The Q&A Archives: Stringy Pansey Shoots

Question: While out of town for a day and a half, my Pansy seedlings shot up 2 inches to the plastic dome after only 8 days. Long and spindly with two small leaves at the top they don't look very good to me but this is my first seed planting attempt. They are now 12" under grow lights for 16 hours per day at 72 degrees in water trays. Should I worry, take them out of the water trays, or just sit back and wait to transplant them. I can move them to a cooler area if that would help.<br><br>

Answer: As you can see, once seeds get going, they can really take off! First of all, get those lights down to within an inch or two of the tops of the seedlings. If you leave them 12" above the tips, the seedlings will continue to stretch toward the light and become even leggier. If you drop the lights now, the plants should recover and become strong and stocky. (In the future, if possible, put the pots under lights as soon as you see the first seedling appears.)<br><br>Continue to water the seedlings from the bottom. Don't leave them sitting in water all the time, but instead add water when the soil surface in the pots appears slightly dry. The conditions you describe should be fine--72 might be a little warm so if you have a cooler spot--say 65F--thatmight be better. <br><br>Thin the seedlings down to the two or three strongest per cell. You can transplant the others to new pots, or simply snip off the extras. Once they've grown a bit more, you'll want to thin them to one per cell, so it willhave plenty of room. Wait to transplant them outdoors until you have nice, stocky, sturdy little seedlings.<br><br>In a week or so, you can start feeding with a dilute (half-strength) completer fertilizer about once a week. Good Luck!<br>

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