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Leggy Plants

Melissa Dunlap is a writer, editor and blogger specializing in lifestyle communications. Fueled by curiosity, and a tad too much coffee, Melissa enjoys dissecting current trends for the modern woman. When she's not having dance parties w...

Leggy plants are all stem and few leaves.

Leggy plants are those seedlings who have a lot more stem (leg) than leaves. Usually their leaf nodes are spread out over their skinny little stems, making them look unhealthy and imbalanced.


Leggy plants are those seedlings who have a lot more stem (leg) than leaves. Usually their leaf nodes are spread out over their skinny little stems, making them look unhealthy and imbalanced. The common causes of leggy seedlings include insufficient light, crowding, and excessively warm temperatures.

If you grow under a grow light, there's a good chance your seedlings may get leggy. Despite the technology behind these lights, nothing can really take the place of true sunlight. When plants don't feel like they're getting enough artificial light, they'll stretch themselves up towards the bulbs, resulting in their leggy frame.

When plants are crowded, they're fighting for nutrients. It's a survival of the fittest. so, if you plant multiple seedlings in a single pot, none of them are getting the full water, sunlight and nutrients they deserve. Thin plants to solve this problem.

High temperatures are fairly obvious. If you're growing near a heat source (like a vent) or too close to a warm window, you may see legginess. Move the plants to a different location. An ideal range for most plants is in the 70 to 75 F range.

Once a plant goes leggy, there isn't really anything that can change it. However, when you go to transplant outside, bury most of the leggy plant's stem under the soil where it will turn to root, and protect most of the skinny stem from the elements.
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