I’ve tried several different methods of germinating seeds for my hydroponic gardens. My preferred method is using Rapid Rooter plugs made by General Hydroponics. They are easy to use, have a great germination success rate, and can be used in all of my different types of hydroponic systems. Here’s what you need to know about using Rapid Rooter for seed germination.
What Are Rapid Rooter Plugs Made Of?
Rapid Rooter plugs are made from composted materials. I’ve used some derived from peat moss and others from tree bark.
Rapid Rooter plugs are formed in a way that creates an optimal air-to-water ratio which promotes excellent root growth. I’ve found Rapid Rooter starter plugs way easier to use compared to other seed starting methods, such as using rockwool.
Supplies Needed To Germinate Seeds Using Rapid Rooter
|Rapid Rooter Plugs & Tray– The kit comes with 50 Rapid Rooter starter plugs and a tray that holds water to keep plugs moist.
|Heat mat– Many seeds have higher germination rates when the temperature is in the 70 to 80 degree range.
Also Needed: Seeds, a bowl of water
How Use Rapid Rooter To Germinate Seeds For Your Hydroponic Garden
The first thing to do is soak the Rapid Rooter plugs in distilled water. Some people soak them up to 24 hours; I typically soak them for only a few hours and have had no issues. After soaking, place the plugs into the grow tray.
Plant Your Seeds
Place a few seeds in the center hole of each Rapid Rooter plug. Planting more than 1 seed increases the chances of successful germination for each plug.
Tip* Tear a little piece off the bottom of the Rapid Rooter plug and place it over the hole where you placed your seeds. This will keep the seed completely dark, which is necessary for germination.
Some seeds may germinate before others and they will be able to push off the pieces of the cube as the seedling emerges, exposing itself to light. That way other seeds that are still in the process of germinating will still be in the dark.
Fill With Water And Cover Grow Tray
Next, fill the grow tray with about a quarter-inch of water. There are holes at the bottom of the tray where the plugs go, allowing the plugs to wick up water and stay moist. Cover the tray with a dome to keep in moisture and warmth. If you don’t have a dome, you can cover the tray with saran wrap.
Place the grow tray under a low-intensity light for seedlings and keep the Rapid Rooter plugs moist by adding water to the tray as needed.
Seeds have a better germination rate when provided some extra heat. I recommend placing a seedling heat mat underneath the tray to maintain a warmer temperature.
How To Know When Seedlings Are Ready To Be Transplanted
As the seedlings grow, they can be put under more intense light geared toward vegetative growth. As the seedlings develop, you’ll start to see the roots start to grow out of the rapid rooter.
When you see a good amount of the root system coming through the Rapid Rooter it’s time to transplant.
Transplanting Plants From The Rapid Rooter Tray Into Your Hydroponic System
Rapid rooter plugs are very versatile and can be transplanted in any hydroponic grow medium and also dirt. Soon as you get them transplanted over into the hydroponic system, you can introduce them to a low-level dose of nutrient solution.
Rapid rooter starter plugs are my preferred method when I start seeds for my hydroponic gardens. Using these starter plugs makes the process so much easier compared to other germination methods.
Plugs promote a healthy root system in seedlings to start your garden off on the right foot and replacement rapid rooter plugs are affordable.