plant seedlings taking forever

MikesurfApril 8, 2014

Planted coleus and pansies from seed. They both seem to be taking forever to grow. They aren't dying and the coleus especially "look" healthy but still small green clumps, just growing very slowly.

Do they pick up the pace a bit as they go along or is there something I should be doing to help them along...or is that just the way they grow?

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

where are they.. in a cold basement???

plants get going in summer.. as air AND SOIL temps rise ... and that is usually the problem ... when they just sit there ...

as well as light levels if you are doing this under lights...

give us some facts ... beyond being slow.. and maybe we can crystal ball it for you ... a pic might really help


    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 7:24PM
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Did you winter sow the seeds or are you growing under lights? I have zero sprouts in my winter sown containers altho' in prior years I had sprouts by the second or third week in March.

With seeds & winter sowing, it's a combination of moisture in the growing medium + hours of daylight + temperature that triggers germination. So far 2014 hasn't been particularly helpful to those of us who grow from seed--temps have remained colder than usual for longer than in previous growing seasons.

There's not much you can do to help them along--they pretty much have to just do their thing. All you can do is be patient while they do it.

I've been gardening where I am since 2006 and can't remember any two years that have even been similar when it comes to growing conditions.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 7:25PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

"but still small green clumps"

That sounds like they may need some thinning too.

All of the above is true, but also keep in mind when seedling first comes up, they seem to stall a bit until their root systems have a chance to grow. Once that is achieved, they can start growing like crazy.

But if the seeds where sown too thick, you'll probably need to pull some of the seedlings out to give the others some space to develop. Crowded plants don't do well in the long run.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 8:20PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

its sometimes easier to snip tiny babes.. rather than pull them out.. depending on your media


    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 9:03PM
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daisyincrete Z10? 905feet/275 metres

You are not alone. I am having the same trouble with my seedlings this year too.
I don't understand it. I have been sowing seeds all my life, but this year, the ones that have germinated are just not growing. They first showed up 6-8 weeks ago, but have not got any bigger. They are mainly singly sown, so it not as if they are crowded. Every day I peer at them to see if they are growing at all, but no.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 4:10AM
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Want seedlings that just sit there for a month or 2, then grow nicotiana. This is my third year growing them and they take forever.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 4:23AM
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Campanula UK Z8

seedlings do not grow steadily throughout their growth cycle - they grow in fits and starts (Like children).....and can often spend weeks in a minuscule state (lisianthus and browallia are dreadful for remaining minute seemingly forever) while others wait 2-3 weeks then romp away. In general, they will put on a growth spurt when transplanted (although again, they can stand still for a couple of weeks till they get over the transplant shock). Campanulas are also pretty notorious for staying titchy for weeks and weeks then bursting into growth. You have done the hard work (germinating them) so just sit back and let nature run it's course. As long as they are not actually yellowing, damping off, shrivelling, they will be fine - they have an innate growth speed determined by genetics as much as climate and conditions.....I have found that lights and heat have little significant difference in the time it takes for them to 'take off' and grow away......but grow away they will.
6-8 weeks is nothing - I have been waiting on some of mine since autumn, when they easily sprouted and have simply sat, for months, looking tiny (meconops, linum arboreum, eupatorium......while some are just emerging now (echies, primula wilsonii) but when they decide to put on a spurt, be ready for pricking out and potting on. Thinning, if thickly sown, is also a good idea.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 5:49AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Mine are growing at the right rate at this point and I started them late. My problem now is not having my vegetable plot ready to get them out there. It's always something. But the thought I had, was if you have seedlings that you are having to tend to indoors a long time, I'd recommend using a fan of some kind to keep the air moving and reduce any risk of getting any health issues and to make the stems sturdier. It's always made a big difference for me. Not in growth rate, but in helping them stay healthy and get stronger.

And here in zone 6a, we've had a few days to get them outdoors already and I've been moving them in and out. So when I ever get the vegetable plot ready to go, the plants will be ready to go in the ground.

Oh..and who fertilizes their seedlings? I have some fish/seaweed emulsion that I sometimes use. Isn't that worthwhile for a little shot of energy to the plant?

This post was edited by prairiemoon2 on Wed, Apr 9, 14 at 7:25

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 7:22AM
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