The Q&A Archives: Too Late To Use Grow Light?

Question: About three weeks ago I planted forget me nots, impatiens and other annuals in a dome type starter. All of the seeds sprouted and began growing towards the window, and have gotten very leggy. Most are laying down at this point. Is it too late to introduce a grow light to get these plants heathy and stout? Or should I begin a new batch from scratch?

Answer: It might be too late to salvage your seedlings, but you can certainly try. Keep the light source about 4" above the tops of the plants, and leave it on 14-16 hours each day. You should be able to tell within a week whether your seedlings will straighten up and become sturdy. If not, it won't be too late to start another batch of seeds. Light is as important as water to newly emerging sprouts. Seeds have just enough energy to break the soil surface, grow a stem and a couple of leaves. After that they rely upon the process of photosynthesis to manufacture food from light. If light is inadequate they will grow thin and weak trying to reach it. If light is readily available, the seedlings will settle down and develop roots and sturdy stems.

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