The Q&A Archives: Zinnia Seedlings

Question: I am concerned that I may lose my zinnia seedlings. They only have two little leaves at the tope but have grown
to be about 4 inches tall. It is not time to plant these outdoors yet. What should I be doing to make them bushier and not so tall and is this OK?

Answer: It sounds like your seedlings need more light than they are receiving. Most gardeners find it necessary to use supplemental light such as a shop light with one warm colored bulb and one cool colored bulb, keeping the lights on for 16 hours a day and keeping the plants only about an inch from the bulbs. Also be sure to thin the seedlings so they each have enough air and soil space. Keep the soil moist but not wet, and fertilize lightly about once a week with a dilute fertilizer once they have some true leaves. Also, take the time to condition them, or accustom them gradually to the outdoors, over the course of about a week before transplanting them to the garden.

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