Update: "male city" continues.
Down to one mutant, constantly droopy "Crystal" (sativa dom pheno) yet to show. Has had few preflowers for some days now with no clustering so good sign. Got it to perk up some but consider droopiness as part of the mutation/strain as done it since seedling.
Mine rarely droop (nearly always perky...I like em like that) and the few I had droop over the years were heavy Indica dom (sometimes just can't get those big fat leaves to stand back up..especially near harvest). But sativa dom usually easy to keep perky.
And if the, "Crystal", sativa pheno is female I will likely have to stake it to hold it up (something I have never had to do before). But could be an interesting smoke so kinda excited...as has very sweet rub. I'm so tempted to transplant it as rarely will single preflowers go days with no cluster but this is a bit of a strange one so time will tell.
With only one real plant in flower closet now (Ice in 5 gal bucket) I put my last two, "Blue Mountain" in paper towel and one sprouted and put in starter soil. Had five, "Blue Mountain" to begin with and only 1 of 3 sprouted and was a male. I have Blue mountain pollen so if I get a female I'll be set.
I have used same seed starter (I use it for clones also) for many years with great success (last bag lasted me over 3 years...I garden also so start seeds early indoors).
I have always used the cheapest and smallest styrofoam cups. I poke a bunch of holes in bottom and at bottom sides with a toothpick and fill about 1/3 with soil. I use a pencil and push down 1/4-1/2" into soil depending on length of taproot. I then wash my hands good and carefully pick up seed head ONLY! DO NOT touch taproot! And place taproot down of course into hole. Then lightly cover. The soil I mix rainwater to make it moist..but NOT muddy. I then cover with plastic bag and place somewhere warm in dark (or sometimes I just place under light as seed head covered with soil) The reason I use so little soil is because I want a little root ball asap.
There are differing theories on transplanting and how many times one should or shouldn't transplant from start to finish. Personally, as long as done before early-mid flower then doesn't really matter. But if I ever noticed any transplant shock it must have been when I was a kid (starting gardening in 4th grade) as mine don't even seem to skip a beat. But I use much TLC and only abuse the males...lol. However, if one doesn't have magic hands then less transplant probably better for you.
For me the root ball does two things. It gives the plant upward growth spurts that wouldn't occur in larger pot as not root bound. And also much easier to transplant.
Of course bigger pots make for bigger plants and many (like myself) have height/space restrictions. I don't want to outgrow my space but i want to grow as big (and as much) as possible for the space I have.
I may be wrong but I think in a, "2.5 X 2.5", space a scrog would yield less (and take more time) then doing 4+ colas per plant. With a scrog I could likely only train one plant. I can get two 5 gal buckets plus two 4 gal buckets with four 1.5 to 2 foot colas plus lateral buds.
So, whatever it takes (and however many times you have to transplant) to get the most out of your lights and space would be optimal. Almost all mine get transplanted 3 times and some 4. The delay these days in sexing (compared to many years ago) doesn't help. Aside from 7-10 day wait on sexing mine start to finish are about 3 months these days. Any shock from transplanting/training can lengthen that time considerably. Three month start to finish amounts to four harvests per year.
How I transplant is I take a butter knife (for smaller pots) and stick it in at edge of pot and carefully go around pot pressing against inside of pot with knife as go around pot. Then usually place stem between fingers at base and turn over and usually will fall out in hand. I spray/mist soil of new pot where root ball will go and tenderly set new plant in and add soil around edge and done.
Some roll pot and loosen root ball and even take fingers and disturb root ball and roots. To each their own! Whatever works! When I transplant not even a leaf droop...nothing. Hard to imagine disturbing a root ball wouldn't shock the plant severely but maybe better in long run I don't know...never tried it. I want a perfect short flight myself with no bumps or shocks!
Just checked records and, "Ice", one week since first appearance of white hairs! Has shot up nicely with stretch and am happy with height at this time. Could...and likely will go 3-4 more inches by finish.
pic of veg cabinet of, "Blue mountain" with several males waiting on pollen. I have two I keep in dark all day under back bathroom sink and switch em at night with two in veg cab and will do this until pollen collected.
edit: wow, just noticed rather long-winded this morning. AK-48 too blame..lol!
edit: pic of, "Ice", from yesterday and shot up like three plus inches overnight.