The Q&A Archives: Reasons for Purple Seedlings

Question: When starting seedlings under fluorescent lights, I find that the plant stems turn bright purple. Is this harmful? How can it be avoided? (Note: seedlings include: zinnia, sunflower, ice plants and others.)

Answer: Crew Pittsburgh, PA A.Bright purple can be a sign of phosphorous deficiency in the soil, but if the transplants are young, that's probably not the case. Keep them well watered and fertilized lightly with a complete fertilzier such as Miracle Gro and they should be fine. Purple stems are also natural on many young seedlings such as tomatoes.

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