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Don't give up on very leggy tomato seedlings


My favorite tomatoes (Rosada) come in a packet of 6 seeds. I sowed them one weekend in a heated propagator and went away for a few days. Five days later they were through and so so leggy. They were falling over. I dispaired that they wouldn't recover and as time went on I was about to give up on these leggy specimens.

I decided to try a drastic move... nothing to lose. I chopped them off at about two inch length and replanted them in compost. E voila! They have produced really strong seedlings and now sturdy plants. They are now in their final pots and producing trusses.

I tried this last year with a withering cucumber and that was successful too. 

Takes a bit of nerve but worth a try. Saved buying another packet of seeds at £3.99 for 6 seeds. 

Hope this helps someone who is about to give up!


  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,092

    You could simply pot them up in deeper pots, right up to the first leaves. That will encourage more root to grow from the stem.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 72,136

    That's what I do Steephill image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • DeedotDeedot Posts: 31

    Yes you could but they were way too leggy for that. 

    I do pot deep when I transplant and poton regular seedlings. 

    With either method wait until the stem goes hairy. 

  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,764

    You can lay them on their side in a pot at an angle.  Ensure the rootball is well covered, and the stem up until the top pair of leaves sticking out over the edge or above the soil somewhere.  They'll straighten up within a few days at their new height.  Good topic for new gardeners though, thanks for sharing.    

    Utah, USA.
  • TesniTesni Posts: 161

    Good to know, thanks.

  • DeedotDeedot Posts: 31

    Interesting. Will try to remember that one. The chopping off method seems to produce really sturdy plants, anyway got more thn enough tomatoes for this year. And some to share with friends. Growing 6different varieties and 15plants in total!

    not having the same luck with my sweet peppers. ????

  • GillianBCGillianBC Posts: 121

    I sowed some celosia for the first time this year.  Only two germinated.  When I had the grandkids to visit, the top got knocked off one of them - it was only about an inch tall, poor thing.  I stuck the poor broken top back in the soil and it's growing just fine.

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