How to Avoid Leggy Seedlings

Healthy Seedlings in a Vitopod PropagatorIf plants don't have sufficient access to light, they may experience unhealthy or leggy growth, especially as seedlings or young plants. This is known as etiolation or ‘stretching’ and occurs when plants strive to reach sunlight and quickly grow very tall. This height comes at the cost of width, so leggy plants tend to lean or even fall over entirely. This is particularly common in winter and early spring when light levels are low.

Ideally, your seedlings should be growing in a warm propagator, such as our Vitopod Heated Propagator or ourGeopod Heated Propagator in a bright location facing either south or south east.

If your electric propagator does not have good access to sunlight, we would recommend the use of propagation lights. These handy lights replicate natural sunlight, allowing your plants to grow worry-free regardless of access to natural light; effectively allowing you to grow later into winter and earlier in the spring! Our Geopod Heated propagators comes with lights as standard, and our Vitopod Heated Propagator is available with optional propagation lights to help keep your seedlings, cuttings and young plants healthy. 

If your seedlings are looking a little leggy, don't worry; there's still hope for them! You can trick your seedlings into thickening up with one of the two following methods:

Vitopod Heated Propagator

1. Brush your hands over your seedlings 2/3 times a day

2. Use a gently blowing fan on them for a few hours per day.

This will trick your seedling into thinking they are growing in a windy environment. To protect themselves, the seedlings release chemicals that will allow them to grow thicker, helping them withstand the wind. This plus providing adequate light should help them to perk up! 

If you have any more questions about leggy seedlings, about our Vitopod Heated Propagators or a general gardening query, please feel free to get in touch on 0845 602 3774 or drop us an email on Our Gardening Angels are always happy to help!