Why are my seedlings too skinny to stand up?

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Why are my seedlings too skinny to stand up?

Post by David Gaudi » Fri, 26 Apr 1996 04:00:00



I planted a lot of seeds in various containers.  Most are sunflowers or
other flowering plants.  I've had some success; a "Dwarf Holiday" sunflower
that's straight and tall and will probably bloom soon, and some Marigolds
that have already bloomed.  But, most of the plants grow tall, thin stems
and flop over from their own weight after they get about 6 inches tall.
This happens whether I use tiny seed-start containers or large pots.
It also happens whether the plant is in a north or south window, and
doesn't seem to be affected by the amount of watering.  The plants don't
look unhealthy in any way, and after falling over from their own weight
they continue to grow upwards again.  The few plants that have grown well
are treated exactly the same as those that haven't.  For fertilizer,
I use some sort of "7 drops per quart" liquid (Schwartz?)

The plants feel like they were made of ***.  Does anything sound
familiar so far?

 
 
 

Why are my seedlings too skinny to stand up?

Post by Cindy C » Sat, 27 Apr 1996 04:00:00


My guess is they need more light, they are reaching for light now and
becoming very skinny.  With more light they develop shorter stouter stems.
 I had success this year starting seedlings under fluorescent lights
placed a few inches above the seed tray, with the lights on a timer 16
hours per day.  Actual sunshine would work too, but that's a rare
commodity in Indiana in the winter.

Cindy
Waiting for the weather to stabilize so I can put outside some of my
sturdy seedlings.

 
 
 

Why are my seedlings too skinny to stand up?

Post by Trevor Richards » Fri, 10 May 1996 04:00:00


        They need more sun!  They are growing up to look for sun, give them as
much light as possible.!                


says...

Quote:

>I planted a lot of seeds in various containers.  Most are sunflowers or
>other flowering plants.  I've had some success; a "Dwarf Holiday" sunflower
>that's straight and tall and will probably bloom soon, and some Marigolds
>that have already bloomed.  But, most of the plants grow tall, thin stems
>and flop over from their own weight after they get about 6 inches tall.
>This happens whether I use tiny seed-start containers or large pots.
>It also happens whether the plant is in a north or south window, and
>doesn't seem to be affected by the amount of watering.  The plants don't
>look unhealthy in any way, and after falling over from their own weight
>they continue to grow upwards again.  The few plants that have grown well
>are treated exactly the same as those that haven't.  For fertilizer,
>I use some sort of "7 drops per quart" liquid (Schwartz?)

>The plants feel like they were made of ***.  Does anything sound
>familiar so far?

 
 
 

Why are my seedlings too skinny to stand up?

Post by Mary Winters-Mey » Fri, 10 May 1996 04:00:00



Quote:
>    They need more sun!  They are growing up to look for sun, give them as
>much light as possible.!            

Very true, and might I add that just putting them next to a southern
window may not give them enough light. We had to resort to putting
ours on the floor in front of the sliding glass door because we couldn't
get them close enough to the windows. If you don't have a nice broad
windowsill so you can put the plants *directly* in the light, that
will cause the plants to grow toward the light as you describe.

It's amazing how sensitive the little guys are! ;-> ;->
Mary

***********************************************
"Only one human captain has ever survived battle with the
Membari fleet. *He* is behind me, *you* are in front of me. If
you value your life - be somewhere else!" Ambassador Delenn
++++++++++++++

University of Illinois |  Management Methods Analyst
Urbana - Champaign     |  Department of Student Financial Aid

 
 
 

Why are my seedlings too skinny to stand up?

Post by Diana Voug » Thu, 16 May 1996 04:00:00


hi, my husband grows alot of things very successfully under plant
lights. Put the light very close to the soil  and as they come up
move the light away. this makes very
hardy stems.  he grows tomatoes, peppers, and artichokes
under these lights and has just put them outdoors.
we live on eastern long island.  good luck

 
 
 

Why are my seedlings too skinny to stand up?

Post by Tom Tadfor Littl » Fri, 17 May 1996 04:00:00


Quote:

> hi, my husband grows alot of things very successfully under plant
> lights. Put the light very close to the soil  and as they come up
> move the light away. this makes very
> hardy stems.  he grows tomatoes, peppers, and artichokes
> under these lights and has just put them outdoors.
> we live on eastern long island.  good luck

Even when seedlings are grown inside with lots of light, they
sometimes lack the stoutness of outside-grown plants. Recently
on the Victory Garden TV show, Roger Swain mentioned that wind
--or any kind of agitation of the seedling--makes for stouter
growth. I thought this was a good observation. I try to get
my seedlings into an environment with moving air (say a cold
frame that can be propped open during the day) as soon as
possible, long before it would be needed for "hardening off".

FWIW

--
===============================================================                  

technical writer/editor   Los Alamos National Laboratory
---------------------------------------------------------------
Telperion Productions     http://www.rt66.com/~telp/
===============================================================

 
 
 

Why are my seedlings too skinny to stand up?

Post by Gary Choa » Tue, 23 Jul 1996 04:00:00


It sounds like your plants are what is called leggy. They don't have
enough root structure to  feed the plant, I have found that this is
caused by either to much light or to warm of soil when the plants are
seedlings. Also the seeds may need to be planted deeper check the


Quote:
>I planted a lot of seeds in various containers.  Most are sunflowers or
>other flowering plants.  I've had some success; a "Dwarf Holiday" sunflower
>that's straight and tall and will probably bloom soon, and some Marigolds
>that have already bloomed.  But, most of the plants grow tall, thin stems
>and flop over from their own weight after they get about 6 inches tall.
>This happens whether I use tiny seed-start containers or large pots.
>It also happens whether the plant is in a north or south window, and
>doesn't seem to be affected by the amount of watering.  The plants don't
>look unhealthy in any way, and after falling over from their own weight
>they continue to grow upwards again.  The few plants that have grown well
>are treated exactly the same as those that haven't.  For fertilizer,
>I use some sort of "7 drops per quart" liquid (Schwartz?)
>The plants feel like they were made of ***.  Does anything sound
>familiar so far?

 
 
 

Why are my seedlings too skinny to stand up?

Post by John J. McGeou » Tue, 23 Jul 1996 04:00:00


Quote:

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>Subject: Re: Why are my seedlings too skinny to stand up?
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>>I planted a lot of seeds in various containers.  Most are sunflowers or
>>other flowering plants.  I've had some success; a "Dwarf Holiday" sunflower
>>that's straight and tall and will probably bloom soon, and some Marigolds
>>that have already bloomed.  But, most of the plants grow tall, thin stems
>>and flop over from their own weight after they get about 6 inches tall.
>>This happens whether I use tiny seed-start containers or large pots.
>>It also happens whether the plant is in a north or south window, and
>>doesn't seem to be affected by the amount of watering.  The plants don't
>>look unhealthy in any way, and after falling over from their own weight
>>they continue to grow upwards again.  The few plants that have grown well
>>are treated exactly the same as those that haven't.  For fertilizer,
>>I use some sort of "7 drops per quart" liquid (Schwartz?)
>>The plants feel like they were made of ***.  Does anything sound
>>familiar so far?

I feel that your plants lack light.  I had trouble starting seeds indoors
until I acquired a grow light.  I start the seeds just a few inches under the
light.  It is a standard shop light fixture with Gro-Lux lights which imitate
nearly the full spectrum of sunlight.  It is light intensity that has a lot to
do with plants becoming leggy.  They are trying to reach up to light or search
for more light.  I think you will solve your problem with your seedlings if
you use more light -- not less.

Sincerely,

John McGeough

ps.  I found my light at an african violet shop.  They are also available from
some seed catalogues such as Parks or Burpee.

jm

 
 
 

Why are my seedlings too skinny to stand up?

Post by Vimala Siddalingai » Wed, 24 Jul 1996 04:00:00


I think it is the other way around.  They lack sun light.  I had a
pomegranite(sp) fruit sitting on my window sill for a long time.  Just
couple
of months ago I broke it and spilled the seeds in the garden as well as into
a pot inside the house.  The plants out in the garden were doing
exceptionally well where as the plants in the house were very dilicate,
long, and folling down.  So I put them out in the sun where they are
begining to do better.

I wonder if pomegranite plants can be left outside through winter in the
Northern suburb of Washinton D.C.!

: It sounds like your plants are what is called leggy. They don't have
: enough root structure to  feed the plant, I have found that this is
: caused by either to much light or to warm of soil when the plants are
: seedlings. Also the seeds may need to be planted deeper check the

: >I planted a lot of seeds in various containers.  Most are sunflowers or
: >other flowering plants.  I've had some success; a "Dwarf Holiday" sunflower
: >that's straight and tall and will probably bloom soon, and some Marigolds
: >that have already bloomed.  But, most of the plants grow tall, thin stems
: >and flop over from their own weight after they get about 6 inches tall.
: >This happens whether I use tiny seed-start containers or large pots.
: >It also happens whether the plant is in a north or south window, and
: >doesn't seem to be affected by the amount of watering.  The plants don't
: >look unhealthy in any way, and after falling over from their own weight
: >they continue to grow upwards again.  The few plants that have grown well
: >are treated exactly the same as those that haven't.  For fertilizer,
: >I use some sort of "7 drops per quart" liquid (Schwartz?)

: >The plants feel like they were made of ***.  Does anything sound
: >familiar so far?

 
 
 

Why are my seedlings too skinny to stand up?

Post by Travis Salin » Fri, 26 Jul 1996 04:00:00


Quote:
> >It sounds like your plants are what is called leggy. They don't have
> >enough root structure to  feed the plant, I have found that this is
> >caused by either to much light or to warm of soil when the plants are
> >seedlings.

> >>I planted a lot of seeds in various containers.  Most are sunflowers or
> >>other flowering plants.  I've had some success; a "Dwarf Holiday" sunflower
> >>that's straight and tall and will probably bloom soon, and some Marigolds
> >>that have already bloomed.  But, most of the plants grow tall, thin stems
> >>and flop over from their own weight after they get about 6 inches tall.
> >>This happens whether I use tiny seed-start containers or large pots.
> >>It also happens whether the plant is in a north or south window, and
> >>doesn't seem to be affected by the amount of watering.

Actually, plants grown in windows during winter and spring commonly don't
get ENOUGH light.  Try using an inexpensive shoplight fixture, placed 3 or
4 inches above the plants.  I've had good success for several years
starting my plants this way.  Some people advocate special grow-bulbs, but
I've always just used shoplight fluorescent tubes (I was going to do a
comparison this year, but couldn't find the 4' Grolux tubes).

I will agree that warmth can be a problem.  I grow my transplants (even
heat-lovers like tomatoes and peppers) on our unheated enclosed back
porch.  The plants are stockier when exposed to cooler temps, and are less
likely to experience shock when placed outside.  A max/min thermometer is
nice in this setup, because it'll help you to know when temps are ok to
grow hard seedlings without stunting them (tomato seedlings can take night
temps in the upper 40s without a problem, but peppers prefer it at least
in the low 50s).

Travis
Sumner, Washington
USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 4

http://weber.u.washington.edu/~trav/

"Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength"

 
 
 

Why are my seedlings too skinny to stand up?

Post by rtot.. » Fri, 26 Jul 1996 04:00:00


Quote:
>It sounds like your plants are what is called leggy. They don't have
>enough root structure to  feed the plant, I have found that this is
>caused by either to much light or to warm of soil when the plants are
>seedlings. Also the seeds may need to be planted deeper check the
>instructions for seed depth.


Quote:

>>I planted a lot of seeds in various containers.  Most are sunflowers or
>>other flowering plants.  I've had some success; a "Dwarf Holiday" sunflower
>>that's straight and tall and will probably bloom soon, and some Marigolds
>>that have already bloomed.  But, most of the plants grow tall, thin stems
>>and flop over from their own weight after they get about 6 inches tall.
>>This happens whether I use tiny seed-start containers or large pots.
>>It also happens whether the plant is in a north or south window, and
>>doesn't seem to be affected by the amount of watering.  The plants don't
>>look unhealthy in any way, and after falling over from their own weight
>>they continue to grow upwards again.  The few plants that have grown well
>>are treated exactly the same as those that haven't.  For fertilizer,
>>I use some sort of "7 drops per quart" liquid (Schwartz?)

Plants need to harden off a bit before making their way in the great outdoors.
As soon as they start to grow, and as long as it is above freezing outside,
put the flats outside for a few hours each day, or open up the greenhouse
for a good draught. If they never experience wind they grow leggy instead of
building up strength. Also, if they are planted very close together in their
pots or flats they will grow too tall as they compete for light. Thinning
them out somewhat will help. Once they are transplanted into a flower bed
they will not have their buddies to support them so get them used to it
first.