Seed Starting 201 - Seedling Care, Light, Transplanting, and More
Our video on Seedling Care shows how Tricia grows her seedlings with proper light and fertilizer. Then she transplants her seedlings from trays to pots, and hardens them off before planting them outdoors. Here are more tips to help you grow strong seedlings and starts.
The first pair of leaves you see are known as "seed leaves" or cotyledons. The second pair of leaves are the all-important "true leaves". Review our tips on damping off to keep that from killing your seedlings. Proper seedling care should keep damping off at bay. Once you have "true leaves" you can do all sorts of fun things like transplanting and fertilizing.
Light for seedlingsHow much light will your seedlings need? Seeds have varying needs for light during their initial germination. Some seeds like to germinate in the dark (pot marigolds, verbenas), some are indifferent to light (hollyhocks, zinnias), and most need substantial amounts of light (lettuces, petunias). Depending on what seeds you're growing you can use a south-facing window, a fluorescent lamp, or a grow light as your light supply. Artificial light sources should be turned on 16 hours a day. If possible, raise the lights gradually as the seedlings grow.
|Seedlings with adequate light are upright with straight stems.||Seedlings that don’t get enough light will be “leggy” and flop over.|