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Chilli Seedling Are Trapped In Their Seedcase

I sowed some Orange Habanero seeds about ten days ago they have started emerging, but nearly all have their seedling leaves trapped inside the seed case.

Have I done anything wrong and is there anything I can do to rectify this?


  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,462
    Give them time - they should get pushed off as the seed leaves grow and expand.
    It does sometimes happen that they persist, usually on larger, tougher seeds like squash and then you can gently pinch the edges (not the flat sides) to open the seed cases and slide them off. Chilli seeds  though are so small  that you risk doing far more damage by interfering than by leaving them alone.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 10,963
    I've had it happen too.
    I use a pair of tweezers much like Buttercupdays suggests and try and gently remove the casing by squeezing the edges and lifting the casing off the leaves. Sometimes it beheads the seedling though :(
    I try and leave them as long as poss. before doing anything as they often sort themselves out

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • I've had this with chillies, and occasionally tomatoes. As said, with luck the seed-leaves expand and push the seed-case off. Otherwise, I try applying a drop of water to the seed-case from time to time (i.e. do it again once the drop has dried), to help soften it. Indeed it's very difficult to interfere manually without just breaking the top off the seedling.

    Too late now for these seedlings, but I reckon it helps to plant the seeds deeper (say half-an-inch for chilli/tomato) and to compact the soil above them (to help anchor the seed in place). They grow as an 'upside down U shape', hopefully leaving the seed-case behind in the soil when the seedling pulls free and straightens up. Of course, so long as the seed-case is still in the soil, it remains moist and soft too.
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