Peppers growing extremely fast, and are getting leggy

ab2008(6)February 14, 2013

Hey there. I planted some habaneros on 02/04 and sprouted within a week. As you can see they have grew tremendously fast while in a 85 degree environment so far.

I have a question however... From the photo you can see that these little guys have about outgrew themselves. What can I do to help keep them healthy? They literally grew that tall in just 1-2 days, and got them under a better light, and closer light last night.

Should I wait to see how they react to that? Or should I try to use a little seed starter mix to put around some of the longer ones to mulch it to see if it could help support them?

Thanks for any help.

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ab2008(6)

Another view. You can see where they were going to my little grow light in my mini greenhouse.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 1:19PM
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teyo(7b)

What type and how strong is your light? Take a look at a topic a few places down, diy grow box in title, you'll see a similar discussion about lights... If you moved them under a better light, again we need the specs to be able to conclude anything. Seedlings are unfortunately very sensitive to weak light, you have limited time to react if the light is inadequate. Right now i wouldn't touch them much, maybe put in a few toothpicks to support the longest ones. Their stems are very sensitive right now...

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 5:12PM
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ab2008(6)

some 6500k, 2600 lumen; T8 fluorescent lights.

4ft, 32 watt

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 5:14PM
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habjolokia

You can repot and bury them deeper, and keep the light close to keep them from reaching for light so you don't end up with leggy plants again.

Mark

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 5:43PM
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ab2008(6)

Thanks Mark.

They literally got that big in just a day or two, and it caught me by kind of a surprise. So I ended up having to make a trip to my local walmart/home depot to pick up the light I did. I have them 1-3" or so from the lights, so I'm hoping that will be a little better. I plan on purchasing another light soon or taking some long cardboard pieces from the boxes the light came in, gluing some aluminum foil to them and making my own little box around the lights to help bounce light around if I start to run out of space before I can get another light.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 5:51PM
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teyo(7b)

your lights sound okay now, just keep them close to the seedlings and you should be fine. as Mark said, burying them deeper would help, but you really need to be careful when doing it!
good luck and don't worry, they'll be ok

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 7:07AM
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cheeze2002

I have had the same results lots of times, you do have to be on top of it and checking for them to break the surface of the dirt.

Now im sure there are other thoughts on this subject but I have always found that as soon as the seeds break the soil surface and start to open you need to drop the temp right away. They will grow foliage slower with a regular light and cool temps but they are still developing a root system .

Bright light and cool temps will produce very thick green plants . Dim light and hot temps makes them leggy and pale green, in my experience .

I have one room in my house that I close all the heating vents and set my starters in there under the lights for a few weeks till I can start setting them out in the sun or in a green house.

Also on another note, I think the hardening off process is as much about the temperature change as it is being in full sun light. So if you have them at 85 degrees in the house it is going to be a long road to get them ready to be set outside.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 12:07PM
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cheeze2002

I have had the same results lots of times, you do have to be on top of it and checking for them to break the surface of the dirt.

Now im sure there are other thoughts on this subject but I have always found that as soon as the seeds break the soil surface and start to open you need to drop the temp right away. They will grow foliage slower with a regular light and cool temps but they are still developing a root system .

Bright light and cool temps will produce very thick green plants . Dim light and hot temps makes them leggy and pale green, in my experience .

I have one room in my house that I close all the heating vents and set my starters in there under the lights for a few weeks till I can start setting them out in the sun or in a green house.

Also on another note, I think the hardening off process is as much about the temperature change as it is being in full sun light. So if you have them at 85 degrees in the house it is going to be a long road to get them ready to be set outside.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 12:13PM
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ab2008(6)

Thanks for the feedback you all. They were kept at around 84-85 degrees pretty constantly, but was trying to keep them in the heat as long as I could because there were some seeds that hadn't (and still haven't) came up, but I should have more than enough plants that are up.

I went out and checked today, and they seemed to be doing a lot better. I had one or two that laid down, but was able to get it standing up again by placing a half of a popsicle stick next to it for it to kind of lean on and see if that helps.

I've also started running a fan on them as well, and overall they seem to be looking healthier today.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 12:47PM
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naturemitch(3/4 WI)

Couple of suggestions--

1. put a light over your germination area. In this way, it doesn't matter when germination occurs....seedlings will have light.

2. I don't start my seeds in cell packs. I start them in 4" pots and transfer them into their own 4" pot when they get some size on them. I taught a class last week and someone asked me 'why do I start seeds in a 'community' pot and then transfer them to individual containers'? Why not just start seeds in individual cells? You have a perfect example of why I sow the way I do.

Also, I leave the germinating pots on heat until I see a decent amount of germination, which means early seedlings might experience some bottom heat. This couple of extra days does not affect the early seedlings.

Here are some pics.

Holy Mole seedlings one day old:

Same seedlings at 7 days old:

Almost ready to be transplanted:)

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 9:45PM
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rodnebridges(7b)

+1 on cheez2002. Even though I've kept my light as close as possible, I've still had a few shoot right on up . I'm still tweaking my method of nurturing them during this stage but this is what seems to be working for me now. If they get a little leggy I bury them up to the cotyledons and keep them under the lights, as soon as they develop the true leaves I move them to the windowsill which is a bit cooler. This seems to slow them down considerably while still providing enough light for them to continue growing Hope this helps a little.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 8:58AM
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FANATIC79

Open a window or put a fan on them. You need to lower the temps. I grow mine in the basement 60-65 degrees. This helps slow their growth (leggy) and will make them stocky. At the end of the day I would rather my pepper plants be 6-8 inches and thick, then be over a foot tall and thin or leggy. When they are short and stocky they stress less. They also harden off and adjust to the elements much faster.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 10:38AM
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