Tomato Seedlings Falling Over - Knowledgebase Question

Sharpsville, PA
Avatar for jreefer
Question by jreefer
March 13, 1999
We have started tomato plants from seeds. They have gotten quite tall very fast but the stems are still very skinny. They are so tall they fall over. Is this just because they have gotten so tall and cannot yet hold the weight of the leaves or is it due to too much or not enough water? We have started plants from seeds for a few years now but this hasn't happened to us before. By the way we started them in a small green house this year. Could that be the difference?

Answer from NGA
March 13, 1999
Based on your description it sounds like your tomatoes need more light and are stretching to get it. When you use a greenhouse you are subject to the vagaries of sunny and cloudy weather; if you use artificial or supplemental light then you can control that as needed to produce stocky transplants with 14 to 16 hours of good light.

Another possibility is that your seedlings are damping off a bit which is causing them to collapse. This happens when they are too crowded and need better air circulation as well as more light. Overwatering can contribute to the problem, as well.

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