Caring for Seedlings

Follow these basic guidelines and your seedlings will have a much better chance of growing into healthy, mature plants:

  • Don’t leave seedlings in their punnets; plant them out as soon as you get them home as this will allow the root systems to adapt to the new environment.
  • Always water your seedlings both before and immediately after transplanting to prevent the roots drying out. Once transplanted, water the seedlings regularly to compensate for root loss which may occur during transplanting. Apply a fine mulch to help conserve moisture in the soil.
  • Protect the roots of seedlings during transplanting from punnets. Use a sharp knife to separate the individual plants, keeping as much soil around the roots as possible. Roots should never be folded over, rather use a sharp knife or secateurs to shorten them. Do not pull seedlings apart as this will more than likely damage the root structure and although they may grow into mature plants they will have fundamental root weaknesses and may snap off at the base.
  • Protect from slugs and snails as they can demolish newly planted seedlings overnight. You can use a low-toxicity snail bait.
  • Slow release fertilisers ensure that seedlings get the nutrients they need whilst they adapt to their new environment, but do not apply until they are well-rooted and producing new growth.