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How do you identify seedlings?

I realised I had been weeding out some plants which had self seeded that had I known I would have left grow. Now I'm trying to identify a seedling before I weed it - some are obvious. Other than letting them grow big enough, is there a library of seedling pictures which could help? eg geums are supposed to self seed so how can i see what it looks like as a seedling?


  • B3B3 Posts: 27,293
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • Butterfly66Butterfly66 Posts: 954
    I’ve looked for this in the past with little success. Most guides focus on weed seedlings and even those the pictures are always when they are big enough to easily identify. Having grown lots of seeds, I think so many are almost identical when first emerging that the only way to be sure is to let them grow until you’re sure. We have lots of self-seeders and you do soon get to know the ones self-seeding in your garden (weeds and those you want). If anything new appears I leave it until big enough to be sure of the ID if it is an unwanted weed as long as it doesn’t set seed no harm done.
     If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”—Marcus Tullius Cicero
    East facing, top of a hill clay-loam, cultivated for centuries (7 years by me). Birmingham
  • LynLyn Posts: 23,190
    The only weeds I take out at this time of the year are buttercups, dandelions, ground elder, willowherb,  easily identified, everything else gets left until it’s bigger, you can see what they are once they get their true leaves. 
    If you unsure in a few weeks, just post a pic on here and someone will identify for you. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,854
    Unfortunately it's just a question or learning, and of course, patience. 
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