fast-growing seedling!
  • Too much light – if the seedlings get blasted with high levels of light right away, it can shock them. They may need some time to adjust to higher light levels. Simply starting your grow light a little further away than normal is usually enough. Think sunny window at first, and start ramping up after a week of healthy growth.
  • Not enough light – if seedlings are growing long and stretchy without growing new sets of leaves, it means it wants more light.
  • No light for more than a day – if the sprouted seed doesn’t get light within 24 hours after sprouting, it may die. Once seeds are sprouted, get them in a Rapid Rooter and under at least some amount of light as soon as possible!
  • Roots damaged – If somehow your roots got damaged, it can sometimes stop the seedling from growing

Unfortunately, sometimes you will never know why certain seeds just don’t thrive. It’s all part of nature. But if you follow this tutorial you will get the best results possible.

Rapid Rooters 101: How They Work & Best Alternatives

Generally speaking, there are two types of growing media.

One kind is loose, sold by weight. For example, perlite, potting mix, peat moss, and compressed clay pellets, fall into this category (read more about growing media).

The other kind of growing medium comes as individual cubes or cylinders. These are called starter plugs. You may be familiar with popular starter plugs like rockwool, Oasis Horticubes, and, of course, Rapid Rooters.

Rapid Rooter is a type of starter plug made by General Hydroponics, beloved by gardeners and hydroponic growers around the world.

Why Use Starter Plugs?

Starter plugs like rockwool and Rapid Rooters are designed to make your growing process easier.

Instead of mixing your own media and packing it into a seed tray, you can pull a Rapid Rooter right out of the package and put your seed into it.

The chemistry required to make a soil-based or soilless mix is taken out of your hands.

And because starter plugs like Rapid Rooters are compact and don’t break apart easily, they can be used directly in certain hydroponic systems, unlike loose media.

What are Rapid Rooters Made Out Of?

Rapid Rooters are made of Sphagnum peat moss and a binder.

Peat moss is a soilless natural product made of decomposed organic matter, mostly Sphagnum moss.

Peat moss is a favorite medium of gardeners around the world because of its great air-to-water ratio.

It’s highly absorbent without compacting easily.

How Do You Use Rapid Rooters?

Using Rapid Rooters is super simple. You can use these starter plugs to start seeds or to propagate clones.

For those of you who don’t know, cloning is the process of growing seedlings from cuttings of adult plants.

To clone a plant, you can remove a branch, pull off the lower leaves, and stick it into a Rapid Rooter or other starter plug.

From there, it will grow into an exact genetic copy of its “mother” plant.

Whether growing from seed or cuttings, the process is similar and incredibly simple.

Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Remove a Rapid Rooter from the bag and rehydrate it in water or a diluted nutrient solution. If your Rapid Rooter already feels moist out of the bag, you can skip this step.
  2. Place your Rapid Rooter(s) into a seed tray.
  3. Place your seed or cutting into the pre-made hole in the top of the Rapid Rooter.
  4. Pour about 16 fluid ounces of water into the tray every two to three days, or as needed.
  5. Place the tray four to six inches under fluorescent or LED lights.
  6. When roots appear, your Rapid Rooters are ready for transplant into your hydroponic system.

Can Rapid Rooters Be Used In Hydroponics Systems? What Else Are They Good For?

Because Rapid Rooters are a soilless starter plug, they can be used directly in most hydroponic systems.

Once your transplant is ready with lots of visible roots woven through the Rapid Rooter plug, you can pop it into a net pot or any growing media that you will be using, including perlite, expanded clay pellets, and even pure nutrient solution for deep water culture and Kratky setups.

In addition to working great for hydroponics, Rapid Rooters can be used in aeroponics or traditional soil-based gardening or farming.

They work just as well in soil as they do in water.

Do Rapid Rooters Need to Be Used With a Grow Tray?

Yes, Rapid Rooters should be used with a grow tray.

Nothing special is required, just any old tray that will fit the Rapid Rooter will do. If you want, you could even use a plastic cup or another small household container.

The reason for this is simply that these starter plugs won’t stand very well on their own—they need some support.

And, they need to sit in something that can retain water. Once you put your seeds in Rapid Rooters and put them into a tray, they should be watered every few days until the seedling has developed.

Do Rapid Rooters Have Nutrients?

No, Rapid Rooters do not contain any significant amount of nutrients.

They are made of peat moss, a soilless organic material. While peat moss is great for retaining moisture and providing plenty of air to the roots, it won’t give your plant the nutrition it needs.

You can, however, soak your Rapid Rooters in a pH-balanced nutrient solution before using them. This will make for even better seedling growth.

Here’s what I recommend:

  1. Take a bucket or container large enough to fit all of the Rapid Rooters you will be using.
  2. Gently place your Rapid Rooters into the container.
  3. Fill the container with just enough water to cover the Rapid Rooters.
  4. Add a small amount of nutrient solution to the bucket.
  5. Add pH-up or pH-down to get to a level that works for the plant you are growing.
  6. Let the plugs soak in the solution for an hour or up to 24 hours.
  7. When you are ready to use your Rapid Rooters, just remove them from the liquid, don’t squeeze them, and then add them to your tray.

Can Rapid Rooters Go Bad?

Yes, Rapid Rooters can potentially go bad.

If not stored properly, mold, fungi, or other pathogens can infect the product. In this case, they should be thrown out.

Another common scenario is that you open up a package of Rapid Rooters only to find that they have gone dry. In this case, they are “bad,” but can easily be fixed.

You can either dip them in some water before using them or follow the instructions above on how to hydrate and add nutrients to them simultaneously.

Do Rapid Rooters Have to Be Used For Hydroponics?

No, Rapid Rooters can be used for virtually any kind of gardening or farming.

Rapid Rooters are just peat moss starter plugs. General Hydroponics, the company that makes them, manufactures them in a specific way to keep them moist and compact, but other than that, they are a very simple and versatile growing tool.

Rapid Rooters can be used for germinating seeds, cloning plants, or as a growing medium for hydroponics and aeroponics.

Once you have successfully made a seedling with a Rapid Rooter, it can be transplanted into pretty much anything, be it soil, perlite, nutrient solution, or even more peat moss.

Rapid Rooter vs Rockwool

Rapid Rooters and rockwool are both starter plugs used for seed starting and as a growing medium.

They are very similar, but they get the job done in slightly different ways.

For the most part, they can be used interchangeably. Whichever you use comes down to personal preference.

That being said, here are the differences and pros and cons of Rapid Rooters and rockwool.

  • Slightly alkaline pH
  • Not biodegradable
  • Inexpensive
  • Made of rock
  • Good water retention
  • Viable for seed starting, transplanting, and as a growing medium

Rapid Rooters

  • Neutral pH
  • Biodegradable
  • Expensive
  • Made of peat moss
  • Contains trace amounts of nutrients, minerals, and beneficial microorganisms
  • Can retain too much water if you aren’t careful
  • Viable for seed starting, transplanting, and as a growing medium

Rapid Rooter Alternatives

Just like rockwool, there are several great alternatives to Rapid Rooters.

These include Root Riot plugs (very similar), Jiffy Pellets, Oasis Horticubes, Pro-Mix, and a variety of soilless mixes.

Each of these can start seeds and act as a growing medium, they just have slightly different features.

Jiffy-7 Pellets

Jiffy pellets are a name-brand starter plug made of peat moss and/or coco coir.

The growing medium is wrapped in a netting and pre-compressed into discs for packaging. You simply add some water to the disk and it grows like an accordion, up to seven times its size, into a normal-sized starter plug.

Jiffy pellets are extremely similar to Rapid Rooters. They both contain peat moss (sometimes coco coir for Jiffy) bound together. The difference is what they are bound with.

Rapid Rooters are held together with some kind of binding foam that is invisible and biodegradable, whereas Jiffy pellets are bound with a plastic netting that isn’t biodegradable.

So, for example, if you were to plant some Jiffy 7 transplants in your garden, those plastic nets would remain in the soil long after your plant was harvested.

This may be less of a concern in hydroponic systems, but from a sustainability standpoint, it is still a factor.

Rockwool

Rockwool is a wool-like starter plug made out of rocks.

Manufacturers melt special rocks and spin them into the fiber to make this product. Rockwool is used across many industries—commonly as insulation or grow media.

The great thing about rockwool is how affordable it is. Compared to some of these name-brand products, rockwool can get the same job done and save you some money.

However, rockwool is not biodegradable and you will need to pH-balance is, as it has a pH of around 8, which is too high for your plants.

Oasis Horticubes

Oasis Horticubes are synthetic foam-like starter plugs. This is a name-brand product, specially engineered for hydroponic seed germination.

The foam doesn’t hold much water but drains incredibly well, making it ideal for constant or drip watering systems, like nutrient film technique (NFT), Dutch buckets, or deep water culture.

Also, the foam doesn’t compress, so even after constant waterings, aeration and drainage will remain the same.

The downside with Oasis Horticubes is that they are more expensive than something like rockwool and are much less versatile.

Because they don’t retain water well, Oasis Horticubes aren’t ideal for hydroponic methods that don’t irrigate frequently, if not, constantly.

Pro-Mix

Pro-Mix is a type of loose, soilless mix.

This isn’t a starter plug, but it can be used similarly. Just take the same tray you would normally use for plugs and fill the cells with Pro-Mix.

Pro-Mix offers a variety of products for different growing applications.

All of the products are peat moss-based and contain beneficial substances to help your seed germinate and grow.

The mix contains biostimulants, which are chemicals or microorganisms that help the plant take in nutrients more efficiently or increase crop quality, as well as mycorrhizae, or beneficial fungi.

While this is a great product, it can be quite expensive and lacks the convenience of preformed starter plugs like Rapid Rooters and rockwool.

Soilless Mixes

Lastly, we have soilless mixes. This is a general term for any loose hydroponic media that may resemble soil but actually contains none (like this one by Fox Farm).

Popular soilless mixes include coco coir, peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, sand, rice hulls, and more.

These growing media can be mixed and combined to provide whatever level of water retention, aeration, and price you desire.

If you care to tweak and refine your own mix, soilless mixes are great as they give you nearly endless customizability.

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