Instructables

HELP! when ever I start seeds indoors they get all spindly and die, What am I doing wrong?

After my seeds sprout they shoot up a couple of inches and are so thin they fall over and die, what can i do to save them? I plant the seeds in sprouting trays from the nursery, and cover with a thin layer of soil, can i do something different? Please help

Starting seeds indoors can be difficult if you don't have enough light (and although thematthatter has a good point about damping-off, it does sound like it's a classic case of etiolation--not enough light).

If you can't grow near a window where the seedlings will get direct sunlight (bright light is OK for some plants, but most need more light intensity) then get one of those fluorescent light fixtures from the hardware store and put in one cool bulb and one warm bulb (color type, not temperature; plants photosynthesize using the red and blue light spectra).

Hang the light so that  it's about 18 inches above the foliage, and make sure you can raise it as the plants grow.

Make sure to shake your plants on a daily basis, too.  Sounds strange, but that's what the wind would do in nature, and the plants respond by strengthening their stems.  And when you go to plant them outside, make sure you "harden them off" first.  Don't just put them outside and expect them to be happy; they've been living indoors for weeks or months, and if they aren't immediately killed (too hot, too cold, too much light intensity--they'll sunburn, too dry, etc.) they will at least be stunted.
Z..4 years ago
Might not be so, but I would say that that is a classic sign of struggling for light.

Growing plants need light to photosyn...to photosynth....

They need light dammit!! :)
thats damping off. its a fungus that affects the roots and the heavy plants fall over and dry off
Kiteman4 years ago
They need more light.

As soon as they break the surface of the soil, move the tray to a sunny windowsill and keep the soil moist.