Seedlings sprout, but won't grow (picture attached)

Koalatlady(9/10 Coastal)April 4, 2014

This is my second set of seedlings that I've tried to get started this year with no luck. They sprout, then stay at the size in the photo for months. This has happened with my peppers (sweet and hot), eggplant and a few other varieties. Strangely enough, I didn't have this problem last year and everything is pretty much the same. The grow station is near the window and it's about 75-78 degrees at all times. The pots are in a tray and I water from the bottom once or twice a week. I make sure the soil is not too wet, only slightly moist to the touch. I've got no fungus, no bugs, nothing else I can see that's wrong.

As compared to last year's successful seedlings, it's the
*same grow light station
*same peat pots
*same Jiffy seedling mix
*same plant varieties
*same room temperature.

What the heck am I doing wrong this year???

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

Honestly I'm not sure what to tell you since I see a number of potential problems with your set-up but you said it was successful last year.

All I can give you is some general tips on peppers and hope one of them might help

1) peppers do not like to be continuously wet, they want to dry out a bit between waterings. That will be very difficult for them to do given the ratio of soil and size of pot you are using for those itty bitty plants. The roots of young seedlings normally just cannot cope with that musch wet soil. Those pots and that much wet soil might work for a 6" tall plant but those babies are drowning. And peat pots only make the moisture control problems worse since they mislead you into watering far more often than is really needed.

2) you don't mention any fertilizers. Normally they would be too small/young to feed but was there something in the mix that could be burning the roots?

3) peppers are hot weather and hot soil plants. They thrive in 80 degree oil. Air temps have little correlation to soil temps. But given all that soil in those big pots I' would bet money on the soil temps only being something in the neighborhood of 60 degrees max.which is far to cool for growth.

Hope some of this helps.


    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 7:49PM
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Its amazing they stay alive for "months" at that size. I would toss them and start over with much smaller pots, and a coarser potting mix. My eggplant witch sprouted 3 days ago already look about like those. My peppers which were sown a month ago are at least 6" tall and bushy.

I have used Jiffy for starting seeds with great success, but when you pot them up, use something coarser, or mix in 30% pearlite. I use little 3oz (bathroom sized) plastic cups to pot the individual seedlings into after they germinate. It is just the right size for 3-4 weeks, then they can move into larger pots safely.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 8:27AM
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Koalatlady(9/10 Coastal)

hmmmm.... they are the same peat pots, but I believe you both may have hit on something. I think I used the small ones last year. I think it's time to start over! thank you!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 10:29AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I think it's time to start over! thank you!

Better yet - skip the peat pots all together. Why start out with 2 strikes against you?

Those plants can probably be saved if you will just transplant them into a much smaller container like plastic cell packs and use a good potting mix.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 12:50PM
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I sprout peppers right along with tomatoes in the little peat pellets and have no problem. I nuke the wetted peat, water once a day, give no lights, give a ton of sunlight, 75 degree underheat with high humidity, and when they are ready put them in a plastic cup with ordinary dirt from the garden (via the oven). This shouldn't work well but it does, and the only thing that stunts or kills these things are critters and lack of sun..

So, if what you're doing isn't working, then try something completely different. Pellets are 9 cents each at HD. Do you have an unused fish tank and heater?

EDIT PS: Digdirt is dead on.

This post was edited by cold_weather_is_evil on Sat, Apr 5, 14 at 18:51

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 6:49PM
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"Do you have an unused fish tank and heater? "

Sorry to hijack the thread but this intrigued me. I am new to growing from seeds and I am curious why you ask this. Is the fish tank rig good because of the heat produced by the tank light? is the tank light the sort of bulb that can be used as a grow light?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 11:34AM
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naturemitch(3/4 WI)

I hate peat containers of any sort. Either too wet or too dry. Your plants just need to be transplanted out of those containers and they should take off. Get them into smaller containers. Here are what mine looked like when we transplanted them into individual containers (20 oz. cups). . The plants were 4 weeks old at transplant. We leave them in the community container until they are big enough to go into the 20 oz. cups.

Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: transplanting peppers

This post was edited by naturemitch on Sat, Apr 12, 14 at 0:38

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 12:37AM
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Campanula UK Z8

I agree - no need to start over (and it is getting very late now) - just a transplant into a better mix and NOT those peat pot abominations.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 5:46PM
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