Seedlings: To Nute, or Not To Nute, that is the question. :)

I’ve had a lot of help from posts, yet I seem to run into ta number of differing opinions on when to add nutrients. Here is where I stand now:

I have three seeds that sprouted, out of five, and now are ~3" to ~4" high, each with cotyledons and the beginnings of the first set of real leaves. They are six days from germination and in Jiffy Pellets, using just water.

The strain is Strawberry Kush from the ILGM seed shop.

While the three sprouted and grew to that height in roughly two days, they are now happily hanging out under a 24W, 2’ 6400K Spectrum Jump Start T5. I haven’t really done anythiing except ensure that their soil remains most and that they have the light available.

The nutrients I have on deck are Nutricare Pure Blend Pro: Grow, CalMag+ and Liquid Karma. The nutrient packaging suggests no PBP for the first two weeks, but does say to add a mild solution of CalMag+ and Liquid Karma to the water.

In grow guids, both here and other sites, I’ve seen opinions where there should be nothing in the first two weeks except water and light, and I’ve also seen where it is suggested that a mild nutrient additive is recommended. There doesn’t seem to be any consensus, but these plants are still just little ladies, still working on sprouting their first set of leaves.

I want to do what is best for their successful growth into young plants, so I thought I would pose the question here.

I am not sure what type of nutrients, if any, are derived from the Jiffy Pellet, and I am not sure how much nutrients are stored in the cotyledons.

I don’t want to be overly zealous on starting the nutes, but I also don’t want to starve them, or limit their development either.

Also, is the single 24W T5 good enough for right now? I have a Platinum LED 600 ready to hang, but I sisn’t want to go from T5 to LED too soon, either.

All suggestions welcome. Thanks in advance for any advice.

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As mentioned many times; Do not add nutrients until a plant has 4-5 strong sets of leaves. There is no need to add nutrients before the plant can uptake it. Let the plant establish roots. If you need to; Place seedling in jiffy pellet in a 3-4" pot until it gains some more height, and leaf sets; Denoting a healthy root zone.


Thank you for the prompt and helpful reply. They are about to come out of their 6 hour dark phase in ~20 minutes.

I was inclined to just give them water and ensure that they are looking well; however, I wasn’t sure how long the plan is able to maintain and establish growth without the added nutrients. I was also uncertain about if the single 2’, 24W T5 was enough light for young plants.

The first day from sprouting, they grew about 2" in stem height in less than 12 hours; however, now, the stem has stablilized at that height, and the first set of leaves are sprouting above the cotyledons.

I think what causes my indecision is photos I see of pants that have so many leaves, yet the posts claim they are just a week into the growth cycle from seed.

I’ll maintain the water / light cycle and keep an eye on them. I am aware that, when I move them to the coco coir /perlite, that those mediums have no nutrients, so I’m maintaning them in the Jiffy Pellets and seeing how they establish themselves.

Thanks again for the reply.

When you see a plant stop growing upwards; That is the 1st indication that the plant is growing roots. As it grows roots it will appear to just sit there. When you see a root poking through the linen on the peat pellet; Get that seedling into a 4" pot. When I have seedlings this age in soil; I water with Liquid Karma.

The T5 is what I use in the tent, or small veg area. Awesome lamp. Perfect for keeping plants healthy and vibrant for as long as you need. When you are ready to transition for veg cycle to bloom cycle; Use the bigger lamp.

Sounds good. I will go with the addition of Liquid Karma once I see the roots.

The one other thing I just thought of, regarding the T5, is distance from seedlings. It is just a single 2’ light, with 24W output, and I’ve seen suggestions that is should be as close as 2" from the seedlings, to avoid stretch, and other suggestions that it should be 4" - 6" away.

I’m not sure a 24W T5 is that hot, so I want to ensure proper distance from the plants.

Thanks also for the info on root formation. I was unaware of this, and will look for signs of roots emerging from the pellets. I’m guesssing that is when I introduce them to the coco / perlite mix.

Cool…Ooops. Coco and Perlite. I thought you were doing a soil grow. No worries. That will be great. Now for clarification. When you move them; Feed them only Liquid Karma at a TBS. per gallon.

As long as the lamp (bulb) is not directly touching the leaves, you will be fine. No more than 2". Otherwise; They stretch. My 2’ T5 is a 4 bulb unit. Love it.

Thanks again for the info. :smile:
As an update, I just noticed that the biggest of the three, slight longer stem and larger leaves, but just cotelydons and the first two regular leaves, upon inspection, has a root growing about an eith of an inch out of the Jiffy Pellet. I she ready to be moved into the larger grow medium?

Thanks again. :smile:

I myself never feed my seeding in till they have sprouted 5 or 6 true sets of leaves.


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That’s right, but you can pot them up.

My one consideration waws that, since coco / perlite has no nutrients, if there would be enough left over from germination / seedling stage in Jiffy Pellets, or if the transfer to coco will create a nutrient deficient medium.

The coco I will be using is Black Gold Just Coir.

Will putting them in peat pots allow me to just transfer them directly into the coco, or do the peat pots need to be removed?

I’m going to try these products of his. .maybe it will help with those critters spider mites.

B Safe


Today I transfered the three seedlings from their initial Jiffy Pellets into peat pots filled with Black Gold pure Coir and some perlite. After doing a good bit of reading, I removed the mesh from the Jiffy Pellets prior to placing them in the new medium; however, I did not disturb their actual pellet. I think this was a good thing, as one of the seedlings actually had a good deal of roots that were not able to penetrate the mesh.

Now that they are in the coco / perlite, I ensured that the soil was moist; however, took the “less is more” approach, and only added water for the moment. They still have their cotyledons, and I have read that they will gather some nutes from themselves for a little while longer. I also didn’t want to introduce too many changes at once.

They are now transplanted, have bigger homes and are back under the T5. I’ll take a look at them tonight, prior to lights out, and see how they are handling the transition. It is my understanding that I also have to make sure that the coco doesn’t dry out too much. I hope this is a correct assumption.

With the next watering, I will introduce a very mild mix of the Liquid Karma and CalMag+. I only plan on using 1/3 of what the container suggests.

Any advice is welcomed and always appreciated. (Now I’m going to be worrying through the night about their well-being. :slight_smile: )

I look forward to seeing your results. :slight_smile:

I recommend starting with Liquid Karma, but mix it as suggested. It is mild. Mix it at 1 TBS. per gallon. If you dilute Liquid Karma, you may as well not use it.

Clamg; Use the lower suggested measure. Can’t remember if it is 3ml, or 5ml. per gallon

@latewood, in checking the suggested levels, CalMag+ for seedlings is 2ml, and the Liquid Karma suggests 5 - 10 ml, so I guess I should start with the 10 ml, as that is 2/3 tbs.

One question I should know, but don’t, is: Do I Ph my water before or after adding the nutes?

**One added worry, is when I just checked in on them, to see how they are doing in the transplant, I noticed that there was a very small winged insect in the tent, by the area where water run-off collects in the tray. I’m inside and not using soil, so I’m not sure what it could be. Hopefully an errant mosquito searching out some humidity. Humidity, btw, is at ~57%.

Thanks again for all of the help. :smile:

Fungus gnats can lay their eggs and have their larva grow in almost anything, and to them coco coir or peat is not really any different than soil. I’ve even seen them have surviving larva with absolutely no soil in an improperly maintained DWC hydro with clay pellets. As long as water is pooling and stagnating with enough wet decomposing material, fungus gnats can thrive. They look the most similar to mosquitoes out of the common pests in most indoor gardens.

Here is a link with tons of good info on different ways to identify if it is indeed fungus gnats or something else as well as various treatments. This person was adamant it couldn’t be fungus gnats, I believe because they were also using the clay hydroton and had no soil, as well as for other possible reasons, but it did turn out to be fungus gnats after all:


@MacGyverStoner, thanks for the advice. So far, I’ve only seen one; however, the conditions here, (sub-tropical - tropical), sound like the kind of environment they like. I’ll make sure to stay on top of it.

You can PH before or after. I PH before, and adjust if necessary before I feed the plants.

Get some yellow sticky traps for the fly. If you develop a group of flies, then use “DE”

@latewood, thx for the advise. I will be introducing the CalMag+ and Liquid Karma on their next watering. I think I’ll do a pre and post Ph test, as I am curious how the nutes will change the water.

Thanks again.