Can a pot be too large for a seedling?

josko021December 8, 2009

Is there a downside to planting a few (say, pepper) seeds in a 12" pot as opposed to starting them in a flat and transplanting several times up to the 12" size? Let's assume the end goal is to grow the plant in a 12' pot.

I've read somewhere that a pot can be 'too large' for a seedling.

Thanks in advance.

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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)

So glad you asked this. It is a question I've wondered about, too. Will be watching for answers to your question.


    Bookmark   December 8, 2009 at 10:17AM
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A qualified yes.... there is extra soil to hold water & this can cause root rot... solution depay watering untill soil is damp not wet

    Bookmark   December 8, 2009 at 4:14PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

The problem is not the size of the pot but that many soils sold for potting are too moisture retentive and depend on the transpiration and evaporation to remove water from the soil. Much information is available on the container growing site to solve this problem. Al

    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 9:53AM
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As mentioned above it's usually the soil thats the problem not the container size. Seedlings have very fine roots and can easily rot if the soil holds too much water. Most seedlings can benefit from a free-draining soil. As Al said there is much information available on this topic over in the Growing in Containers forum.

Personally I grow my seedlings in very small containers then transplant them to larger containers as needed.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 3:40PM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

One would think that if a pot could be too large then any seedling that started from a seed that had fallen in the wild would be in trouble. Probably most seedlings from seeds that fall in the wild are, in fact, in trouble but some make it anyway.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 6:17PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

It is not appropriate to compare seedlings in the ground to seedling in a container. Al

    Bookmark   December 11, 2009 at 9:51AM
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Indoor-grown seedlings also have to contend with limited air circulation, which together with soil that stays damp too long (because there are few roots to take it up) promotes damping off and other diseases.

The dangers of transplanting to too large a pot can be exaggerated (especially with fast-growing plants like peppers and tomatoes), but I wouldn't try starting them out in a 12" pot unless I used a very free-draining mix and had good light and air movement.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2009 at 2:28AM
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