Transplanting Strawberry plant from soil to Hydroponics

At CityGreens, we love challenges. Especially, when someone tells us that a particular thing cannot be done, we try doing it to see if we can learn something new in the process.

During the alpha testing phase of CG Kitchen Garden, almost every expert told us that a vertical structure cannot be used to grow tomatoes. We tried nevertheless and this is what we got ?

Having said that, we did learn that this was difficult and would not recommend you to try it unless you have at least a few months of gardening experience already.

Let’s shift our focus to another thing which is considered fairly difficult but is actually easy, even for the first time gardener. We are talking about transplanting a plant from soil to hydroponics. To make things more challenging, we took a fully grown up strawberry plant and tried our luck with transplanting it to hydroponics.

Following pictures will detail how we did it:

Oct 4, 2017

We procured a fully grown strawberry plant from a local nursery. We dipped this pot in a bucket full of water for 20 minutes to loosen the soil around the roots. We were expecting the roots to be well developed and were not disappointed.

Since we wanted to eventually transfer it to a CG Kitchen Garden unit, we needed to fit this root mass into a 2-inch netpot. This seemed fairly difficult and so we improvised a little by cutting out a portion from the base of the netpot.

Transferring the roots then became easy.

We now wanted to allow some rest time to the plant to rest and recover (from almost imminent transplant shock) before we move it to CG Kitchen Garden. Another improvisation came in handy. We took a normal kitchen glass. Covered the base with an Opaque electrician tape to protect roots from exposure to light. We filled it with hydrotons, placed the netpot inside the glass and topped it up with water.

In fact, this can be the most basic, simple and cheapest hydroponic setup for anyone to try with experimenting with soil-less gardening. We then waited for a couple of weeks.

Oct 21, 2017

We were surprised to find that the plant did not go int a transplant shock. Apart from a few dead stems which we promptly pruned, there were no visible issues with the plant. Also, we could notice 2 new leaves that had emerged at the base of the plant.

We decided the time was ripe and planted it in CG Kitchen Garden. This is when the plant went under transplant shock. The roots had survived getting transplanted from soil into the water but a further transplant (within a couple of weeks) from water into the air (in CG Kitchen Garden, roots are suspended in air) was too much for the plant to bear. Within a week almost all the old stems started to die.

Looking at this we decided to retransfer the plant to a hydroponic unit. For this, we relied on one of our many experimental units that we are continuously developing and experimenting with. We also pruned all the dying stems leaving the new growth that you can see in above picture.

Dec 12, 2017

This is how the plant looks now.

This plant successfully survived getting transplanted from soil to hydroponics to aeroponics and then back to hydroponics. So next time someone tells you that (grown up) plants cannot be transferred from soil to hydroponics, don’t argue. Just smile, and give it a try.

Happy Farming!

Gaurav is an entrepreneur whose first Start-up was focused on providing services to patients suffering from Chronic Diseases. While researching about the causes of lifestyle diseases and the ways to reduce their incidence, he chanced upon the idea of growing healthy and nutritious food using advanced farming techniques.

He founded CityGreens with a mission to enable City Dwellers to access Safe, Healthy and Fresh food.

8 thoughts on “Transplanting Strawberry plant from soil to Hydroponics

  • Sonya Malan says:

    Hi! I bought some strawberrie plants, and after reading your article I really want to plant them in with my hydroponics. Just a question, what strength hydroponic liquid did you use when you transplaned them?

    • admin says:

      Hi Sonya,

      Immediately after transplant, we allowed the plant to get complete rest. We kept it indoor (at our conference table) for next couple of days with access to indirect sunlight. Also, we used plain water initially without any nutrients.
      Post couple of days, we moved it out and added 1 ml each of N, K and P from our NPK blend. If you are planning to keep it in a glass like setup we used, do remember to aerate / replace nutrient solution bi-weekly.

      Things that we did not do but may help you get better results –
      1. Trimming extra branches
      2. Replacing half of nutrient solution weekly (to ensure entire bio-ecosystem is not replaced at once)

      All the best and do let us know how it goes.
      Happy Farming!

  • Lara says:

    Hi, I just transplanted cattail into hydroponics (for a research study).its been a week now and they dont seem to be doing well. How do I know its transplanting shock or something I need to do. Thanks

    • Nidhi George says:

      Hi Lara,

      Thanks for writing in.
      Would u be able to let me know the purpose of your research?
      When you say Cattail you mean the flowering plants? Is it Cattail Typha?
      Would u be able to share some pics so as to enable us to understand the problem better?
      Waiting to hear from u.
      You can email me the pics at

  • Nitesh Thakur says:

    Hi Team,

    Recently i had transferred tomato plant from seedling tray to hydroponics. Unfortunately it died, plant was almost 2 weeks old and i transferred it to NKP solution(1ml) which i bought from City Greens. Could you please guide me if i am doing something wrong. I had kept it inside under artificial light, not in direct sunlight as i don’t have any place with direct sunlight for continuously long time. Please help.

    • admin says:

      Hi Nitesh,

      Sorry to hear about your loss.
      When you say artificial light, did you use proper Grow Lights or normal household lights? Please note that norma lights may not emit the spectrum required by plants in sufficient quantity. Further, tomato plants needs a lot of light. If you want to experiment with artificial light, start with leafy greens which can survive in low light conditions.

      Even if you do not get continuous sunlight, is there an area wherein the plant can get at least 4-6 hours of direct light (say morning or evening hours)? if yes, try placing plant in sunlight during that duration and use artificial light for the balance time.

      Reach out to our team at +831 031 2660 for further assistance please.

      • Nitesh Thakur says:

        Hi Team,
        Thanks for the quick response, i am using 15w CFL for artificial lighting, could you please suggest some good led glow lights for tomato and leafy plants and how many watt lights are required for proper growth.


        • admin says:

          Hi Nitesh,

          A CFL may work for leafy greens at best and that too for the ones habitual to lower lights (not the Indian greens). We are still conducting our research on grow lights so cannot give you a definative answer for sure. However, we have compiled a small primer that can help you get started with understanding grow lights. You can access it here.

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