The nursery is where it all begins. Just like the name implies, baby plants are nursed in to teenage plants so they can be moved to the vegetative rooms. The way you start a plant is up to you – from seeds or clones – but whatever method you choose, the ultimate goal of the nursery room is to grow baby plants quickly without damaging them.
To start a nursery room, you will need a way to store and grow the plants. We strongly recommend using metal shelving, clone trays, organic mats, and humidity domes lit with a small amount of LED or fluorescent lighting.
When designing the space, use standard 4’ wide x 18” deep stainless steel shelving. (This shelving can be purchased almost anywhere; they are sometimes called “baker’s racks.”) Also buy a 4’ fluorescent or LED light strip for the fledgling plants. Setting up the shelves 18” apart (height) will give you enough space to put 2 trays per shelf. Each tray will comfortably hold 50 cuttings or seeds. More plants per tray is not recommended because plants need some space to grow.
With this setup, each shelving unit has the potential to hold up to 800 plants. It is recommended to have twice the amount of nursery plants/cuttings than the overall facility needs to keep vegetative rooms full. This allows you to choose only the healthiest and heartiest plants to move into the vegetative rooms.
Starting Cannabis Plants
There are many ways to grow plants from seeds or clones into mature plants ready for the vegetative rooms, including: clone machines, tissue culture, organic and rockwool plugs, and organic mats with a humidity dome and temp controlled root zone heat mat. Our current favorite is root mats as they are the simplest method and have a high success rate (up to 80%) with little effort. Using humidity domes as well protects the plants and removes worry about improper humidity levels in the nursery room, allowing you to focus more energy on vegetative and flower rooms.
When using humidity domes, at least one vent should be open at all times on the humidity to avoid building up too much humidity. If clones are rooted in extremely high humidity they will need to be hardened off in order to remove the domes without severe wilt.
It is important to note that baby plants should never be sprayed while in the humidity dome. This causes rotting of the plant material wherever water drops sit for extended periods of time without being able to dry.
Typically, baby plants are ready to leave the nursery two to three weeks after they are transplanted into rooting mats. Plants may look bad the first few days after being transferred out of the nursery due to the lower humidity levels; however, they will soon recover and be stronger because of the added strain.
Never coddle your baby plants. Start with more plants that you will ultimately need and be aggressive with them. Throw out any weak baby plants. If you are really good, you may even end up choosing the best of the best, and throwing out a few good plants simply because they are not as good as the others – only keep the best. This will create stronger mature plants, capable of producing a larger yield.
Though recommended, the nursery does not need to actually be located in its own room. As a rule of thumb, three to five percent of the cultivation facility grow space should be dedicated to the nursery. In smaller cultivation centers, the nursery can be located inside a vegetative room as long as there is adequate space between the nursery shelving units and the lighting used for vegetative plants. Typically, eight feet is enough to separate nursery plants from vegetative plant lights; any closer and the more intense light used in vegetative rooms can stress and kill nursery plants.