The Q&A Archives: Pansy Seedlings

Question: I planted some pansies in trays with lids about a month ago. I have kept them in the house and they are growing. My question is when do I take the lids off? And when do I pull out the weaker plants? Right now they are just one stalk with two small leaves. Also, when do I transfer them to the ground?

Answer: The lids should be removed as soon as the seeds sprout, and the plants should be placed into bright light and the soil kept moist but not soggy. Normally these would be placed in a sheltered and shaded spot outdoors and then gradually moved to a sunny location or under lights right away. If you set them outdoors now, be careful not to "sunburn" them and be sure to shelter them from wind. Once they develop true leaves (the next set after these) you can remove excess plants: some gardeners will snip them off at ground level rather than pull them because pulling can disturb the roots of the plants you want to keep. After that you may also want to give them a very dilute dose of liquid soluble fertilizer about every week or ten days. Ideally, your pansies should be just about filling the cells of a "six pack" when you plant them into the ground, but they can be set out a bit smaller if you feel confident in handling them. Good luck with your pansies!

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