Nasturtiums in seed starting mix are REALLY leggy

McLean, VA

I started nasturtiums and other seeds in seed starter, used the jiffy containers with the pop up dics (love them!) and a heat mat. When the nasturtium grew to 3 or 4 leaves (nice and healthy), I transfered them to pots. I was out of potting soil and just used a bag of seed starter as potting soil. They are REALLY leggy now and the leaves are not as large and rebust as I remebmer them being last year when I started them in peat pots. Any ideas what to do?
I have them spaced about 6 inches apart in 8 and 10 in pots. I'm in northern VA and haven't been able to put them outside yet, but they get plenty of sun from the windows.
Good news, though, on my sweet peas...they are growing like wild fire and are still in peat pots enjoying the cool weather and waiting to be planted this weekend!


Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

They are probably stretching for the light--light through a window is not typically strong enough for seedlings plus you probably aren't getting enough hours of light there. Typically if you're starting seeds indoors you want to have a fluorescent tube light of some sort and make sure it's no more than a couple inches above the tops of the seedlings, and leave it on for 14-16 hours a day.

McLean, VA

thanks ECRANE. Should I pinch back? I thought it might be the seed strarter...Or should I repot? or start over with new seeds?

Palm Bay, FL(Zone 9b)

Hello! Good luck with your nasturtiums! How tall are they already that they're considered "leggy"? They might just be reaching for the sun if they're still little enough. Don't they get to be pretty bushy 12" tall plants eventually?


This message was edited Mar 29, 2009 7:22 PM

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I wouldn't repot or start over--just get them some more light and hopefully they won't get any leggier. I don't know if they should be pinched or not--haven't started them from seed in years so I don't remember. Some things can also be transplanted deeper than they are in the pot now--you bury the stem down to the first set of leaves and then they're not leggy anymore. Again not sure if you can do that with nasturtiums or not--some things you can but some you shouldn't. Hopefully someone who's grown them more recently than I have will know the answer, but for now I'd just work on getting them some more light and that way the problem won't get any worse.

McLean, VA

Thanks< all...

Palm Bay, FL(Zone 9b)

Hello! I think I know where you're coming from - these are my nasturtiums... and they look kinda "leggy" to me, too. Plus, I don't know if they're supposed to stand up straight, or if they're meant to kinda flop over. I've been propping them up a bit with these taped closed drinking straws.

They love to press their little leaves up on the window screen to try to get at the sun, and I rotate the box every couple of days. They seem reasonably healthy.

Did you ever repot yours to cover up the "legs"?

and,

how are your sweet peas doing? The sweet peas seeds I planted in a little peat pod greenhouse never sprouted. Did you soak your seeds or anything?

Thumbnail by Plants4myPots
McLean, VA

Plants: My sweetpeas are growing very well; climbing a little, but no flowers. I had a lot of luck getting them to sprout, but no flowers yet. I'll send pictures soon.

McLean, VA

PS - I have ONE beautiful bloom on my formerly leggy nast...I'll send a pic this weekend.

Rochester, NY

I had the same problem last year with my nasturtiums. I started trying to remember to rotate the "greenhouse" they were in every couple of days, and I ran my hand gently over them to force them to strengthen the stems. It was probably too late by the time I started doing this, but some of them did look more as I expected by the time I planted them outside. Even so, all of them - even the leggy ones - bloomed well for me. They don't like being disturbed once they are planted and I took this to mean that I should neglect them. :) They did fine anyhow. Good luck!

Palm Bay, FL(Zone 9b)

Oooh, plants must be a little "smarter" than I give 'em credit for! The one in the middle of the box has started pushing up what looks like some new stems right at dirt level. Maybe its growing out of the Leggy Baby phase...

McLean, VA

Here are my leggy nasts...I have 2 blooms and one on the way.

Thumbnail by XGAPEACH
McLean, VA

2nd nasturtium - this one was the sickliest of them all. Blooming!

Thumbnail by XGAPEACH
Palm Bay, FL(Zone 9b)

Hooray for blooms! Have you tasted your plants yet? I tasted a few of the leaves, but I think they're a little too spicy on their own, and I don't usually mix salads at home.

My plants still have promise then... and I should definitely stop pinching and propping. They might have another growth spurt soon, now that it finally stopped being cloudy and rainy for like, a week!

When you say "sickly"... did you have any problems with smaller leaves turning yellow and looking like, dead? I've had it happen to a few... is my soil staying too wet maybe? I mixed together some decent Scott's potting mix and some cheap (muddy) potting soil in my container, with ceramic tubes in the bottom to take up space and help drainage. Plus, I'm worried about the muddiness of the potting soil getting too compacted and choking the plants now...

Ogden, UT

Not sure if this is good advice, but I do it all the time and it works, when I transplant my seedlings and they are leggy, when transplanting, I push them way down into the soil (the good fluffy soil mix ) then just lightly press soil around plant to hold up, works with veggies and flowers.

And I do snip them back when they get bigger too.

BEDFORDSHIRE, United Kingdom

Being new to gardening i just threw my seeds straigt into the garden soil, now i have massive leaves, have had these for four or five weeks, but no flowers. wondering if this is how they are meant to be and will i eventually get flowers> also do these come back each year. you all seem to know much more than me.

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