LAST YEAR I STARTED SEEDLINGS INDOORS AND THEY BECAME VERY SPINDLY. HOW DO...

Asked February 12, 2015, 9:06 PM EST

LAST YEAR I STARTED SEEDLINGS INDOORS AND THEY BECAME VERY SPINDLY. HOW DO YOU GET THE STOCKS OF THE PLANTS TO BE STURDY LIKE YOU FIND THEM IN THE GREENHOUSES? Thanks mike

Sherburne County Minnesota starting seeds indoors

1 Response

Thank you for the question. The main reason seeds that are started indoors get thin and spindly is lack of light. I'm not sure how you grew your seedlings last year, but please read this University of Minnesota Extension publication that discusses the whole indoor seed starting process, from buying seed to setting them out in the spring: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/flowers/starting-seeds-indoors/.

Here is the paragraph from the article that addresses light requirement for seeds:
"It's much better to grow seedlings under fluorescent lights than to rely solely on natural light, even in a greenhouse. Some brands of lights are sold as "grow lights," designed to provide light in specific ranges required by plants, but standard fixtures with two "cool white" fluorescent tubes per fixture also give plants adequate light and are inexpensive. A combination of cool white and natural daylight tubes would provide good light for plants that is more appealing to people.

Hang lights from chains to ease raising them as the plants grow. Keep lights no more than 4 inches above the tops of your seedlings: as close as 2 inches is ideal. Lack of light is the major cause of elongated, skinny stems. Plants need 12 to16 hours of light daily, but don't leave the lights on continuously, as many plants need some dark period each night to develop properly. A simple timer can be part of the set-up".

Thank you for contacting Extension and good luck this year!