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By Johnk

Tyne And Wear, United Kingdom Gb

Help! I planted flower seeds for the 1st time. Everything germinated fine and were progressing. The problem is some of them (cosmos, stock, cornflower and a few others) have become long and are falling over. I planted them in potting cells that were very small and mixed seedling compost with vermiculite. I have tried potting some on but am losing a few and the roots seem extremely fine. Am I panicking for nothing or do I need help?



Where have you got them John? If they become too warm in the early stages compared to the amount of light they are getting then young plants go leggy and damp-off. So, pot them on yes and go easy on the vermiculite now, or leave it out. Bury them a bit deeper when potting to support them and if they are in a heated area then cut down on that. Obviously no frost or even real cold yet but if they are kept under cool glass (cold greenhouse or frame) they should survive. And if you are only losing a few then don't worry. Why do you think that most seeds are sold in quantities far beyond what you need? If you have seed left and they all damp-off it is certainly not too late to start again. It happens to all of us.

21 Mar, 2012


Potting them on is the right thing to do. The roots need more room now. They need very careful handling at this stage, because, as you say, the roots are very fragile.

21 Mar, 2012


Thanks for the replys I take on board any advice offered being a complete amateur. I think you are right about the heat (Sarraceniac) as I have them on top of a underfloor heating pipe. Is this fine for the germination but move them away after that? I will move them to my newly bought greenhouse and watch with interest. Thanks again.

21 Mar, 2012


Yes John, once germinated just about everything needs less heat. I don't garden much (health) nowadays but the seedlings I have got are now all in the cold greenhouse except the tomatoes. Bit early for them yet round where we are.

21 Mar, 2012


Hi Sarracenaic,
Is it a good idea to try to support the long leggy ones somehow before putting them in the greenhouse? Should my compost be wet, moist or slightly dry? Is there any other advice you can give. (I'm keen but not very knowledgeable at the moment, hence I'm a bit frustrated in not knowing what to do next).

21 Mar, 2012


If they are large enough you can certainly stake them until they 'bush out' but if they are very leggy and large better to write them off and start again. Your compost should be kept just moist with good drainage at the bottom of the pots, or try mixing some sharp sand or fine gravel with it to help drainage. Hope this helps you, I know it can be difficult finding out the basic stuff. Everyone assumes that everyone else knows it. Lol. And for drainage when young, perlite is better than vermiculite which tends to clump and retain moisture. OK for covering the top but not so good mixed in.

21 Mar, 2012

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