We’ve seen it time and again: someone gets all excited to start their seeds indoors, but each year, their baby plants fail, for one reason or another. 

In this article, we’ve identified the 5 most common problems people have when they start seeds indoors… and how you can avoid these mistakes.

Not Keeping Seeds Warm Enough

Finding the balance between too warm or too cold can be difficult for a plant. Some do well with cooler temperatures, but others may be severely damaged or even die in those temperatures. 

It is important to look at each plant’s needs individually before starting them. What works for lettuce may not necessarily work for tomatoes. 

Trying to fix the problem is easier than you may think. If you don’t know what temperature your plant should be in, be sure to look that up individually. 

Once you’ve found the proper heat for your seeds, try to put them in a place with little to no draft. If you are in a drafty apartment or house, investing in a heat mat could provide you with the optimum temperature for your seeds. 


Not Giving Your Seeds Enough Light

A sunny window won’t cut it! More times than not, seeds need more light than you think they do. 

However, finding the perfect amount of sunlight is difficult. If the seeds are put into an extremely sunny window from the very beginning, it will make them grow faster, but the seeds will become spindly and weak. 

If there is not enough light, they won’t grow very quickly, and they will grow weak trying to grow toward the sun. 

The best way to fix this problem is to grow seeds indoors with an artificial light. This way, the light can be perfectly synced to the needs of the seeds, and can be properly monitored by you as you go through the growing process. 

Not Preparing Them For Life Outside

When you grow a plant indoors, the life of the plant is certainly much easier than that of a plant that was grown outdoors. There are no hardships for a plant indoors, which means that it will need to go through the process of “hardening off”.

“Hardening off” is preparing your plant, little by little, to life outdoors. This can be done by setting the plant outside for a couple hours a day to have it adjust to different temperatures and other things like wind. 

This is a great way to have your plants begin the journey of toughening up so they can withstand the troubles outdoors. 

After all, if you leave your plant indoors and one day you decide to plant it outside, it most likely will not survive. It must acclimate, just like humans do, to the new situations around itself. 

They’re Dealing With Inadequate Soil

Just like with sunlight or temperature, each plant has a different need when it comes to soil. Luckily many plants are grouped together within the kinds of soil they need, so planting doesn’t become too difficult for you. 

You must test your soil. This will give you an accurate understanding of the PH level of the soil, and ensure it’s a healthy one. You can find a soil testing kit at Stockslagers Greenhouse and Garden Center!

Composting can also be a great way to add nutrients into the soil if it is lacking. Throwing natural foods away into your compost bin and letting nature run its course is a great way to not only let Earth be healthy while you’re gardening, but also save money on fertilizers. 

With the correct PH level and nutrients, your seeds will start beautifully indoors, and carry nicely to the outdoors. Just remember to keep the soil PH levels and nutrients constant throughout the change in environments! This will help to keep your plant healthy as it acclimates from indoors to outdoors. 

You’re Over- or Under-Watering

Finding the correct amount of water for a plant can be a bit of a “trial and error”. Sometimes, even research can keep the correct amount of water a plant needs as a mystery. However, a general rule of thumb is to keep the plant watered only if the soil begins to slightly dry out. 

If you are over or under-watering your seeds, this can cause the growth to cease or slow the process greatly. With your seeds’ growth, you want to aim for a slow and steady growth, rather than a rapid growth. 

This slow growth ensures that the seed is getting all of the nutrients it needs, and keeps the seed strong as it’s not using all of its energy focusing on something else it needs. 

Water is essential to growing the seeds into strong plants. Because of this, it can be a make or break situation if the seeds do not get watered one day, or even if there is inconsistent watering happening. 

Simply do your research, carefully and thoroughly, to ensure that the water pattern matches what the soon-to-be thriving plant needs. 

Be consistent!

Knowing what your plant needs simply requires thought and care through a little bit of research and a whole lot of devotion. 

With these tips, you’ll be sure to have your indoor seeds grow into strong and healthy outdoor plants in no time at all. 

Join Our Facebook Group: Gardeners Supporting Gardeners in Southwest Ohio

Do you have questions about starting seeds indoors for your Dayton-area garden? Feel free to stop by Stockslagers Greenhouse and Garden Center near Dayton, Ohio to talk to our gardening experts, or join our supportive Facebook group, “Gardeners Supporting Gardeners in Southwest Ohio“, so you can connect with other gardeners in the Southwest Ohio region and get all your questions answered.

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