In this article, you will learn about the 4 most common seed starting problems and their solutions. You can harvest 3 times more than other gardeners if you start seeds indoors at the right time.

Experienced gardeners start seeds indoors about 6 to 8 weeks before the season starts. This gives them early harvest and they grow more batches of plants in a single season.

The problem with this technique is starting seeds indoors is not easy (especially for beginners). New growers face many seed-starting problems. So, I decided to help them by writing informative articles on the 4 most common seed-starting problems and solutions.

Let’s start

The 4 Most common seed-starting problems are:

Why do my seeds never Germinate?

There are many reasons responsible for no or fewer germinates seeds. But many times, our lack of knowledge is responsible for germination problems. The common germination problems and their solutions are:

Old Seeds

Do not use seeds older than 200 days for germination if they were not stored well. The germination ability of stored seeds decreases with time (as they get older). If you want to store your own seeds from your garden. You need to find a suitable place for them.

A cool and dry place is perfect for storing seeds. Make sure there is no humidity or warmth in the area where seeds are stored for later use. Because this reduces the germination power of seeds to less than 50 %.

Too high or too low temperature

Every type of seed has different needs and problems if not cared properly. For example, some vegetables grow in the winter season while others in summer. So, when you want to germinate cool crop seeds like CabbageKale, and broccoli. You need to give your germinating seeds low temperature.

Whereas tomato seeds like warm temperatures to germinate because tomato is a summer season crop.

Let’s say you are germinating tomato seeds 8 weeks before the last frost. At this time your basement temperature will be less than 70 to 80 F. This is not suitable for the tomato seeds. Now you need to give extra warmth to your germinating seeds.

How will you do this?

Use the best quality Seedling Heat Mats to keep the germinating medium warm enough for a high success rate.

Learn more about seedling heat mats


This is the most common seed starting problem among new growers. Due to the lack of experience beginner growers plant seeds too deep. Deeply planted seeds do not get enough light to germinate. The golden rule is making a hole in the growing medium with the pencil and put seeds in it. Then just cover it to protect it from surrounding weather.

Rockwool cubes are mostly recommended seed starting medium. Germinating seeds in the loosely packed growing medium are fast and easy. This also has a high success rate.

Always read the pack of seeds to know how many hours of light is enough for such type. Because for every vegetable or other plant we have many types of seeds. For example, Hybrid seeds, Semi hybrid seeds, High harvest seeds, etc.

Seeds Germinate but Die before becoming seedlings

Your seeds germinate and die before becoming strong seedlings. If this happens every time you need to pay more attention to this part. Because you are going to know what you are doing wrong and how you can prevent Dampening off?

Disease-free Soil

Diseases present in your soil or seed starting tray is the main cause behind dampening off. The first step is change your soil or not using it for germination. Shift to the best solutions like coco coir or rock wool cubes or clay pallets.

If you are already using a seedling tray then wash your try with soap and sanitize it well. This will kill  all the bad bacteria that sits at the bottom of tray pockets.

Stop Over Watering

Seeds need moist soil for sprouting but this doesn’t mean you should give them plenty of water. In this stage, we do not pour water. You need to spray or mist water onto the sowing seeds. This protects your seeds from overwatering.

Once your seedlings are 6 inches long then you can stop misting and give them water by a cup or container. But still in limited quantity.

Tightly planted seeds

Once your seeds sprout, they need fresh air to breathe. Every plant needs fresh air to breathe otherwise they will die due to insufficient supply of oxygen.

Do not put more than recommended seeds into one pocket of the seed starting tray. If you already did it then take out some of the seedlings to make some room. Transfer them to the different tray and if you only have one tray. Take any container put some seed starting mix and plant seedlings in it. You can use any yogurt or milk containers.

My Seedlings are not growing strong

Below are the reasons and solutions to the stunted growth of seedlings.

Incorrect Temperature range

As I have already mentioned that every seed and seedling needs different treatment. You cannot grow all types of plants in one kind of environment. Because some plants need more heat and water while others like a cool and dry place to thrive.

So, make sure your seedlings are incorrect temperature range. Read the instructions carefully written on the seed package. Or E-mail me directly what you are growing and what are the problems you are facing. I will help you to grow plants from seedlings.

Lack of Nutrients

Your seedlings will die before they get mature if the soil you use for germinating them is nutrient deficient. Therefore, always use high-quality nutrient-rich soil for sprouting seeds. If you accidentally use your old garden soil that does not have a high amount of nutrients. You should add some high-quality nutrients in it before using it for starting seeds indoors. Otherwise, you will face seed starting problems for sure.

Excess Water

Overwatering is the main cause of the unhealthy growth of seedlings. When the soil contains a high amount of water it became heavy. This makes it impossible for the plant to get enough oxygen through roots. Moreover, waterlogged soil also causes root diseases.

When you see yellow tips of your seedling leaves then please stop giving water to grow healthy plants.

My new seedlings are tall and thin

This is due to the insufficient light in the growing area. When plants don’t get enough light, they get stretched towards the light source. This makes them tall, leggy, and thin. Improve the light in the grow room your problem will be solved in few days.

Rotate the seedlings tray

If you are not using grow light you will definitely face this problem. Seedlings on the south-facing window commonly face stunted growth. Because one side of the tray gets enough sunlight than the other side (inner side).

If this is your situation always rotates the tray after every 2 days. So that each part of the tray gets sufficient light.

Put them outside

If outside is warm and sunny put your seedlings outside in the morning time. 5 hours per day is enough for them then move them back on their place. Place them in a protected area where seedlings do not get in touch with cold winds.

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