Succulent Plugs for the Grow Tent

A few months ago I invested in a grow tent for the garage with the intent of creating space suitable for seedlings and young plants year round. The thing is - I never have much luck growing aloe or agave from seed - no matter how many videos I watch. So I did the next best thing - I ordered plugs from Rancho Tissue Culture and they finally arrived today.

As you can see above, they came in a large box.

Each 1020 sized tray came expertly packed and positioned within the rigidly framed box. I imagine they didn't move much during their 24hr journey. Seeing how plants are shipped is an interesting side topic as each nursery outfit seems to do it differently.

Mangave 'Macho Mocha'

Mangave 'Macho Mocha' close up

When these Mangave grow up hopefully they will look as good as the adult in this image (complements of the San Marcos Growers site)

Agave pedunculifera

 Around the edges of the tray you can see some damage to leaves that were squished. Overall damage to plants seems to have been minimal. These A. pedunculifera will grow up to looks something like the below....

Aloe arborescens x ferox ‘Tangerine’

Handsome little guys right? Here's what they'll look like eventually.

Safely ensconced in their new home next to the cilantro and under the watchful eye of an Aloe vanbalenii. I had to clear a space for these new arrivals. I've found over the past few months that plants are responding to the lights with deeper, richer colors and a slightly enhanced growth rate compared to similar plants I've left outside.

Aloe Tangerine 'Stage 4' root growth

I'd say the Aloe 'Tangerine' plugs are ready for a bigger home.

Agave pedunculifera 'Stage 4' root growth

I'll provide updates periodically. Next step will be some re-potting. Until next time ....

July 8th, 2019 Update:

Mangave "Macho mocha" at 3 months

Aloe "Tangerine" at 3 months


  1. Great article Hans! How are the Mangave doing? I am interested in setting up a similar grow tent myself and ordering some stage IV plants from Rancho Tissue. Can you let me know equipment you are using in your setup and do you have any tips for someone just starting out?

  2. Thanks Chad - glad you enjoyed this post. All the plants in this post have moved on to 2ga or 5 ga containers and have done well. My grow tent is 4'x8' - large enough to grow lots of seedlings but not many larger plants which your plugs will quickly turn into. Tip #1 - have a larger space you can transition the plants to within 6 months - or sell them. Once you do move them outside tip #2 comes into play - protect your plants (they've had a soft life in a grow tent) from being burnt in direct sunlight. transitioning them to filtered light for some time will work best. #3 try to avoid bringing plants that have been outdoors into your grow tent as they may very well introduce pests like aphids. #4 fungus gnat eggs may very well be in the soil you buy... so if the soil stays constantly moist the eggs hatch and you'll find yourself becoming an expert in pest control. It's hard to strike the right balance when watering - running a fan accelerates moisture loss. Buying a timer for your lights and extraction fan is a must. Also worth spending some time thinking about the layout of racks inside the tent to maximize space - assuming you're getting a tent that's large enough to walk inside.

    I have two 4ft agrobright T5 fluorescent lights and 1 led light fixture. The extraction fan is Hydrofarm 200 watt / 2420rpm and hooked up to a blow air outdoors. No complaints. The tent itself has a sturdy frame which is nice for hanging potentially heavy items (like the fan).

    I have not bought plants from from Rancho Tissue a second time. I was very happy with the product but have switched back to growing from seeds and cuttings mainly because of the lower cost. I am amazed though at the quality and consistency of the RT product - they definitely know their stuff.

    1. Thank you Hans! Incredibly helpful information.


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