True Leaves vs. Seed Leaves

North Richland Hills, TX(Zone 8a)

I'm new to growing from seed & keep hearing about waiting for the first set of "true leaves" to appear before fertilizing, etc. My question is, how can you tell the difference between a true leaf and a seed leaf (which, I assume, is what first grows when the seedling first pops up out of the soil)? Maybe it will be completely obvious when I get my first "true leaves", but for now I'm at a loss...

Can anyone help explain this to me?

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

I have no idea why some seedlings do this but many do. You will be able to tell as alot of 'false' leaves usually don't resemble the natural foliage of the plant at all. If you look at the seedlings on this site you will seed quite a few false leaves. If you're unsure wait til the second set appears.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

The seed leaves are always the first set of leaves to come up out of the soil, for most plants they're very rounded looking and many plants will look almost identical at this stage. Then whatever leaves come after that first set are true leaves. The first few sets of true leaves don't always look like the plant's adult foliage, but they are still considered true leaves. (and the first set of true leaves will be pretty obvious, you won't miss it, but sometimes plants will sit there with just the seed leaves for a little while)

North Richland Hills, TX(Zone 8a)

Thanks to you both - great information! And I love the site that dahlianut posted - bookmarked for a resource!!

North Richland Hills, TX(Zone 8a)

One more question - after the true leaves have been there for a while, should I remove the seed leaves? or will these just eventually fall off on their own?

here's a pic of my hibiscus seedlings that I started 4 to a pot and just separated last night into their own containers (pic taken before separating). I had a 92% germination rate on these (11 of 12).

Thumbnail by jenepat
Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

They'll eventually fall off on their own so I'd leave them alone. Anytime you try to pull something off of a fragile seedling there's always a chance of damaging it and there's no harm in leaving them there until they fall of naturally.

North Richland Hills, TX(Zone 8a)

perfect - thanks!

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