Seedlings tall and skinny????

blake0808March 21, 2009

What did I do wrong and can it be fixed? My brocolli, Cauliflower and cabbage seedlings are just a tall single stem with two leaves at top. Did I ruin them??? They are probably 2 inches or a little more with shallow roots.

I am worried that I better start over..any help will be greatly appreciated!!


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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

They are starved for light.

Leggy seedlings discussions


Here is a link that might be useful: Lights FAQ

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 5:21PM
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Thank you!! I thought of that and moved them two days ago to a very well lit, window. It does not get direct sunlight, but lots of indirect. They do lean toward the light.

Do I need to do anything? Re-pot? If I re-pot them do I plant them below the surface to eliminate the long leggyness?? Will they grow more roots from that long stem?

I'm sorry if these are silly questions, but I have never started seeds indoor before and I hope to make it work:)

Thanks a million for your help!!


    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 5:28PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Well as the FAQ and discussions linked above talk about, window light is not enough - not even a bright sunny south window. It isn't full spectrum, it isn't intense enough, and there aren't enough hours of it in the day this time of year. Some always insist on trying and some of the seedling equipment suppliers market their products with the claim that it can be done. But the end result is always long lanky seedlings that can't hold their heads up. Even in the greenhouse we have to provide supplemental lighting this time of year.

Yes you can repot and yes you do it deeply. But if you can't provide them with supplemental lighting and a lot of it, they will just go leggy again.

Successfully growing from seed indoors requires supplemental fluorescent lighting, 1-3" above the plants, for 16-18 hours a day.

For someone new to growing from seed, you'll find the FAQs written for this forum to be very very helpful.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 6:00PM
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Karen Pease

Well... it doesn't necessarily have to be fluorescent. It could also be HID, LED, or many other options. But apart from that, I agree with everything digdirt said -- get them more light!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 12:38PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Very true Karen - it is just that fluorescents are a whole lot cheaper. ;)


    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 5:29PM
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Same happened to me. I was keeping my broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage a few inches under flourescents for 16 hours daily, yet they still grew leggy and fell over. I re-potted them up to their leaves, which did the trick beautifully, and they have since transplanted very happily.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 10:41PM
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Thanks, I will replant them up to their leaves:) That sounds better than waiting to see if they make it or don't. It helps to know it worked out well for you.

Your help is much appreciated!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 11:42PM
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