Often asked: When to thin seedlings?

How big should seedlings be before thinning?

Seedlings should have at least two pairs of true leaves and be about 3 to 4 inches (7.5-9 cm.) tall before thinning. Evening hours are a good time to thin seedlings as the cooler temps and darker conditions make it easier for the remaining seedlings to bounce back from any stress they may have received.

Should I thin out my seedlings?

Seedlings started in pots usually don’t have to be thinned because you can separate them when it’s time to transplant them outdoors. However, seeds that are directly sown into the ground almost always require thinning.

What happens if you don’t Thin seedlings?

Thinning crowded seedlings ensures that your plants have plenty of room to grow. If they‘re too close together, they will eventually end up competing with each other. This means that, as they mature, their growth will be stunted.

When should I pinch off seedlings?

Once seedlings are 3 or 4 inches tall with a good supply of true leaves, I pinch them back. You can use scissors or pruning shears, but thumb and forefinger work just fine. While your seedlings are growing indoors, toughen them up by man-handling them a bit. Regularly run your hand over the tops of the little plants.

Can you replant thinned seedlings?

You‘ve planted rows of vegetable seeds, and now it’s time to thin your seedlings. And besides wasting seeds, transplanting your thinnings is another reason not to plant too closely or you won’t be able to get a spade in between the seedlings in order to dig up the ones you want to save.

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How do you thin seedlings without killing them?

Wiggle the knife as you oh so gently tug on the seedling to help loosen it. It will pull free and have a beautiful little root. Sometimes you will get more than one to come out, just gently untangle the roots from each other. If you are careful it won’t do any harm to either seedling.

Why are my seedlings so leggy?

The most common cause of legginess is an insufficient or uneven access to light. When the light source is too dim or distant, seedlings grow quickly in height to get closer to that light. As the seedling gains height, it sacrifices in girth and strength, resulting in thin, pale, fragile, stretched-out stems.

How do you transplant leggy seedlings?

If you have leggy tomato seedlings, the best way to correct them is to repot the seedlings (or transplant them) and bury the stems up to the lowest set of leaves. Not only will this fix any problems with legginess, it’s a recommended practice to strengthen tomato stems and help their roots develop more mass.

How do you transplant seedlings after germination?

Transplanting and Hardening Off



Spoon out the seedlings to avoid damaging the stem by lifting them. Use a good sterile soil again and water them well immediately. You can use any container, but peat pots and other compostable materials allow for easy insertion into the garden bed without damaging roots.

When should I transplant seedlings to bigger pots?

After 6 to 8 weeks under the grow lights, many of the seedlings need to be repotted into larger containers to ensure continued healthy growth until it’s time to move them into the garden.

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What happens when plants are planted too close together?

The Dangers Of Planting Too Close



If you plant flowers too close together, the plants get stressed and are prone to diseases, Kole says. If air can’t properly circulate and the plants can’t dry out between waterings, fungus sets in. Roots can rot. And once plants are weakened from stress, insects move in.

When should I fertilize my seedlings?

When a seed sprouts, the first set of leaves that unfold are called cotyledons. All the food that’s needed to sustain these first leaves is contained right inside the seed. But once the second set of “true” leaves appear, you should begin feeding your seedlings with a dilute fertilizer solution.

Which seedlings need pinching out?

Some of the most popular bedding plants which benefit from being pinched out are:

  • Petunias.
  • Fuchsias.
  • Dahlias.
  • Pelargoniums (geraniums)
  • Antirrhinums.
  • Marigolds.
  • Sweet peas.

What is the difference between pinching and pruning?

Pinching plants is a form of pruning that encourages branching on the plant. This means that when you pinch a plant, you are removing the main stem, forcing the plant to grow two new stems from the leaf nodes below the pinch or cut.

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