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All my seedlings always die .... why?

Discussion in 'Absolute Beginners' started by stankopolis, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. Ok, so I have been trying to germinate some UBS i happen to have lying around. This is my third time attempting to do this. I can usually germ the seed in a damp paper towel and then plant into unfertilized potting soil.

    I have been able to get the seed to sprout into a seedling, but invariably my seedlings ALWAYS wither, keel over and die. I don't water them too much, maybe a teaspoon a day at most. So It can't be water can it?

    I also have an array of lights (12 x 26 watt cfl's @ 6500k) thats hung around 2ft above my seedlings, is this too much and this what is killing them??? My el-cheapo thermometer tells me it is around ~79 F where my seedlings are located. Is this too hot???

    Respect and manners,

    Attached Files:

  2. #2 yesicancancan, Sep 22, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2009
    Use a single CFL per seedling. Hang the CFL within 2 inches of the plant, I usually hang it within an inch. When you water, soak the soil completely. If you are giving a teaspoon of water then you are only wetting the surface, and therefore the tap-root is growing down for no reason.

  3. (12 x 26 watt cfl's @ 6500k)

    jesus christ, no wonder they're dying.
    Right when you get the seedling at least 2 inches tall, you need to put that badboy in a solo cup size container, with drainage holes at the bottom. You also need to reduce your lights at first. My guess is that you're watering with a teaspoon, and then you leave them alone, and theres a combo of two things happening 1) Your plant is trying to absorb the water at the same rate the lights are making it evaporate off the top soil. I've killed two seedlings by not being careful and letting them bake under those lights with not enough soil/moisture combo. Also 79 isn't a bad temp, its fine.

    I advise, getting the soil nice and moist all the way through by watering lightly, until it runs out the bottom. Also, you need to cut your lights in half, and you need to add at least 1 or 2 2700k spectrum bulbs, I'd advise a 23w soft white 2700k bulb. It'll be 100 effective.
  4. Lacan and yesicancancan,

    Thanks a lot for the speedy responses. I realized that it was most likley the lights that were the issue, but I thought they were far enough to alleviate any possible heat concerns, guess I was wrong :( Dead wrong in my seedlings case.

    Also thanks for the tip on watering on the seedlings, Lacan you were exactly right because I ususally use a teaspoon for fear of overwatering the plants. And the teaspoon drop does usually just sit on the surface for a second and is probably not being absorbed down the the bottom roots.

    I will also add a couple of 2700k cfls to my array, thanks Lacan. So once my seeds have germinated in the paper towels. I will try only using one cfl per plant and see how that works.

    Lacan, you say take some lights out of the array initally, how many lights do you suppose I should keep in there. Maybe 8-10 total bulbs??? And if so, will it then be safe for my seedlings as is, or should i just stick with one cfl (26 watt) per seedling.

    -Respect and manners
  5. Next beans you plant.... soak the soil about 2 days before you place your seeds into the soil.... the just give a mist on the top once the seeds planted.
  6. Yeah, I'd say do 1 6500k bulb per seedling once they're at least 3 inches with their second set of leaves(not the round starter leafs), and then add a 2700k at the end just to mix spectrums. Once they get to be about 5-6 inches tall, or if they look like they need more light, I'd do 1.5 6500k bulbs per plant, and then add another 2700k cfl.

    Also, if the effective wattage isn't above 100, they're not really worth it. Now i'm assuming you know the difference between CFL wattage and effective wattage, because those 26w cfl's you're using are probably all 100w equivolents, that means you were initially hitting your seedlings with 1,200 watts of light. :eek: And seedlings in their first stages only really need indirect light to get started. You were putting them on the surface of the sun there for a little bit ;)

    Now i know what you're thinking "What if I have 12 seedlings?" The rules can bend, and they generally say 1 bulb per plant, however you gotta remember, the light will be reflected throughout the box, so its not too big of a deal. But judging from the pictures if you onyl had 5 seedlings at first, I'd do 3 6500k cfls at 100w effective each, and 1 2700k cfl at 100w effective. Until they're big enough to handle more light. A good rule of thumb when watering with soil, which yeah I understand can make you nervous at first, but a great rule of thumb when they first get to solo-cup size, is to completely drench the soil first. You do this by getting 1 cup of water, and pouring in 1/5th at a time until it comes through the bottom. After that, leave'em alone the rest of the day, and continue watering as normal. Generally seedlings need a shotglass of water twice a day. Once at the beginning of their photo period, and once at the end of their photo period(assuming you give them time off). You certainally don't have to water until it drains out the bottom everytime, you'll over-water them. Also, becareful over-watering peat moss pellets. To water the peatmoss pellets, I usually just take it with the seedling in it, and dunk it into a cup of water for 5 seconds. then squeeze it gently and let 10 drops or so roll out the bottoms/sides, and its hydrated plenty.

    A novice mistake would be to put peat-moss pellets under those lights, it'll cook the moisture right out of em and they'll fall over dead within a day. So once they pop out at least an inch or two, put'em in a solocup size of soil. Also, after you get them plenty hydrated and go back to normal feeding, you don't have to put the shotglass down into it, don't think you've got to like stick a screw driver and ply some room so the water can get down to the bottom. As long as the water hits the top roots near the stalk of the plant, it'll transfer that moisture down to the lower roots.

    Hope this helps.
  7. #7 stankopolis, Oct 8, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2009
    Respect and manners,

    Damn Lacan, can't thank you enough for your timely and considerate response, bless.

    I was doing a number of things wrong as you pointed out.

    1. I was leaving the seedlings for far too long in the peat pellets instead of moving them to larger containers (at least Solo cup size).
    2. I was so afraid of overwatering that I actually ended up underwatering, (I was only giving a teaspoon or so to each seedling, YIKES!)
    3. I moved delicate, tender, totally innocent seedlings, directly under 1200+ watts of light.:eek:

    So....This time around decided to change some things up and here's what we got......

    /*Check out the attachments here */

    Basically I have six UBS seedlngs, all around 7 days from germ, in Solo cups and Taco Bell cups. Each seedling is directly under 2 x 26 watt (actual) CFLs at 6500K. (I do also have 4 @ 2700K as well and I think one of them is a 13 watter as well).

    I moved them quickly from the peat pellets in to the Solo cups and some seem to be doing well. There was a lot of strecthing initially as I started them out under only a single 26 watt (actual) cfl. So when I transplanted the seedlings into the Solo cups I just buried them a little deeper to cover up their stalks.

    A fan has been added as well to the grow room and hopefully will help strengthen my stalks.

    3 More questions for any and all: :confused:

    1. I decided, in order to protect my seedlings, to cover them, for now, with mini-humidifiers (a.k.a. sandwich bags). Is this O.K?/ Should I poke holes in the bags to allow for more air circulation, but thereby cutting back on the humidity dome effect????
    2. Is there any way to cool this sucker down? (Besides removing lights) When I close the doors on my cab, temps can zip up to 90F+. :eek: I have a fan in there now, on constantly, and it has helped; but can I add a cup of ice or dry ice to both humidify and cool the grow box?
    3. I also didn't add any perlite to the current soil mix,though it is listed as an ingredient in the soil, is this going to cause a major problem? And should I mix some up right way and transplant these babies in a few days??

    Well that's all for now, will check back later. All in all, I'm just hoping i have at least 1-2 females and am looking forward to growing n' learning.:hello:

    Attached Files:

  8. Went to go check on my babies today and all seems to be well except for two plants.

    My problem.

    1. Seems to have yellowish/brown disscoloration on only the tips of the two serrated leaves. Is this nute burn? Or light burn?

    2. Seems to have two brown spots randomly located on large serrated leaves. This leaves me to believe it is burn damage caused by light heating up water droplets on leaves trapped by humidity zippy over the plants.

    My question

    1. Do these assumptions seems right? And how can I combat nute burn. in this MG soil. (Unfortunately all I can get is MG organic soil which already has fertz).

    Have attached pics of the aforementioned plants below: First two attachments are the plant I think is nute burn with discolored tips. Second two attachments are the plant I think is light/burn damamge from water droplet on leaves.

    Attached Files:

  9. I wouldn't use humidity domes, too easy to force the seedlings making the stems weak.

    MJ is really a weed remember which naturally grows in poor soil, so I think you have found the answer - too much fertiliser in the substrate!?

    The soil you are using is the issue IMHO.

  10. Get some ait flow in your box.
    My guess is its too hot and your cooking your seeds
  11. y do u have a bag over ur cups
  12. Yeah I was worried about the humidity domes pushing down on the seedlings also, so I made sure to be real careful there was some head room.

    I'll keep a close eye on this and take it a step at a time. I'm too scared to completely burn my seedlings right now to take them off. Maybe give them two more days and we'll see.


    Also the soil, yeah will def. be a problem, I think. But it won't be fatal will it? I should be able to soldier on, no?
  13. You're right, some times temps reach the 90s. I'm trying to figure out what to do about that, but we'll see. Right now I'm just keeping the door open just a hair and temps seem stable around 80-85.
  14. hey do u have a fan in there blowing on them? if not this is a must not just for helping temps but it also helps air flow & strengthen up the stems also once they break the surface theres really no need for any kind of humidity done
  15. Because, when I didn't have bags over my seedlings, all my seedlings died within days. So, I'm being extra protective about them, so yeah may be overkill, but ehhh....

    Will probably take them off in a couple of days when my seedlings get their second sets of serrated leaves and they have grown to a comfortable size.
  16. dude you really wanna be trying to address that problem rather than just finding ways to try dodge it & keep ur seedling alive as you will have to go through all this shit everytime u germ & im sure u dont want this everytime lol it seems weird that your having so much trouble ive read this thread & it aint like ur doing it all wrong
  17. Yeah you are right mills, I think I may have figured out why my temps have soared as of late. I added a DIY reflector (basically just wood painted flat white) above my lighting array. Apparently I had the "reflector" too close to the lighting array. When I moved the reflector up aboout 6" the heat immediatley dissipated. Hopefully, now I will be able to remove the zippys.

    Thanks again.
  18. Updates on seedlings today. I moved my DIY reflector up 6 six inches or so and that had a dramatic effect on temps, so hopefully I have the temp situation rectified.

    Mills was right about the humidity domes though, they ended up causing more problems as two of my plants are badly burned from where they grew into the plastic zippys and either moisture on the bag or heat reflected through said bag and moisture droplets really fried parts of my babies' leaves. :eek:

    Here are pics of the babies, some look really sick. Will they make it???? The last one in particular is growing really weird anyways, with only one serrated leaf appearing as of yet.

    I am hoping my plants can/will recover, is this possible? After all they are resilient no? Or should I just start over?

    Attached Files:

  19. As I said previously you will always have problems as the soil is too rich for them.
    Obviously they will grow but they won't do as well as in a standard compost rather than the one you have with added fertiliser.

  20. #20 stankopolis, Oct 10, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 10, 2009

    Okay, fair enough mcherbie, I will just let them be and keep and eye on them. It's weird though that some (3 to be exact) seem to not be having any issues. That's why I thought it was light, heat issues for those specific plants.

    But, if you are sure it is the soil I have no choice but to push on.


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