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How to STOP leggy seedlings?

Oct 01,2021 | Cassandra Low

Credits: Veg Plotting 

Have you dealt with leggy seedlings in your gardening journey? If your new sprouts are thin, long and spindly, they are leggy seedlings!

What causes Leggy Seedlings?

Leggy seedlings often begin indoors due to a lack of sunlight. These seedlings can usually be seen growing towards the light.  However, as the source of light is usually too far away from the seedling, it will try to accelerate its height to get closer to light in order to survive. In some cases, leggy seedlings exist due to overcrowding. Inadequate plant spacing will cause these seedlings to try to grow taller and taller as they compete with each other for light. This results in an increase in height but a decrease in the width of steam. Therefore, gardeners get long spindly seedlings. 

How to prevent Leggy Seedlings?

1. Provide sufficient light 
Grow your seedlings near a window so that they get the best light from the sun. If you are growing your seedlings indoors, place them under fluorescent light. This ensures that light is close enough to the seedlings and that they are able to grow taller.   
Credits: UGAOO


2. Ensure proper room temperature 
Most seedlings thrive best at high 18°C to 21°C during the day and a low of 12.8°C to 15.5°C at night. It is important to ensure that the environment is not too hot and humid for the seedling. A tip is to move your seedling away from direct sunlight within a couple days of sprouting.


3. Brush seedlings and circulate a fan near them
Brushing and circulating a fan near your seedlings creates a motion that simulates an outdoor breeze, tricking the seedlings into thinking that they have to grow thicker stems to withstand stronger environmental conditions. When doing so, do keep a lookout for your seedlings to ensure that they do not dry out quickly.


Credits: Garden Betty

4. Ensuring proper spacing between seedlings 


When seedlings are planted too close together, they are in high competition for moisture, soil nutrients and sunlight. To promote healthy plants, observe spacing between each seedling. This also makes  them less vulnerable to pests and diseases. 

Leggy seedlings are common! Follow these pointers above to fix your leggy seedlings and get them back to be stronger and healthier than before. Happy growing seedlings! :-)