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Adding fertilizer once true leaves appear?

Posted by mzmalik none (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 26, 13 at 8:36

I have VERY RECENTLY just began gardening and contrast to what most might suggest, I planned my flower garden, with the flowers grown from seed. So naturally I lost MOST of my seedlings when they were very young to one factor or another. Anyhow, I have learned the two most common mistakes that are made and those which certainly I had made as well: over watering and poor light. I have taken care of the poor light by making my own fluorescent grow light and will take extra care not to overwater the next time. Related to the next time I sow seed, I just hoped someone can clear up some confusion I have:
If I make my own soil-less mix at home using 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 perlite and 1/3 vermiculite, what is the best time to start providing nutrients to the seedlings in form of diluted liquid fertilizer? When the first pair of true leaves appear? I understand that if I take this approach, I can use these 3 ingredients both as a medium to germinate seeds and potting mix? On a similar note, if I decide to use seed starting mix and potting mix separately, I don't need to add fertilizer to the potting mix, do I? (Because the Miracle-Gro potting mix says that it can feed indoor plants for up to 6 months). If you can verify or add to this, I would deeply appreciate it. Thank you.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Adding fertilizer once true leaves appear?

I would definitely transplant your seedlings into a potting mix. as soon as possible. I prefer a mix that does not hold as much water as MG. Slow draining mixes are likely to also be deficient on the amount of air in the root zone. Without enough air the roots are not able to uptake available nutrients and water. I can recommend the information on mixes to be found in the Container Growing Forums. Al

RE: Adding fertilizer once true leaves appear?

If you provide link to the forum, that would be greatly appreciated,

RE: Adding fertilizer once true leaves appear?

Hi mzmalik and welcome to GardenWeb!

Well, when it comes to when and how to fertilize seedlings, you'll probably find considerably disagreement among gardeners. Personally, I do add nutrients to my soil-less mix once the seedlings start developing their true leaves. Of course, I use a very diluted liquid fertilizer. When the seedling get large enough that I feel they should be moved to larger pots, I start using Miracle-Gro potting mix and stop adding my own fertilizer. I have always had good results using this method.

UMassAmherst has a good webpage that discusses the fertilizing of seedling and plugs. You might find it helpful (see link below).

Hope this is helpful,


PS - You can find the links to all forums using the "Forums" link at the top of this page.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fertilizing Seedlings

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