Droopy seedling— too much water? Or something more sinister? Help!


Blue Dream and N. lights autos, popped out of the ground a few days ago. Classic too much water and soil in a big pot for a tiny seedling? Or is it something else? Halp! This was supposed to be my first grow where I didn’t mess things up so bad!

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Sometimes when they are young like that the first couple of leafs looks droopy… Do they feel droopy too?

Being aware of the overwatering issue… why should you mess it up?

Put your finger in the earth…
does it feel wet?.. too much
Does it feel dry, but not bone dry? …good… Don’t water her.
bone dry?.. water with the spray bottle around the plant leaving the centre around the stem dry…

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@outdooring Thanks–Nope, they do not feel droopy, very sturdy little things, in fact, now that you mention it. Yay.

In regards to the watering, there is a lot of varying advice about it. I used to use smaller pots for seedlings and had good luck, but then I was told not to use the peat pots or coco pots (and obviously was told before that not to transplant at all). With a tiny plant in a big pot, some say to saturate the pot, then just water around the edges of the pot. That did not work well for me. Later, I had good luck before doing what you were saying above, but I actually left the entire pot dry except where I would water the seedling. Then someone told me if I do that, I am leaving the bottom too dry before the plant gets there and am messing it up, or one thing or another. The soil does stay really buoyant, but then when the plant is bigger and I need to water more, it packs down, and I always think the soil level is a little too far below the top of the pot.

Once you know what you’re doing, sure, it’s as simple as sticking to what works, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, and there are several different versions of the “right” method coming into your ears and you aren’t quite sure how to do it… I like your method, although I do worry about the drying out issue (but not in this case… seems wet enough)

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I germinate in two kitchen paper towls. One bottom one top. Into two small plates one as a cover. Keep them in my bathroom check every day if tips of the towel start drying i wet the towel pour out all water and wait till they they have a 1cm root… so far 3 autos already harvested 2 cbd week2 1fem flower and 6 chilli week2 100% germination.
after that they go into the moist jiffy in the dome no watering until i deem them ready usual, 2 leafs after the cotoleydon. Then i water like i told you until my gut tells me she needs more…

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Just my two cents… when they’re that small, I’d mist water onto them and a little around. Too easy to give them too much if you pour water in. Def let them perk up before you water again. I know my girls are thirsty when the leaves perk up. Good luck and keep us posted!

PS - Again my opinion, but if they are autos, you did the right thing by planting them in their final home instead of moving them into something bigger later on.

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OooWee is right on. I use an eyedropper and water at the base of the plant. Less is more when the plant is young. This will cause the roots to grow deeper.

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Humidifier in one pic says 41% which is pretty low for seedlings. 70% is what I shoot for at this stage. With such a small root system the moisture in the air is a big help. Could be so low cause you opened up to take pics but kind of important so wanted to add my 2 cents.

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@pogo Thanks for the help, everybody! Yeah, humidity is an issue. It gets really cold here in the winter, which means the forced air heat is blasting constantly, and the house is dryyyy. This not only makes it difficult to keep my tend humid, but if too much leaves the tent environment, it can cause mold issues in my house.

That said, I think maybe part of the issue is my fan setup. I turned off my exhaust fan, but my intake fan is still bringing in a ton of air. I think my 153 cfs or whatever fans are too much power for a 2x4 tent. I need to get it figured out…

In the summer, the windows are open, and I’m at the mercy of the weather, which can get up past 100F sometimes. It’s usually 30-50% humidity, though. I have to worry more about the days the humidity might be 60+%, which is too much for some strains.

I have some Blue Dream in there now, and the ILGM site said to keep it below 40%. I suppose they just mean during flower, though? (I do have a really not ideal one in the tent at the moment in flower.)

But, the fact is, after all that, until I figure out what’s wrong, I’m not really able to get the humidity above 45% in there with the light on, and 45% is pushing it! Which is why I was using humidity domes for seedlings, but someone said not to do that either.

And I keep hearing not to let the soil dry out too much if you’re using super soil, but I guess I can put a little water into the bottom of the pot while continuing to mist the top as needed.

Sure is a balancing act…

I also have a germinated Bruce Banner that has not yet popped head above ground. How many days should I wait before giving up? I think I planted it too deep. I also think I will go back to the root riot seed starter cube things. Maybe I should consider some kind of humid setup for seedlings and not actually put them in their big pots/tent until they outgrow the cube? Might solve my humidity issues…

Sorry for all the jabber. This is tough stuff. I bought a book about how to grow autoflowers for beginners by a famous botanist. I hope it helps. I know the basics, but even the basics are confusing!

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/0865719160/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Jeff Lowenfels, same guy who wrote the more advanced “Teaming With Microbes” etc

When I ordered those measuring syringes for liquid nutes, I ordered 2 of them. One I use to mix nutes, one I use to water plants that little. Makes it a lot easier to control how much they get and where when you’re divvying it out from one of those syringes.

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@Tinymight_Autoflowerer I know what you mean about tough stuff. Mostly because there are so many right ways to do it out there. Sorry about the length of this but not knowing your exact situation will try to cover some stuff. Only on my second grow but 1st was 5 autos in a 4 x 4. Total 17 oz. so did ok. I am like you and read a lot.
On germination, I use the paper towel method and wait for a 1/2 inch tail (unless its a really tiny seed) and go directly into final unwatered pot. You have a lot of perlite in your pics which is good but I make sure the place I plant my seed is soil so it isn’t sitting in an air pocket. I plant with about 1/8 inch of dirt over top of it with a toothpick marking location so if it doesn’t show it’s head pretty quick I can remove a couple crumbs of dirt and see if it’s doing anything. They are extremely fragile at this point and I wait 3 or 4 days before I have to take a look. I just spritz where the seed is until it’s up and then just start increasing the diameter of my watering as it gets bigger. I don’t know your grow setup or budget but will run some stuff by you that might help.
Cold and dry is good in my opinion. It is cheaper to humidify than dehumidify and the lights usually provide all the heat you need. I have my setup in a room without heat and grow December thru February because I don’t want to have to run an AC or dehumidifier. Keep in mind that when your plants get big and you are watering your pots to saturation and they are flowering and transpiring big time you are going to have the opposite problem. Way too much humidity. I hope you have a way to vent your big fan outside. I have Inkbird temperature and humidity controllers. They make a combo unit but would recommend getting the separate units. The temp ($35)unit has 2 plugs, 1 for heat and 1 for cool. The humidity controller($43) has 2 plugs, one for humidifier and 1 for dehumidifier. To raise humidity I have a Comfort Zone cool mist humidifier that costs about 20 bucks. I also have a small electric heater I set on low (you have to have one that just has an off, low and high switch as the controller cuts the power to it and those with thermostats if you cut the power will not come back on when the controller turns it on). At the seedling stage this works great. The plants and pots at this stage put out very little humidity. I usually have to fill it up twice a day. The lights provide all the heat at this point unless it gets really cold. But I do have to use a little cooling at this stage. So you have a good size vent fan, me too, but this doesn’t have to run all the time. I use it for temp or humidity control depending on what stage of grow I’m in. I also have another hole in my booth and mounted a small axial fan $15image
AC Infinity AXIAL 1238, Muffin Fan, 120V AC 120mm x 38mm High Speed, UL-Certified for DIY Cooling Ventilation Exhaust ProjectsAC Infinity AXIAL 1238, Muffin Fan, 120V AC 120m…
$17.99.
So I have a big fan vented outside and the axial fan at my disposal for climate control. Keep in mind that if you push air into booth or tent it has to have a way to let some out. I also have one more hole in booth with a flap that will allow air to go in or out depending on the situation.
So in seedling stage controller makes humidifier run to hold 70% humidity. Lights keep booth warm mostly, if not heater kicks on. Usually lights make booth too warm. So axial fan kicks on and pulls cooler air from room into booth. Humid air is forced from booth into room. Most of the time this is not a problem but as the plant gets bigger it will become one. At this point I really don’t need the big fan, I just have it on a cycle timer set to come on for a couple of minutes every half hour to bring in fresh air. This pulls dry air from room into tent but humidifier will come on and correct.
As the plants get bigger you will want to gradually reduce the humidity to a point around 45 % in the last half of flower. Now when you water you will be able to watch the numbers climb on your controller and will have lots of humidity to get rid of. At this point I hook the big fan to the humidity controller on the dehumidify plug. When humidity gets above set point big fan comes on and vents moist air outside and pulls dry air from room to lower humidity. If not vented outside I would have water running down all the cool walls and puddling on floor. All the stuff is at amazon.
I do have a dehumidifier but use it as little as possible. Electricity is a big cost on growing and this cold weather growing is the cheapest. Humidifier pulls 30 watts I think and dehumidifier 600 watts. So really prefer not to run it. When buds get big and dense I worry about bud rot but a lot of air movement helps reduce the risk. I have a clip on oscillating fan that runs 24/7 thru the whole grow.
I guess I am trying to say that you can try to use the room your tent is in to your advantage. I try to keep seedlings around 77 degrees so if it gets hotter than that and the room around your tent is 70 just pull some air from the room into the tent. If your tent is pretty tight and your big fan is vented outside the axial fan will force the exhaust thru the big fan and push the moist air out of your house. When you pull air from the room to cool your tent and that air is dry the controller will turn on the humidifier which is cheap to operate…
Hope this helps. Food for thought anyway. Good luck. Tag me if you need any clarifications.

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I have used this the last couple of times. The cells are filled with good seedling mix. The dome helps maintain humidity and temps. It is a 7" tall and fits a standard 20" tray. I use a syringe to water the plants. They are 9 days old Have only watered 3X. First time was just enough to moisten the mix and set the seed and root. 2nd time was 5ml and then 10ml four days ago. I spray the interior of the dome when Rh drops to around 60%.
I will remove the dome when they get their 3rd set of well stablished leaves.

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I started my grow in late Dec in Chicago…my humidity was never more than 35% with a humidifier. I think it’ll be ok.

I am back with an update! They’re doing very well! They’re both on their first week of flower, with the NL starting first and the BD (right) apparently catching up.

Thanks to the advice here, I watered much less than I would have before. It’s super soil, so I try for no run-off.

So far, all is well, EXCEPT, there has been some light stress. Mars Hydro listed the same hang height suggestions for the SP 3000 as the TS 1000. I thought, well, okay then… but the suggestions are NOT appropriate for a 300 vs 100 watt light. I raised the light several times, so now I’m not actually sure if it’s still causing issues, or if they are still ailing from before. I hope they’re able to recover.

This is first thing in the morn, and for some reason they’re always kind of droopy in the morning. It has been two days since water, and I think today is water day. Has been about 1/2 gallon each, and they’re in 7 gallon pots.

Any further advice??? I am almost in the clear, but I hope the heat stress has not sabotaged them too much. I plan to do a little more LST, and that’s about it. I’d like to remove some of the lower growth, though (like as low-key a lollipopping as possible)–is that okay, and if so, when is the best time to do that? Already too late? Too early still? Sometimes the bushy ones (NL) have a lot of lower growth that sits on the bottom and never accomplishes much. Even the less bushy (BD) could benefit with a tiny bit of clean-out.

@pogo Thanks for the advice! My grow setup could be improved, for sure. My windows are open all summer, so I am at the mercy of the weather gods to some degree as well. Once in a while it is humid here. I really have to watch that, because there are times I want to keep the tent at 40% or 50% humidity and would consider 60% to be too much. I do have a ton of airflow tho (big fan intake, be fan extake), and I had good luck opening all the tent flaps and pointing external fans.

I forgot to mention they were “praying” yesterday (the leaves). I understand this is maybe a good thing, however, I raised the light anyway because they still looked droopy from the light damage. They stopped praying. So my inexact, reactionary science has led to me still having not determined the proper hanging light or dimmer settings. Alas.

Whats the night temp? Asking because of Morning droop…

The fan might be to strong directly on the plant…

When they start flowering they are very thirsty…

If you kept watering shy till now try to slowly up the water dose.
They will probably soon be hungry and ready for a bloom feed.

@outdooring Thank you!! Do you think nitrogen tox could be happening? I was really thinking it was the light, but maybe I’m dumb and it wasn’t. It had yellow and upturned tips which seems like too much light to me.

Night temp sticks around 68F, but I would say more like 70F. Day time is usually 82-84 or so.

I’ll try to up my watering.

It’s a very windy tent, maybe too windy! I never know where to position my fans. I have a hard time getting airflow at the bottom of the tent, but I need to try something else maybe.

N tox… Did you feed anything?

You have a exhaust fan? And a bottom intake… Dont worry too much… Me I Position the exhaust diagonally from the intake… move the plants away from the intake… position the fans between light and Canopy, so the wind barely touches the tops… most of the circulation is off the walls :wink:

I think the plants are looking good. I think droopy leaves in morning is normal. I know mine do the same. As soon as they get some light they go back to normal. Keep us posted.

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Thanks, guys! @pogo @outdooring I’ve been giving a little bit of Nature’s Living Soil Girl Flower Power, and I’ve been using liquid kelp the whole time too (cleankelp), and an organic liquid calmag. I use a tiny bit of pH up, if i need it, but I don’t usually need it. Oh, and molasses, but I try to keep it low quantity since it seems to encourage fungus gnats in my tent! Yeah I need to move my intake fan to the bottom. I forgot about that. good idea. And I do have an exhaust fan in the ceiling, or I could try diagonally like you do. The exhaust fan is off right now because I have a humidifier going. Not sure if it matters tho.

I have never been able to run my big exhaust fan all the time and be able to control temp and humidity. Usually running cool mist humidifier and bringing in colder air from outside for cooling with axial fan. I have big fan set up on cycle timer to kick on for maybe 3 minutes every 30 minutes just to bring in some fresh air. Although under humid conditions when plants are well into flowering and transpiring a bunch I hook big fan to humidity controller to pull humid air out of booth and draw in drier air from surrounding room to avoid the expense of running a 600 watt dehumidifier. I do have an oscillating fan blowing over the tops of the plants 24/7.