How To Cure The Leggy Seedlings Problem

I am sure that all gardeners will have experienced this problem at one time or another. You plant some seeds and within a few days green shoots appear, but instead of growing into sturdy seedlings they suddenly shoot upwards and turn into weak straggly specimens. This is all about how to avoid this problem and ways that you can sometimes rescue poor seedlings if you catch them in time. The information comes from an article by Anne Gibson which I found on The Micro Gardener website.

After seeds?germinate, do your leggy seedlings look weak and straggly like this?
 

Leggy seedling stems are long and thin, but there are few or very tiny leaves.

Leggy seedling stems are long and thin, but there are few or very tiny leaves.

What Causes Leggy Seedlings?

?Leggy? seedlings typically have stretched skinny stems and look?fragile. They may be bending forward rather than growing up straight with a strong stem.
If your newly germinated seedlings look like this, it may be due to one of three common causes:

  1. Insufficient Light. This is the usual reason why leggy, tall thin seedlings develop. Young seedlings can struggle to access adequate light (from the sun, an indirect source or a heat lamp).

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If seedlings are in too much shade or a spot lacking sufficient natural or artificial light, they can grow tall too fast, trying to seek it out.

If seedlings are in too much shade or a spot lacking sufficient natural or artificial light, they can grow tall too fast, trying to seek it out.

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  1. Lack of Soil Moisture. Baby plants can grow weak, skinny stems if the seed raising mix dries out. Maybe you just forgot to water often enough! Dry soil stops the seedlings from accessing the nutrients they need to grow strong stems and leaves. They?re literally starving, poor little darlings.

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  1. High Temperatures. Heat can also cause a rapid growth spurt. This causes the stems to grow faster than the leaves. So the seedling has unbalanced growth. They look like they?re ?all legs with a tiny head?! This can occur in hot weather or indoors if the temperature is too warm.

See more at The Micro Gardener