Root Riot Plugs – How To Use Them for Cuttings & Seeds

Whether you’re a traditional soil-based gardener or a hydroponic grower, Root Riot plugs come in super handy for starting plants. 

If you’re new to gardening or just starting your own seeds, you may not be familiar with them.

What are Root Riot plugs? Root Riot plugs are cube-shaped seed and cutting starters made of sphagnum peat moss. They’re designed for soil and hydroponic gardening. To use them, simply moisten them, place seeds or cuttings in the pre-made holes, press the holes closed, and put the plugs in a warm location.

Continue reading below to learn everything you need to know about using Root Riot plugs for cuttings and seeds!

Root Riot Plugs – The Basics

Starting your own plants makes gardening easier and more affordable as well, which is one of the main reasons Root Riot plugs are so beneficial.

Using Root Riot plugs allows you to get the best results from all of the seeds you start. Even more, they work just as well for soil gardening as they do for hydroponics.

Below, we discuss the basics of Root Riot plugs in-depth.

What Are Root Riot Plugs?

Root Riot plugs are “plugs” or seed-starters, that are made of finely milled peat.

Sphagnum peat moss is the main ingredient, making them excellent for germinating seeds because they have such incredible airflow and water retention.

Furthermore, Root Riot plugs aren’t just perfect for starting seeds; they also work just as well for propagating cuttings into plants.

The plugs provide the perfect moist but airy environment for roots to develop.

Even better, Root Riot plugs help you get the jump on starting plants for a wide range of advanced gardening applications including hydroponic, aquaponic, and aeroponic growing systems.

How To Use Root Riot Plugs

Using Root Riot plugs is a breeze, regardless of your level of gardening expertise. We discuss how to use them for cuttings as well as seeds below.

Using Root Riot for Cuttings

The process for using Root Riot for cuttings is practically the same as the process for using them with seeds, and most gardeners get great results.

Wet the product, take a cutting (rather than a seed), and stick it in the hole. Press the corners until the hole is closed around the base of the stem.

For best results, dip the end of the cutting in rooting hormone (I use and recommend this product) before sticking it into the Root Riot plug.

If you prefer organic gardening methods, dip the end of the cutting into cinnamon (a natural rooting hormone for plants).

Once your cuttings are in place, place the Root Riot plugs on a tray and cover it with a plastic lid (or loosely with plastic wrap), and place it in a warm out-of-the-way place.

Return every day to lightly mist the tray of cuttings until they’re ready for transplanting.

Using Root Riot for Seeds

Root Riot plugs couldn’t be much easier to use, truth be told: simply soak them in water a day or so before you want to use them, place a seed in the hole, and gently press the edges of the plug until the hole is closed/covered.

Once your moist plugs have seeds placed inside, place the plugs on a tray, and stick them somewhere they won’t be disturbed.

Avoid placing them in direct sunlight, but make sure they have plenty of warmth to help initiate the germination process.

What Size Are Root Riot Plugs?

A Root Riot plug measures approximately 1.2 inches by 1.2 inches by 1.5 inches. Each cube-shaped plug has a pre-made hole in the center/top. 

The plug holes are made to fit both seeds and common cuttings. Each package includes either 50 or 100 plugs and a reusable plastic tray.

What Is Root Riot Made Of?

Root Riot cubes consist of compacted sphagnum peat moss. The organic material is pressed into cube-shaped molds. When the material hardens and is removed from the mold, the plugs are complete.

Because they are made from organic materials, Root Riot plugs may be planted or transplanted straight into pots, containers, hydroponic growing systems, or the garden.

Are Root Riot Plugs Organic?

Root Riot plugs are entirely made of biodegradable and organic materials. The organic content of the plugs provide base nutrients and a perfect environment for seeds and cuttings to develop and grow roots.

It is their organic composition that makes Root Riot plugs so effective.

Do Root Riot Cubes Have Nutrients?

Due to their organic makeup, Root Riot cubes indeed have some amounts of nutrients. 

To be more specific, they are packed with micro-nutrients (from the sphagnum peat moss and organic compost they consist of) that help seeds and young plants more quickly develop.

Furthermore, Root Riot cubes boast one of the best air-to-water ratios of all seed-starting and cutting-propagating products.

Best Place To Find Root Riot

Root Riot products are carried in most gardening centers and big box stores like Home Depot and Walmart. 

But, if you’re short on time or just like to get the very best price possible, buying them online via Amazon is your best bet.

For example, shop around online for a few minutes and see if you can beat the Amazon price for the Root Riot Tray and Root Riot Replacement Cubes.

Hint: You won’t find a better price, especially when you factor in shipping costs and speeds.

Do You Wet Root Riot Plugs?

Root Riot plugs need to be soaked in water for several hours, approximately 24 hours before use (despite the fact that they are sold slightly moistened already). 

Simply place them in a bowl or container filled with room-temperature water. As soon as the plugs become swollen, remove them from the water.

You only want to moisten the plugs, not oversaturate and waterlog them.

How Do I Clone Using Root Riot?

Cloning with Root Riot is a rather simple exercise. Start by selecting a mother plant and locating a healthy stem or two to remove. 

Once you’ve taken cuttings from the mother plant, dip their roots in cinnamon or rooting hormone and place them tip-first into the Root Riot plugs.

Place the Root Riot plugs onto their tray, and cover it with the plastic lid (to build a bit of warmth and humidity).

Return daily to mist your cuttings until they root and are ready for transplanting.

How Do I Use Root Riot for Hydroponics?

Root Riot cubes are diverse enough for use in hydroponics as well as for soil gardening. For use in hydroponics, simply replace your rockwool or grow sponges with Root Riot plugs.

Depending on your hydroponic growing system, once the seeds have germinated or cuttings have rooted, the Root Riot cubes holding the new plants may go directly from the germination tray to a grow site.

Can You Reuse Root Riot Cubes?

Whether or not you can reuse Root Riot cubes depends on a few things.

Firstly, you must be careful with the cubes the first time you use them. You also must avoid soaking them excessively (or they may fall apart on the second or third use). 

Also, in between uses, you need to keep the Root Riot cubes in a plastic bag or container with a lid, stored away from the direct light in a dry and warm location.

Why Are My Root Riot Cubes Drying Out?

There are several reasons that your Root Riot cubes may be drying out faster than you’d like or anticipated. 

The main reason for the cubes drying out too quickly is being placed in a warmer-than-ideal temperature, and/or being situated in direct sunlight. 

Other reasons include too much airflow or a surface that is leaching the water from the cubes (which is why they should be placed in a dark, warm, out-of-the-way place).

Root Riot Cubes vs. Rockwool

Root Riot cubes and rockwool are both generally very useful for starting seeds and rooting cuttings.

That said, there are a few key differences that you need to be aware of if you’re considering using either one for the first time.

Rockwool cubes, famous the world over, are affordable and effective but are mainly geared toward rooting plants for advanced gardening techniques like hydroponics, aquaponics, and aeroponics.

Root Riot cubes on the other hand are great for both advanced gardening methods like hydroponics as well as for basic soil and container gardening. 

Furthermore, Root Riot are made up of organic compost, unlike rockwool.

That means that not only do they retain moisture better, but they also provide some base nutrients to seedlings and cuttings (which rockwool does not).

How To Transplant Root Riot Cubes?

Seedlings and cuttings that’ve rooted in Root Riot cubes can be transplanted in a few ways. 

The two most common ways to transplant riot cubes are: 

  1. Transplanting the entire cube into a container or straight into the ground as is. Or,
  2. Carefully and patiently cutting away the cube from the plant, gently removing it piece by piece (and then transplanting into your desired container or garden spot)

A Final Word About Using Root Riot Plugs

Root Riot plugs are a great gardening tool/product for those interested in starting their own plants from seeds or cuttings (rather than buying them again and again every year). 

The plugs are made from organic materials, they’re easy to use and affordable, and most of all they save you time and money. 

If you’re looking for a no-nonsense method for starting your plants in soil or hydroponic gardens, Root Riot plugs could be the solution you have been searching for.