The Q&A Archives: Broccoli Plants Are Leggy And Frail

Question: I'm trying to start broccoli plants and they germinate but seem to be reaching for the sun and are very frail looking. What am I doing wrong?

Answer: It sounds as if they aren't getting enough sunlight, which often results in thin, leggy plants. If your seedlings are outdoors, let them get 6-8 hours of sun per day. If indoors, you might want to put them under grow lights. The important things when choosing a light source are that the bulb doesn't give off excessive heat, and that the light is as close as possible to sunlight--that is, it covers the full spectrum, containing both "cool" and "warm." (Cool and warm refers to the color spectrum, not the temperature of the lights.)

Fluorescent lights satisfy the "cool" requirement, and they are reasonably close to full sprectrum. Or you can purchase full spectrum grow lights. Because indoor lights aren't nearly as bright as sunlight, you need to be able to keep the lights 4-6 inches from the top of the plants, adjusting that as they grow. Lights should be on 16 hours a day and turned off at night. Putting them on a timer is helpful. I hope this info helps!

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