Lighting and seedlings

Sugarland, TX(Zone 9a)

I returned from California with some Cal. Poppy seeds. They sprouted well but are now trailing - they seem to look like a vine. Most are in good health after 30 days - watering is a challenge as they seem very delicate. I am using a grow lamp with about 25 watts - 3 to 4 inches from seedlings - I think that is about 250 Lumens at best.
Any advice you can give to grow robust seedlings during winter months in Houston will be appreciated.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Normally tall thin and drooping over seedlings are the result of too little light, I don't know your temp / zone however, now the seeds have germinated, I would gradually try place then outdoors only for an hour or so to begin with, natural light is better for plants that grow-lights at certain times of year and depending on the type of seed, Poppies are easy plants to germinate normally and I would think you have brought the seedlings on far to fast and they are reaching up for desperate for day-light.
Maybe prick the seedlings off now too, place them into either trays of compost or individual pot's and grow them on gradually giving more daylight as they mature.
ALL Poppies have very slender delicate stems, they are never grown for picking to place in vases due to their tenderness and the flowers of all only last a day after opening so you have to take this into account when you want to grow the seeds, I like to germinate around Feb as the longer you keep them in doors, you get the results you have experiences, there is still plenty time to try germinate more seeds IF you loose the ones you have due to them collapsing and week.
Hope this helps you out a bit.
Best Regards, WeeNel.

Sugarland, TX(Zone 9a)

WeeNel thanks for your help. Wow all the way from UK. I am in Houston and the zone is 9a - we freeze every once in a while. Yes I have enough time and I am experimenting and trying out and learning. I will try your suggestions. Do you plant directly in soil or containers eventually? Cheers :))

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Real happy to hear your interested in becoming a hobby gardener, good luck and stick with the Dave's Garden site, there are members from all over the world on here and all will be happy to help and encourage you along the route to growing your own plants or how to take cuttings and many other gardening queries we all have when just starting out.

Here in Scotland we have a very short season MOST years however, this summer was a scorcher for us and it sure made for some lovely gardens being on display, I've gardened since I was a child at my Dad's side (a war Baby)LOL, W11, so we had to learn how to grow as much of our own food as possible and that set me off on my gardening hobby from when I became adult and had a plot of land to call my own, never tire of it and believe me, after around 50 Years, I still learn new skills each year so don't even think gardeners know everything Ha, ha, ha, we are all learning as we grow.
I try to stick to the Organic way and shun Chemicals BUT, there are some folks who just have to resort to using them as nothing else has worked, I cant imagine a season passing without having my hands in soil / compost that I make all year round from house / garden waste, as do most of my gardening friends, but again, I have to resort to purchasing bags of compost for my seeds as I stay away from using garden soil or old compost that has been in pots used for something else, by buying compost that has been properly sterilised or composted to an exact heat, then there is less chance of diseases setting into the seedlings BUT not always the case.

Yes I do grow most veg and Annuals from seed in-doors and as our winters are cold, wet, windy and un-predictable, I have a greenhouse that is wired up for electric, so I plug in my large heated propagator BUT don't use lights for the seedlings to germinate, I like to believe nature knows best and when some of my friends use their grow lights, there seedlings are only a few weeks ahead of mine that have grown without extra lights, mine soon catch up as the season goes on.
I have to on occasions resort to using a heater at night IF the temp will fall below freesing for a few nights, 2-3 nights is not too bad but longer and all my plants begin to suffer as I store them in pots after lifting them end of summer, Bulbs, tree's and Shrubs are left in situ all year round as they have to earn there place in my Large garden, selecting types that suit my situation is paramount but there are some types that with help and protection from real cold winters make for interesting gardening and as I've said, you learn as you are, by doing the trials and asking questions.

Hope this gives you some insite into other peoples gardening woes and tribulations and I'm sure you will find some of your own.
Just remember gardening is meant to be fun, enjoyable and you wont get put in front of a firing squad if you have a few failures, you learn from them as you go. Be realistic about your knowledge as it takes a while to understand your environment, your soil, temps and most importantly, how much time you have to dedicate to learning and caring for plants, the more land you cultivate, the more time it takes to care for it and the higher that can cost.
take your time and enjoy, don't hesitate to ask questions, there is no such thing as a silly question it's a thought that requires an answer.
Best Regards.

Andrews, TX(Zone 8a)

I always learn so much from reading your responses! Thanks WeeNel!


Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Just back on line again after storms, power cuts, and fitting new kitchen, must be mad doing that at this time of year LOL.
Anyway Kiley, always happy to help if I can, glad your going to join us gardeners who become fully engrossed in our little ? large patch we gall a garden .
Enjoy, have a wonderful Christmas and remember there are a lot of tools, books garden gift vouchers that ALL gardeners love for Christmas gifts LOL.

Best regards, WeeNel.

Sugarland, TX(Zone 9a)

Was traveling and caught up in bad weather. I am now setting up some lights and will transfer to them and see what happens. All your observations are accurate.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Jamper, so glad you made it home again safely after the bad weather, think it's going world wide LOL, let's know how you get on with the lights and what plants your growing when using this method.
Good luck and have a great festive season.

Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

Perennial plants started indoors require 16 hours of grow lights placed 2" over top of leaves.

I start daylily seeds during the winter and that is how I grow them, and anything else.

Thumbnail by blomma
Sugarland, TX(Zone 9a)

Blooms - Lumens matter a lot also. FE. 2 good tubes will out around 3400 Lumens. 2 small desk tubes will barely output 600 Lumens.

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