Should I pot up my seedlings?

lme5573May 11, 2014

I started my seeds March 22, 7 weeks ago. I used a 3 oz plastic solo drinking cup (I cut holes in the bottom) and my mix is small gravel and perlite. It was cold and I wanted to avoid damping off, so I used very little soil in my pots.
They are growing under lights, but not on a heat mat. In spite of rotating them daily, they continue to lean. Also, when I water them, the mix settles and exposes the roots. I will post a second picture, but it doesn't show the roots very well.
I think it's time to change my mix and repot. I am considering adding soil to my mix, along with some orchid bark. The orchid bark has some big chunks, and I will have to sift it or break it up to keep it small. I'm also not sure if I should pot up to a larger pot. I have 2.5" plastic pots. The solo cups are 2" and about the same height. Is it time to start fertilizing?
Any suggestions would be appreciated. I'll be sure to take pictures when I do repot.
Thanks for your help!
Lennie in Michigan, USA

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My seedlings are 1.5 to 2" tall, and have a second set of true leaves. This picture show how the mix is washing away from the bottom, exposing the green tap root and little horizontal roots, too. I think I need some soil added, but I'd like your opinions.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 9:21AM
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Starting in the gritty type mix is fine, but you will notice that you will need to water them a little bit more, as you probably already are.
I have had them lean as yours are and it is not necessarily due to lack of light or not rotating seedlings.

I would be tempted to leave them in the pots that they are in and top dress with a 1/8" - 1/4" layer of grit to help hold them vertical, but not too much.
If you do repot, use the gritty mix. By what you stated that you used as a mix, you need to just add some coarse bark (reptile bark is what many use).
Hope this helps,

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 11:44AM
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Thanks, Rick - I've taken your advice and top dressed with a thin layer of grit. I'll keep an eye out for reptile bark so I'll be prepared when I need to pot up to the next size. I'm glad to hear the leaning isn't due to lack of light. I'm watering every other day, since we aren't into summer temps yet they don't dry out quickly.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 3:10PM
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Yes as Rick said leave them there, I use the same cups for my seedlings with very good results, but I use them as the second size pot, I start them in a 12" diameter cointainer all together and move them to these cups when they have at least 6 true leaves, in the picture is my biggest one, and planning to leave it there in this cup some more months, it has very few leaves because of the fungus problems I had but now is very healthy ( I can't turn the pic )


    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 12:08AM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

There you go Roberto!!

Looks great!!!

Thought I'd help you.. ;-)


    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 1:06AM
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Thanks for the picture, Roberto and Laura for straightening it. It helps to see how big it can get in that size cup. I won't worry about potting up for quite awhile.
How old is this one? I can't imagine mine getting that big anytime soon.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 7:12AM
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Thanks for your help, since i got this tablet i rarely use the pc, and things like this sometimes become difficult on it

They should be from around last September or October, I give them a little ( maybe a lot ) of artificial light during the winter, some people say not to but i ve had good results
I bought last year some small plants on ebay from a name antique_trader84, they were around 8" to 10" at the moment and arrived on those size cups and the roots were all molded to the cup so they were growing there at that size

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 2:43PM
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