Hi, a question for us over in Mid Atlantic forum. Two of us seem to recall reading that you can transplant your seedlings deeply, up to the first true leaves, when you move them, especially if they have gotten leggy. Is this a true general rule? Thanks
I am referring to tiny , annual or perennial , seedlings when you first move them up.
from America's Garden Book, my hort 101 book- "Most seedling plants should be set a little deeper than they were when growing in the seed flat. In the case of very spindly plants...set them quite deeply" Do not cover the crown.
My Rodale Organic Gardening book didn't specify.
Thanks, G and g, and still looking for more opinions on this.
I don't know about tomatoes but I would not feel comfortable setting any of the herbaceous perennials or woodies that I started from seed a little deeper when planting out. Something about this doesn't sit well with me. Has anyone ever tried this? Wouldn't Ma Nature take care of the "spindliness (sp?)" once the seedling was transplanted outside into an appropriate area? Eesh, you got me thinking about this. My thoughts are that I'd lose my seedlings to stem rots of some sort. I mostly germinate indigenous species. I wonder if this might apply to annuals somehow?
When I first transplant seedlings into 4 inch pots from their "germination station", I generally plant them slightly deeper than they were growing in the flats. This is especially true if the seed has germinated close to the surface of the soil and has roots that are actually at the surface. I believe your reference is talking about this first transplanting only, not moving them into the garden. I also transplant them a little bit deeper when they are a bit leggy, but really this would indicate lighting conditions that are not optimal so that would need to be corrected anyway. I have never tried planting them all the way up to their first set of leaves, though. To be honest, I just go with my gut feeling about it and make it 'look right' in the pot. My intuition has not failed me on this. I have never lost any to 'damping off' if I've got them to this stage, but I do tend to water with H2O2 water. Planting them a bit deeper does not appear to cause damping off for me, although I've lost plenty just after germination to that problem.
You could always do an experiment by planting half of your seedlings deeper, and the other half exactly the same depth they grew in the nursery flat. Then report your results here!
Just about all of my seedlings once they reach their first true set of leaves, get planted deeper up to their leaves. This allows them to establish new roots and deeper roots. It will not affect the plant. I grow dahlias, ziinas, petunias, geraniums, and many other plants all from seed. They all get planted deeper once they get transplanted.
Uh uh, no way. Too chicken. I get the heevie jeevies just thinking about planting any of my babies up to their itty bitty first true leaves. That's sort of like bronzing baby shoes with your kid's feet still in them or something. Maybe I'd experiment if I was growing a plant in the Solanaceae family but I don't grow any of those from seed.
You do it first and report back! Now don't cheat! Sink them all the way up to the first true leaves and try them on something perennial. No fair using a tomato.
I always plant my seedlings deeper than what they were germing as. I have had no problems for years. I transplant them when they have only 2 leaves and are about 1/4-1/2" tall. I find that the early stage is easier to pull out of the soil with less roots. They grow just fine from then on. Just keep them misted.
I sink all my seedlings down so that the first set of leaves (cotylon) are touching the dirt. In fact I have some zinnia seedlings that we have to do soon that have stems of about 2" and they will get sunk down that far. Its better for the plant, and no, there is no stem rot from it. These are all annuals and perennials that I am talking about.
Once my seeds have germinated-I stop all misting, and just keep the soil moist. Seedlings don't need misting-that actually can encourage a fungus. I also let the soil start to dry out some to encourage root growth as roots grow better in dryer soil than wet soil. Also, I water in the am and let the soil stay dryer at night as that is when the roots grow and they need oxygen to grow and water displaces oxygen-so-the dryer the soil is, to a point, the better the roots grow.
I usually transplant the seedlings when the first set of true leaves are emerging-but I have done it later, you just have to be careful pulling the seedlings apart as the roots are more extensive then.
Hmmm, "I grow dahlias, ziinas, petunias, geraniums, and many other plants all from seed". Now that Ironsides mentioned geraniums, I seem to remember something about this for geranium seedlings. Tigger is growing all annuals. I'm sold on annuals being sunk down to at least the cotyledon because you all have done it and it's standard practice. I don't grow annuals though. Just native perennials and shrubs & trees. For the native tree and shrub seedlings, I really would still be hesitant and I don't think I'd even try it unless I had so much extra seed that I could afford to sacrifice some if my experiment went south. I usually only have say 10 acorns or less of an oak to work with and transplanting them the way I have has always yielded good results. I'm not so sure any more about native perennials what with everyone's comments about their annuals. Has anyone specifically done this to perennials and if so why and what were the perceived benefits?
Sally, I read that, too and did it with the things I have grown inside this year -- petunias, primulas, alonsoa meridionalis, impatiens, fibrous-rooted begonias and maybe something else, I can't recall. They are doing great and I am going to plant more deeply on the first prick from now on.
Perceived benefits are straighter, stockier seedlings that can hold their own weight better, both when really small and as they get bigger. Not sure of anything else.
That'll teach ya for going without your caffeine fix because I know you know how to spell that word!
Illoquin, those are all annuals. I now understand what the perceived and ultimately realized benefits are for sinking annuals lower and I would do it myself if I was germinating annuals based on what I've learned here but I'm not getting it for woodies. I still think I'd be dealing with stem rots on those and could conceivably be at risk of losing an otherwise healthy seedling.
I grow mostly trees, shrubs, and tropicals and I plant them to about the same depth as they were in the starter pot. Maybe they end up a teensy bit deeper than they were, but I don't purposely plant them deeper. And since I usually start with 4-5 seeds of the plant I want and only 1-2 germinate, I'm not going to take any chances either!
If I'm starting seeds in a little tray and then transplanting seedlings to starter pots when they have a set or two of true leaves, then I set them deeper than they were growing in the seedling tray, up to the cotyledons if possible... I do this for tomatoes, peppers, perennial salvias, torenia... pretty much everything... but other than Hibiscus syriacus, I haven't started shrubs or trees from seed.
If I'm transplanting a seedling from its starter pot out into the garden, I set it so it's at the same level that it was growing in the starter pot... if there seem to be lots of little surface roots, I might set it just a bit deeper, but not by much.
Tom DeBaggio favors clump transplanting for many herbs, and encourages setting the seedlings lower than they were growing in the seed starting tray... I described his method here, http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/589725/
20-some odd years ago in college greenhouse production class, we were taught to transplant seedlings up to the cotyledons. This, of course was geared toward bedding plant production-mostly annuals. As said above, it totally depends on the species of plant. Many bulb plants from seed need to be allowed to pull themselves down into the soil naturally with contractile roots. I would'nt chance it with woodies either. Good and interesting thread :)
thanks geminisage- that would seem to be the standard then for annuals.
thanks critterologist- for the link and your details on seed starting in it.
I put a question on the perennials forum now to try and get that final question answered, whether it's done with perennials.
Really I think that, too, is going to be determined on a case by case basis. If you consider the seedlings of digitalis, primula, and other rosette shaped plants, you would clearly see that they cannot be planted more deeply without covering the crown of the plant - an obvious no-no. Likewise, I just potted up some Echium seedlings of various types and they, too, were planted out in their new pots exactly how they had been in the seed tray. On the other hand, I have just potted up some little seedlings from seeds I gathered from a tree in California, and I put them in a bit deeper than they were originally. Maybe it has to do with there being a central stalk that isn't yet woody.
That makes sense, Pixy... I've done the clump transplanting with little dianthus seedlings, setting them lower in their new pots, and it's worked great... but I agree that I wouldn't cover an obvious crown.
I tried starting some lettuce in starter trays. They seem so soft and floppy. I did transplant them into larger containers, sinking them deeper as to strengthen the stems. So far, it's been almost a week and they are all still alive, although the jury is still out as to wether it did any good to do this. They still look pretty fragile and soft.
When transplanting from seedling to pot, do I use regular potting soil or stay with the growing medium?
And do I still use my grow lights?
Is a 3'' pot the best to use or can they be put into larger pots? If they are put into 2 or 3" pots, will I be repotting them again before they go in the garden?
I transplant them into general purpose medium, usually in 3-4" pots. I don't plan to transplant again, but they may get rootbound and require frequent watering which is pretty typical of bedding plants. I don't like to use a very big pot, especially upon transplanting, because they stay wet too long which invites fungi. Some fast growing plants can take it, but I like to err on the side of caution. I keep them under the lights till I start hardening them off.
It seems like a number of your move your seedlings from the seed starting tray to a starter pot and THEN into the garden. Is it okay to move seedlings directly into the garden? I don't think I will have enough room to add the second step! What do I need to be careful of if I move them directly to the garden, aside from the obvious like "don't let the dog trample them!" Thanks!
The reason I do it my way(group of seeds into 2 inch pot, then individuals into sixpacks) is to save space at the beginning, and avoid duds in the six pack. But some things in the 2 inch pot, grow so fast, would be way overcrowded unless moved. Other things are slower or smaller. My concern with alot of plants in one pot is crowding and growing together tightly and competition.
I would expect you may have a little struggle separating some of the plants, and you might lose a few trying to rip them apart. Otherwise I don't think it's a big problem.
From Practical Science for Gardeners by Mary Pratt:
"... plants grow only at defined 'growing points' called meristems... Meristems occur at the very tips of leading shoots, in the tips of lateral buds and at the tips of roots. There are also meristems inside stems and roots and at intervals up stems..."
" It's not commonly realized that plant tissues go through a definite transition from childhood to adulthood. After a plant has reached a certain size a change occurs at the growing points and physically different adult tissue is produced."
If plant tissue in seedlings is adaptable, might it produce roots on what was formerly a stem? Unfortunately I couldn't find an exact answer to that question in this book but the author is very knowledgeable provides a lot of useful information and other interesting stuff.
Dirttiger, there are a number of things you should do before planting your new seedlings. Hardening off is first: get your seedlings used to outside temps. Check for pests and protect young plants: depending upon what you plant and the area you live in. (Hint: slugs love some types of seedlings.)
I just wanted to clarify that I am speaking of veggie plants...if there is another anwer to my question.
I my herb book it says to put seedlings into 3" pots with the starter medium, not potting soil. ????
Not sure about your herb book, Ping, but in DeBaggio's book he recommends potting up with any good potting mix (that's a soil-less mix, based on peat or coconut fiber -- it's not the same as potting soil, which generally doesn't drain well enough for use in pots and containers).
I like Pro Mix, personally... just picked up another 2 bales of it today!
Hi critter...I think we just said the same thing. My book recommended "starter mix" not potting "soil".
I have Ferry Morse Seed Starter Mix and I have Garden Expert Perfect Mix. Which should I use?
And which should I use for cuttings?
Thanks critter for your advice!
Sorry, your confusion "???" seemed to be about the use of the term "potting soil" as opposed to a soil-less mix. It seems likely that "starter medium" would refer to a peat type mix, but I'm not sure, so I just referenced DeBaggio instead. He's my guru, especially when it comes to growing herbs!
I'm not familiar with either of those mixes, but any well-draining mix should work fine... most have perlite and/or vemiculite added to improve drainage, and I often add extra perlite depending on what I'm doing. I like finer mixes for starting seeds, but coarser mixes (which Miracle Gro seems to be in the last couple of years) are great for larger containers and probably fine for rooting cuttings also.
Ok...now I get it. So, I 'm going to use the Ferry Morse Seed Starter Mix for my germination because it's a finer mix than the Garden Expert Perfect Mix, which I will use for the transfer of seedlings to a pot, as well as my cuttings.
You guys are awesome...always here when I need you!
This is a great thread for a newbie like myself, thanks so much everyone. I have a question that is similar to some of the above. I cheated a little and placed my seeds with a moist paper towel in a plastic baggie. Then I placed the baggie on a heating pad and covered with a towel. This allowed me to see what seeds germinated. I then transplanted into a flat with seed starting mix. There are 72 spaces per flat. Sorry I can't rememebr the size. I am assuming that I need to transplant to a larger pot. But what size?
Germinated and growing:
Also you recommend starting some slower growing perrenials now and then planting out in the fall for my zone 5?
Sounds like a great start. I would put one or two of your sprouted seeds in each compartment. (two, if you want to help ensure that you have at least one nice plant per cell, but one's fine , not too likely it wouldn't do well.) Your listed plants, I would expect to be fine there until time for the gasrden, no need to pot up from there.
Picture shows some of my seeds started en masse in small pot, and some have been divided into six packs.
I'll defer to someone else on the perennial question.
I transplant tomato and pepper seedlings when they get their first true leaves, and I put them into deep cell packs (36 to a flat) that are about the same as a 2 inch pot. Peppers get an 8-10 week head start, and tomatoes get a 6-8 week start... There's a great thread on Carolyn's method of starting tomatoes from seed, look for a link in the resource sticky thread at the top of the tomato forum.
Your marigolds etc. might be OK in the 72 cell flats, although they'll be a bit rootbound by planting-out time, and you might end up needing to up-pot them. I generally start flowers 6-8 weeks ahead and put them into 48 cell flats... but I know some folks who use the 72 cell ones to save space, and it seems to work out fine for them.
Sally, Your cells look like 36s -- nice size, BTW, where'd you get them? and Cabriamos says s/he has 72s -- those are the really little ones. 72 cells per 10" x 20" flat.
Cabriamos, So much depends on when you put them out and how big they are now, but I would put them all into something bigger as soon as they outgrow the cells, unless the Marigold is a little dwarf variety, in which case it could probably stay in the little cells. I would say you recognize them outgrowing their cells when the foliage of one plant is rubbing against another and when the cells just look too little for the plants. Just gently squeeze the bottom of the cell and remove a plant to see what those roots are doing...if you see roots all up and down the plug, then you decide if it's time to replant into something bigger or put them outside.
Tomatoes would appreciate being planted way deep when you transplant. They make a 4" pot that is about 6" deep, and fits a flat-size tray, but I'm not real sure where you'd buy one flat/set. I have one from somewhere, so I know they are available, I just can't recall where it came from.
The only Snow in Summer I know is this one: http://davesgarden.com/pf/go/728. As soon as it fills the cell, it can get planted out and I don't think you need to move it to another pot unless you want to baby it.
In general, you want to keep those roots growing, letting them just hit the pot walls, and then upgrade them to more deluxe accomodations. Keep in mind that you do not want to do more damage to them while checking them for root development than they'd have being squeezed into a teny tiny cell. ! LOL!
On the Perennials -- it depends, mostly on what kinds they are. If you want to list them, I'm sure somebody on here will have grown them before and can assist, because there are a lot of variables. As a general rule, yes, start them now, but only if you are prepared to water them June-Aug or even Sept. Please remember that smaller pots dry out much, much faster than bigger ones, and get them moved into bigger pots as soon as feasible. Daily watering when temps are in the high 80s and 90s and there hasn't been rain for a week will definitely be required, and you'll need a nice spray wand. If you are in town with some trees and shelter they won't need an overhead screen or sun shade, but if you are in a very open situation, they might need some overhead shade, too.
I did a boatload of perennials by Wintersowing this year. I had never done it before but I kept getting seeds in swaps, so I planted them. I will either have so many plants I won't know what to do with them or I will barely eek by with one of everything -- not sure, but the rainy forecast is making me wonder if it will work!
edited - Criter I was writing this when you wrote & sent your reply and didn't see it until I posted.
Suzy, I think you're probably right about the 72 cell inserts being too cramped... I've only used them to start little plugs of lettuce or chard, not for anything I was going to grow on for more than 2-4 weeks.
Everyone has different ways of doing things, but Carolyn's methods work great for me... and she recommends only transplanting tomato seedlings once before planting them out... she uses 2 inch pots for them, which is good to know if space under lights is limited.
Suzy is more experienced/knowledgeable than me, I can tell. Listen to her! I wasn't paying attention to the size of cells- 72 would be pretty small. Mine are 48's, I believe; each section is 1 1/2 by2 1/2 and eight packs fit in a tray. I got them from my shed : ^) where they were left after I planted fall pansies, and I did disinfect them.
I have two things, nicotiana and tithonia, which are growing like MAD and overlapping their edges, but pansies are OK so far. It does come down to if it fits, likeSuzy said.
I new here, and my first language is danish. Right now I'm translating a report to english, but don't know the right word for when a seed is sprouting. I need to know if you know what I mean when I write 'root sprout', and shat do you call the sprout that goes upward and break the soil-surface? In danish we do say the upward going sprout has a neck. Do you use that term?
seed is sprouting = germinating
seed has sprouted = germinated
verb, -nat·ed, -nat·ing.
–verb (used without object)
1. to begin to grow or develop.
a. to develop into a plant or individual, as a seed, spore, or bulb.
b. to put forth shoots; sprout; pullulate.
3. to come into existence; begin.
–verb (used with object)
4. to cause to develop; produce.
5. to cause to come into existence; create.
I planted my seeds in miracle grow potting soil. Did I really mess up or do you think it will be okay?
I swear, I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have you guys. I know you get sick of seeing my name. "There she is again!!)
I just have so many questions, I really want to grow everything and not buy plants. I will be so proud if it works.
That is , if the Miracle Grow doesn't ruin them
Lorraine...I too am new at growing from seed..Although MG is good, after some issues I had last year I thought I would try with a true "starter" mix because it's lighter. My seeds are germinating much faster this year, the bag I bought at Lowes for the starter mix is made by Ferris Morse and was about $3.50 a bag, each bag started two full trays (72 plants each) I have 8 trays started now and the first 3 I did on 1-11 I have pics up on my blog if you click on my name you can find them and within the first few days I had several germinating, now 10 days later I am going to have to get ready to pot up my cardinal vines, zinnias, asters, centaurea and others...One thing I have done differently this year is misting the plants instead of watering them and this seemed to really do the trick with helping me not to over hydrate...my hand is about as heavy as my lead foot! LOL Today was the first day I truly watered them since starting them and like I said earlier I am going to pot up 3 trays tomorrow...I hope this info helps, I might not know much but what I do know I would love to share so feel free to dmail if you have any other questions!