Seedling sprouts with Seed still attached?

kclostFebruary 14, 2014

I bet all of us have seen this before, but I have noticed it on two of my varieties more than others. Both my Reapers and 7-pots have a tendency to sprout up with the first set of leaves still inside the seed. Sometimes they pop out ok, but most of the time they don't and I try to perform surgery on the seedling to get the leaves out. Only about half the time am I successful, without breaking the leaves off and killing the thing. lol....

Not every seedling does this, but it sure is frustrating when it does especially with a limited amount of those seeds. Is there something I can do to reduce this?

This post was edited by kclost on Fri, Feb 14, 14 at 15:19

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jutsFL(9b (Orlando))

I had the problem too with a few of mine. Most everything I saw on here said to plant them a little deeper to help them out. I tried it, and it did help a little, but didn't solve the issue completely. The ole Fiskars are my only tried and true solution :)

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 3:26PM
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woohooman

A spray bottle works well. If the spray doesn't knock the casing off, it at least softens it enough to work some tweezers more easily.

Kevin

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 4:34PM
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woohooman

Double post

This post was edited by woohooman on Fri, Feb 14, 14 at 18:24

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 4:36PM
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kclost

"Also, giving the seeds a good 24 hour soak in warm water before sowing helps."

I didn't soak them in warm water but I did use the paper towel method with a heat mat. is that basically the same thing?

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 4:44PM
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ottawapepper

Helmet heads happen now and then. It can happen if, as jutsFL said, you don't sink your seeds deep enough (I shoot for 1/4 inch). The action of the sprout pulling itself out of it's starter medium loosens the seed shell. Then again, sometimes even if you sink your seeds deep enough, you'll get stubborn shells.

There are 3 things you can try:

1) leave them be (my approach). In my experience the seedling will work it out. I don't have any shots but it's not uncommon to see the seed shell still attached to the tips of fully grown seed leaves.

2) use a mister and mist the seed shell a few times a day to soften it up... the seed leaves will have an easier time getting rid of softer shells. May or may not work.

3) if the situation is keeping you up at night and, you're a gambler and, you think you can beat the odds and not kill the seedling you can either very gently (STRESSING very gently) pinch the shell with some tweezers to crack it or nick the side if the shell.
I DO NOT recommend this approach!

Bill

This post was edited by ottawapepper on Fri, Feb 14, 14 at 17:03

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 4:47PM
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obchili

Thank you for the advice. I too have a very common thing of this happening and did not know why. Now I know.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 6:02PM
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esox07

Well, I didn't (never do) soak my seed first and I usually plant them only about 1/8th inch deep, maybe 3/16ths. I didn't have any helmet heads this year. Last year I remember having several and if I remember correctly, they were almost all on one variety. I cannot recall which those were now. I think it has more to do with the variety but the soaking and spraying along with slightly deeper planting may help as well. A difference this year from last is the type of soil that I am using. I used Fafard52 last year but used Miracle Grow Seed Starting mix this year....not sure if that has something to do with it.
Bruce

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 6:28PM
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woohooman

kclost: kinda, kinda not. Even when I use the paper towel method, I still give at least an overnight soak. I also scuff them up by putting a piece of sandpaper in a pill bottle and shaking the seeds for 20 secs or so. It's particularly helpful on not so fresh seeds. Like 2 years and older.

Like Ottawa said, the tweezer surgery can be tricky. That's why I mist it first. Sometimes I just mist it a few times one day, and the next day you can just flick it off.

Kevin

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 6:33PM
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kclost

Awesome information.... Learning. Have a photo of progress. Just have a few more spots left.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 8:36PM
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jutsFL(9b (Orlando))

Some fine looking prospectives you have goin there, wish my ole lady would let me get away with that many...

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 8:41PM
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esox07

Kclost: You have plenty of room. Just add another tray of 72 cells and another shop light and go for it. You have a great looking start.
Bruce

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 8:59PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

The incident of seed skin hanging on, happens with all kind of seeds ; onions, squash, tomato (to name just a few)
I think the reason for it is that the skin in not moistened enough and the seed is not buried deep enough. But the leaves eventually should manage to get out of it.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 5:37AM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

I had several instances of HH last year and set later sprouts somewhat deeper - as deep as 1/2" - and that helped a lot. (I also soak.)

BUT, the fact that the helmet can stifle the cotyledons DOES NOT mean that the plant is killed. Evidence: Immortal Beloved, my bhut jolokia, had snuffed cots, was later eaten by a fierce cat cow, yet grew into a massive ghost pod producer.

All you need is hope, patience, some magic dust, and a seed from an immortal pepper. Cow not recommended.

Dennis

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 4:12PM
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rdback(Z6 VA)

I follow Bill's advice (above) as well.

Rick

Avoid temptation - Let 'em be!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 12:10PM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

It usually means your humidity has dropped in your seed tray. Keep the humidity high and this hardly happens at all. Germinate your seed in a warm place covered then move them, still covered to very bright light Ina warm place. Just barely crack the cover on that clear germination dome and keep the humidity up until seeds quit coming up. This will not work for you if you use a cheap seed mix, they will damp off. Use promix PGA with biofungicide.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 9:53PM
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willardb3

Keep the humidity up, they will come off by themselves

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 10:38AM
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esox07

I say doctor them. I always grow multiple seeds in each container so if one or two doesn't sprout or dies right away, I am good. Then, eventually I just cull them down to one. But if one come up with a helmet, I usually give it a day or two and then I set to work. I get about 60% or more without damaging the seedling too much.

Bruce

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 11:25AM
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esox07

Willard3:
Geez, I dont know what you are growing them in but it looks like some kind of fruit cake left over from Christmas. It seems like it will germinate seeds pretty well but it also looks like there is no "soil" covering the seeds. That is your problem, they need the soil to push through to shake the seed coverings.
Bruce

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 11:26AM
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woohooman

Bruce: Actually that looks a very good way to germinate. I think they're peat plugs. It appears, like willard mentioned, that if one just keeps the humidity up(keeping the cup over the bowl), the case will stay nice and soft and the cotyledons will pop the casing right off.

Willard has a tendency to be short with his posts and then goes away. Perhaps he can explain more thoroughly.

Kevin

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 12:15PM
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greenman62

I have a hard time not trying to do something.
After the first couple of times i killed the seedling, or cut the leaf in 1/2, i restrain myself as much as possible.
Once in a while , i cant help myself, especially if i think it will really retard growth.

Lately, i have been trying the "Mass Grow" approach.
If you have a lot of room, this is great.
I plant about 3 to 4 times the amount of seeds i need
(most in the ground, trays and pots are different)

Often i find it is a bit like rolling dice if you will get a super-plant or not.
So i plant a lot of extras, just a few inches away from each other. Once they are 4-6" tall or so, i know which plants will thrive and which wont, and destroy/compost the others, or even move them...

i had a lot of saved seed this year, and i kept a lot of supermarket seeds from peppers i bought in the winter.

I probably planted 200+ seed already

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 2:40PM
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ottawapepper

Bruce & Kevin,

I believe willard3's photo shows seeds started in Rockwool, see Link below.

It's an excellent medium for hydroponic growing.'

FWIW,

Bill

ps. Josh, like you, I also start more than I need... I just can bring myself to killing off the excess ;-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Rockwool

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 2:58PM
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esox07

Ottawa:
I dont think that was "JOSH" that you were replying to. It had me confused at first as well. It was Greenman62. Josh is Greenman28.

Oh, but I do the mass approach as well. I plant 4 seeds per little 1" cell. Then about a week after they pop, I cull what ever is there down to two, picking the two most vigorous growers. Then just before I transplant to a 4" pot, I will pick one and snip the other. If one has helmet heat, he likely won't make it to the final cut. But I give him the chance and usually do what I can to help him out in the mean time....kinda like rooting for the under dog.
Bruce

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 3:58PM
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ottawapepper

Thanks Bruce. You see what you assume you see... I didn't catch the 62. I'll have to be more observant now that we have two Greenman's ;-)

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 4:43PM
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esox07

The reason I know is I nearly made the same mistake.
Bruce

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 5:50PM
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willardb3

Seeds are in roickwool and all still have seed husks on. I put the humidity dome back on and all seeds shed the husks.

Keep the humidity high until the husks fall off.

Plants went to hydro.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 8:34AM
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