User avatar
Royiah
Senior Member
Posts: 207
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:36 pm
Location: Louisiana

When to repot seedlings?

Ok so my seedlings have just gotten their first true leafs and I was wondering if I should repot them? Should I do it now or when they get a little bigger? I can see the roots growing out of the pods of some of them too.

User avatar
floridahillnursery
Cool Member
Posts: 93
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:44 pm
Location: Orlando Florida

pictures of containers

Hello, can you post some pictures. :)

User avatar
Kisal
Mod Emeritus
Posts: 7648
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:04 am
Location: Oregon

Unless they're tomatoes, and you want to start planting them deeper to develop a larger root system, I'd wait until the roots fairly well filled the containers they're in. With young seedlings, the roots sometimes start to grow out of the drainage holes if the plants have been watered from below. It's a moisture seeking behavior, not a result of running out of room in the container. JMO, though. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

I would wait. Seedlings that tiny are still very vulnerable/ sensitive. Once they are bigger, they are sturdier, hardier and a lot easier to transplant without damaging them.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
Royiah
Senior Member
Posts: 207
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:36 pm
Location: Louisiana

Ok thanks I'll wait. O:)

User avatar
hendi_alex
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3567
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:58 am
Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

I plant my tomato seeds in three inch community pots of four or five seeds. When they get their first true leaves the plants are move to individual three inch pots. They stay in those pots until the plants are 7-8 inches tall, at which time they are moved into one gallon nursery pots. My first batch of plants will go into 1 gallon nursery pots this week. They will likely stay there until early March when I'll move them into 3 gallon nursery containers. The 3 gallon containers will hold the plants until they are planted in the ground mid to late April. I'm in zone 7-8, with the typical last frost date around the 20th of April.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

User avatar
digitS'
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3522
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:10 pm
Location: ID/Wa! border

I think it depends not only on development but on the room they have to continue to grow.

Like Hendi_Alex, I've got several seeds in that 1st container. In fact, I usually have dozens together! Once they have decent true leaves, they can't grow much more without serious crowding.

Someone once told me that a plant usually has quite a few leaves and quite a few roots -- but, often only 1 stem. It might be the sturdiest part of the seedling but I try to not even touch that stem with my big, clumsy fingers! A seed leaf is what I prefer to hold onto, if possible - as I pop the plant out of soil with a popsicle stick, or something similar :) .

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

User avatar
GardenRN
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1102
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:01 pm
Location: Chesterfield, Va

hendi_alex wrote:I plant my tomato seeds in three inch community pots of four or five seeds. When they get their first true leaves the plants are move to individual three inch pots. They stay in those pots until the plants are 7-8 inches tall, at which time they are moved into one gallon nursery pots. My first batch of plants will go into 1 gallon nursery pots this week. They will likely stay there until early March when I'll move them into 3 gallon nursery containers. The 3 gallon containers will hold the plants until they are planted in the ground mid to late April. I'm in zone 7-8, with the typical last frost date around the 20th of April.
You must have a lot of room and a lot of lights to handle all of those 3 gallon pots!! :shock: Do you have a greenhouse? Or what does your setup look like? Wish I had room to do it that way. But I have to start later. If they get that big by the time its time to put em outside I won't have any room and the plants start dying from a lack of light.
Jeff

USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32.

Failure is only a fact when you give up.

User avatar
hendi_alex
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3567
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:58 am
Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

No plants are moved into 3 gallon pots before March. By March the plants stay outside in a couple of cold frames. They are only moved inside when the temperature drops below about 40 degrees. Last year I probably only moved the plants inside about a half dozen times in March. On those nights the plants are in the hall, on the hearth, in the sun room.

As of today, after up potting my first batch of five plants into one gallon pots, my plants take up a total of 6-8 square feet of space. I noticed that one of my Juliet plants has its first cluster of flowers, but they won't start to open for another week or two. BTW, rather than planting one big planting, I plant a succession of small batches of plants. One small batch of about 10 plants gets planted in mid to late December, then another batch gets planted in Mid January, with additional planting about every 3-4 weeks until sometime in April.

When the next batch of plants goes into one gallon pots, the space requirement will start to become a chore and may require as many as six lights, though last year I only used four lights, since the plants were able to spend the days outside some much of February and March. There is really just about a 4-6 week period when the plants may require a good bit of indoor space/time and when they may require daily movement outside and then back inside. We have plenty of space, and the task is not too much of a chore. Only the earliest plants will ever make it into 3 gallon pots, as the rest will go into the ground from 1 gallon pots.

So while this sounds like a major undertaking, it really is not. However by the time late April arrives, I am more than happy to see the plants go into the ground!
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

User avatar
GardenRN
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1102
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:01 pm
Location: Chesterfield, Va

I bet you are! I still envy you being able to have them in the house like that. I have mine contained to a small corner of my basement and my son STILL managed to seek out the dirt and come to the conclusion that it must be moved via Tonka construction crews lol. Bless him, he's only 2, he didn't know better, but what a mess. If I had plants decorating the whole house like that for just one night, they probably wouldn't survive. :lol:

But what you explained does use a lot more room than I was imagining. :wink:
Jeff

USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32.

Failure is only a fact when you give up.

wiscopeppers
Full Member
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:33 pm
Location: Madison, WI

i think i moved my seedlings too early this year. i waited until they had just started their second set of true leaves, then moved them from their 1" cell tray to larger cottage cheese and yogurt containers with holes drilled int he bottoms. I used the same type of potting soil i used last year, but this year the seedlings got what i assume is some serious transplant shock. within probably 20 minutes of being put in the new pots several of the seedlings leaves started to curl up and look like they were drying out, even though a lack of water is not an issue. New growth seems to be occurring, so i think they'll survive, but i hope i didn't do any long term harm.

last year i moved them three times, from small to medium to large containers, this year i thought i'd save myself some time and just go from small to large. does anyone think that might cause the transplant shock to be more severe?

User avatar
hendi_alex
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3567
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:58 am
Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

I don't know what caused your problem, but it was not the age of the plants. I transplant anywhere from the first sign of true leaves through plants with at least two sets of true leaves. The plants rarely suffer from the transplant process. Keep freshly re-potted plants out of the sun and the wind for at least a day or two after transplanting, as the leaves will lose moisture much quicker than the unsettled roots can replace it. When inside, my plants are also taken off of the heating mat for a day or two after transplanting, for the same reason.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

lily51
Greener Thumb
Posts: 735
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:40 am
Location: Ohio, Zone 5

Believe it or not,roots that are too far along can be damaged in the transplant process. By then they have root hairs, which are needed for absorbtion.
When smaller seedlings are damaged,it can be from squeezing the stem rather than damaging the roots.
Hope your plants have recouped and are on their way. :)

GardenGnome
Greener Thumb
Posts: 755
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2012 11:26 pm
Location: paradise,ca

[img]https://i1268.photobucket.com/albums/jj565/ericmgilson/2012-02-10_08-01-11_890-1.jpg[/img]

Idk my plants popped out 2 leafs.
I didn't think my plants were going to come up at such a good %
I over did the seeds per cell and thought they were running out of room.
So I used a small straw to fluff the dirt and pulled out most plants with no problem.
Some times I would hear a pop O.o but most plants are doing good and reaching for that light. If 3 out of 5 plants make it that's ok ill give 2 away. Next ones I'm going to do 1 per cell.
Gilson (Giles) Zone 7b

User avatar
hendi_alex
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3567
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:58 am
Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

I usually start about five plants in a two or three inch nursery pot. When the plants form true leaves, the pot is turned upside down and tapped out. I crush the soil enough to separate the seedlings, without really worrying about how much soil stays on the roots. To me, it is more important to get as many roots as possible with the plant than it is to worry about not disturbing one plant or another. With small tomatoes, bell peppers or egg plants, it doesn't seem to matter even if almost 100% of the soil is shaken from the roots at this young stage. The plants are repotted into individual 2-3 inch pots. They rarely wilt or show any other signs of stress from the procedure. As posted earlier, the plants are kept out of the sun, wind, and off of the heat mat for a couple of days. They are also watered to near saturation right after transplanting.

I'm much more careful not to disturb the roots when repotting or transplanting during the heat of the summer.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

BarcelonaTerrace
Full Member
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Barcelona, Spain

Thanks for the good tips on this thread! I'm learning some very valuable stuff :D

GardenGnome
Greener Thumb
Posts: 755
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2012 11:26 pm
Location: paradise,ca

I killed acouple plants tho opps from diffrent things. But I had so many I didn't worry
I had a lot of each left the herbs I moved in clumps cause there's so many and so small.
Ill have check out that thread next. So much to learn do did it while its your time to plants is abit much.
Gilson (Giles) Zone 7b

Return to “Seed Starting Forum”