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Tomato seedlings are droopy

Posted by baileybb Mississippi (My Page) on
Thu, Feb 16, 12 at 19:47

I planted these seedlings last Monday evening (so 10 days ago) in "grow plugs" I bought from ( This is my first time to ever grow tomatoes from seeds. I had a plastic dome cover over these seedlings up until I noticed them looking floppy and wilting 2 days ago. It is now off. According to the instructions that came with these "grow plugs" the styrofoam holding the seeds is floating in water (the system says the grow plug material allows the correct amount of water to the plant). My light has been 2-3" from the soil since they were planted.

I'm terrified of a "leggy" seedling!! Are these leggy? What am I doing wrong?

Each column is a different variety of heirloom tomato seed. If I need to list the varieties, please let me know. Thank you.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Tomato seedlings are droopy

Here is a better picture

RE: Tomato seedlings are droopy

baileybb, I'm not sure why your photos aren't showing up, but in many cases people don't realize that in order to post a photo it has to be on the web somewhere, not simply on their PCs or in their email.

Here's a link to an explanation of how to post photos from Photobucket (a free photo-hosting site).

Good luck!

RE: Tomato seedlings are droopy

Ok, so sorry! Here is my picture.

RE: Tomato seedlings are droopy

Yes, they're on the leggy side. Lights need to be just above seedling leaves.

It appears that the light is strongest down the center but far less on the sides.
Please tell us what sort of light set-up you have.

Re: Tomato seedlings are droopy

I have a 2 foot grow light with a florescent bulb (brand is Hydrofarm). If I need to take a picture, I will. Do you think the tomato's will be okay or should I start over? I have lowered the light now.

RE: Tomato seedlings are droopy

Mine are doing the same thing--leaning over. I noticed they were starting to become leggy so I put the light closer to them and they seem to be better but still leaning over. None of my other plants are doing that, just the tomatoes.

RE: Tomato seedlings are droopy

I think those plants will be ok, bailey, IF you correct your lighting situation. I couldn't be sure from the picture, but is that just a light or two?

Your lighting setup is not wide enough to properly grow the plants beneath them. The light setup has to be at *least* as wide as the plants that you have growing under them, preferably wider. Otherwise, of COURSE the plants are going to "lean in" to try to get closer to the lights.

I use simple 4' fluorescent double shop lights, set side-by-side-by-side. There's really no need to buy anything fancy. You might check out the "Growing under Lights" forum here for more tips.

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing under Lights

RE: Tomato seedlings are droopy

"I'm terrified of a "leggy" seedling!! Are these leggy? What am I doing wrong?"

No need to be "terrified" unless you are growing the plants to sell them. If they get leggy you just plant them differently. For leggy plants just plant them deeper or lay the long stem in a trench. They will grow roots all along the stem so its no big deal. It may not be your first choice but its not catastrophic.

You seedlings are all reaching for the weak light source you have provided. It seams obvious at this point you need a brighter light source in order to grow healthy seedlings. As another poster said. Something at least as wide and as long as the plants.

RE: Tomato seedlings are droopy

I use four-foot shop lights with a mix of cool and warm flourescent 40-watt bulbs. With those, it's best to keep the lights as close as possible, like no more than an inch or two. Even if the lights touch the leaves for a few hours, they won't burn. When my seedlings are growing well I have to raise the lights a bit every day. I also have to say your soil looks too wet. Once the plants develop leaves, you need to let the soil dry out a bit between waterings.

RE: Tomato seedlings are droopy


Too wet, yes, I agree, but also NOT ENOUGH LIGHTS!

Observe the way that the two rows in the foreground are leaning towards the rear, while the seedlings towards the rear are bending forward. The ones along the centerline just appear totally confused.

Those seedlings are starved for light. It looks like they are under one weak lamp. Nowhere near what they need in order to avoid legginess.

In a way, lowering the single lamp is going to make the seedlings along the edges lean even more.

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