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Plant Problems: Leggy Plants, Spindly Seedlings

You're all excited. Your seedlings sprouted and are growing long and tall. The trouble is, the stems are thin and can't support the young plant.

What is a new gardener to do?

The condition is called "Leggy Plants". It is one of the more correctable problems a gardener faces.

The Symptoms:

The stems of seedlings are long and thin.

The stem is so thin.... leggy, that it can not support the seedling plant, and it is drooping over.

Your seedlings look pale, lacking the lush green appearance.

The Causes of  Leggy Plants:

Your young plants are not getting enough sunlight. Most plants that you start indoors require full sun... all day long.

Even if you have your plants at or near a sunny window, they are likely not getting enough light.

The Remedies:

The cure for leggy plants is clear... provide more light to your plants.

If you are home during the day, you can be a "sun chaser". Move your seedling trays from one window to the next, capturing morning sun in east facing windows, and afternoon sun from the west. Even this may not be enough.

If the weather is warm during the day, move your seedling trays outdoors. Just remember to move them back indoors as the sun goes down.

We recommend a grow light for all indoor seedlings. Position the light about 6 inches from the tops of the seedlings. Turn on the light at night and off in the morning.  Put your seedlings in a sunny window during the daytime.

An outdoor coldframe is a great place to provide more sunlight to your seedlings.

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