Sickly Seedlings

These plants are now three weeks old. Sprouted fine - dark green for awhile, now yellowing. Using a 300 watt LED Apollo Horticulture fixture. Started at 24 inches away (very bright), tried 5 inches, now back to 20 inches. Nothing works. Soil is potting mix for vegetables, and garden soil 50/50. Just started watering with miracle grow - no results yet. Not over-watering. They just don’t seem to want to grow. Room temp is constant 70 degrees F. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.


Too early for miracle gro?

The thing that keeps bugging me is the soil…this is what I would do. Take your kids out of thoughs pots very gently and place them aside then change that soil with planting soil and only planting soil only. Mix up some root shock with water make your holes and place your kids in the holes and add shock and water. this has worked for me in the past maybe for you to. Oh and keep hot lights away from your kids.


Let’s get you started with a support ticket, answer all the relevant questions that haven’t been already answered and we might be able to get an idea of what is going on.

ILGM Support Ticket:

What is the strain?

Indoor or Outdoor? If outdoor, planted in ground or in a container? – indoor

Size of space?

Soil or Hydro? Type of Medium used? – Soil is potting mix for vegetables, and garden soil 50/50

pH? Of the soil or medium (root zone) and of the water that is fed to the plant?

Type of nutrients used? NPK? EC/PPM levels?

Temperature? Day vs. night temp or highest and lowest temps? Root zone temps? – Room temp is constant 70 degrees F

Humidity %?

Light system/watts/lumens/FLUX/PAR? – 300 watt LED Apollo Horticulture fixture

Number “weeks/days” from into Season, Vegetative Growth or Bloom/flowering? – seedlings three weeks old

Honestly, they look really bad. I don’t think they can be saved. They might have been nuked by the lights too close but they also look like they might have nute burn. It is really hard to say or know without knowing the nutrient values in the soil or the pH. the easiest way to have an idea of the nutrient values in the soil is to check the EC/TDS/PPM of the runoff, testing this for the pH would also help a lot.

Great idea MacG! We can help you out much more efficiently with the above support ticket filled out. Peace :slight_smile:

Hello friends,

Thanks for the many great suggestions. I will get back to you on pH in a day. The strains are Northern Lights and your favorite Gold variety. Only one of the Gold sprouted, and I have 4 Northern lights. 5 plants total, but all very weak. I’ll try re-potting in potting soil 100%. I’m in the desert and relative humidity is low, but they are sprayed twice a day to compensate. Soil will stay damp all day if watered in the morning, so perhaps the RH is not too bad right now (December). I will get back to you on N P K content of the potting soil. grow room is 6 by 6. LED light has a blower fan for cooling. What is nute burn?

Thanks again, you guys are the best…


Nute burn is a brunt look to the plant from too strong of nutrients.

Sorry for the delay…

pH is 7, so the real concern is humidity, light or soil. I gently removed all of the plants, and placed them in pure potting soil. They are now in a container with a translucent lid to hold in moisture. They are still under the Apollo LED. One of the plants has been moved to a cfl bulb only, and has a plastic cup on top to increase humidity. I have planted two more seeds in pure potting soil - both under just the cfl. I am watering with just water - no miracle grow. I do not plan on fertilizer or booster until plants are established.
i will keep you updated weekly. This is sad…

Hang in there Steverino, You’ll be surprised what some strains can endure.
It can’t hurt to try, I put 15 outside they were their for about two weeks and some dam
animal was eating them up. had only 3 left, I dug them up and brought them back inside.
It took another 2 weeks before they really started to come back. As a matter of fact I just pulled them and hung them up to dry. At least I got something out of my loss and I hope you do to.
I hope what I said helps you to keep your head up and hang in there buddy’

P.S Did you clean them up getting some of that dead stuff off?


Thanks for the positive message Will. Actually, they look a little greener already. I am hopeful a few might make it. I’ll post before and after photos next Saturday. Should have two new sprouts as well…


No problem Steverino, sounds hopeful brother. Look forward to Staurday.


I just had another thought…I did not try using a different potting soil. I am currently using an organic mix of composted rice hulls, chicken droppings and worm casings. It is for indoor/outdoor use but comes in the large 25 lb bags. If the chicken fertilizer was not thoroughly composted, it would definitely burn the roots of the seedlings (nutes?) I need to try my new seeds with a more expensive, neutral potting soil…


A good consideration. It is not so much the chicken droppings not being thoroughly composted, but chicken compost has very high nitrogen levels and that is what will burn your seedlings or roots. You need something with very little NPK, Nitrogen, Phosphorous and (K)potassium. Often seedling soil mixtures are cheaper than regular potting soil as they do not have the extra compost or nutrients added.

Steverino, I don’t know if you have this or not but you can download the Grow Bible i’em a big fan of this book. Everything you need is wright there.
I swear by it big time. Every time a come up with a problem. I go stright to the book.
Hell I read the book twice before I started my grow…L)OL
Anyway, hope this will help ya.


The seedlings look very poor after 4 weeks now. Last week I planted one Northern Lights and One Golf Leaf. Pictures are below. They were planted in identical settings - CFL at 5 inches, 70 degrees F, Low NPK potting soil from Miracle grow (.23% N .11%P .16% K) 7.0 pH, approx 50% rel humidity). Huge difference in the growing pattern. I am not sure which is which, but I think the healthy plant is Northern lights.

The original 5 seeds planted, due to nute burn are not recovering well. No new growth…drying out…soon to die. I’m not totally convinced the Gold leaf seeds are a healthy strain…Sorry Rob… I’ve tried everything with no success. I still have 3 left…will wait for Spring to try again…I will palnt some Northern Lights as well and send photos of the reults.


Ok, maybe I’ll say it again, seedlings do not need nutrients in the soil. It is best to start your seeds in a seedling starter mix, from Miracle gro is fine, but it should be a seedling starter for the first few weeks and they only need water during this time. When I said low, I meant really low, Miracle Gro seedling mix NPK is like 0.03-0.03-0.03

The problems you are having is not because the Golden Leaf is a weak or unhealthy strain, but it is a little more advanced of a strain to grow. And Northern Lights is kind of famous for being an exceptionally hearty strain, great for beginners, you could almost drop a nuclear bomb on it and it would still grow.

What a lot of people do, especially when growing indoors and wanting to make use of all the soil in containers that has to be of a limited size, is to start in a 8 oz or 16 oz disposable cup. This would contain only the seedling starter mix. Grow for a couple of weeks in this container to develop a large root zone, kinda letting the container get lightly root bound, starting in a large deep pot means almost all the roots go straight down and not much of the nutrients stored in the soil on the sides of the large container is available to the plant. By upping the size of the container a couple of times means a much larger root zone and faster/better growth above the ground. Only when going to the second container do you use soil with nutrients in it.

And the humidity could be a lot higher, seedlings do a lot better/faster growth with a humidity of around 70-80% and keeping a light breeze on them. They need the air flow over the leaves to “breathe”, kinda the way some fish need to keep moving to have water move past their gills, you need this air motion and high humidity to make sure the plants are transpiring or “breathing” and taking in lots of CO2 to grow fast and BIG.

Also you should have your water pH’ed at 6.5 for growing in soil, maybe even slightly lower, you wan’t your root zone to actually be at about 6.3-6.5 for better root development and nutrient uptake.

Thanks for the reply. I’ll take care of those conditions next time…In my defense - here is what the bible says:

Germination Soil
This brings up an obvious question: “What kind of soil should I use for germination?” At many garden centers, you will find soils that are marketed specifically as “germination soils.” Nothing really separates these soils from more conventional soils except that they have certain nutrients and won’t contain any
composted material. Look for soils that have an NPK (Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium) ratio of around 5:1:1 or 8:4:4. Really, any soil composed of more nitrogen than the other two nutrients will be adequate for germinating marijuana seeds.

I do appreciate your help thanks,


No problem, that is why I clarified.

As far as exactly what the e-book says, I think it also says before that spot, that there are a lot of different ways to do it when working with soil. I think it mentions germinating with a paper towel or napkin and has a link, that is about germination, to the guides section here on this web-site that covers some of the recommendations with early seedlings.

Also here is the newest article on germination and early seedlings from the blog:

Also, that’s what Latewood and I’m here for, lol. Trying to help out and clarify and give recommendations that will increase your success.

Hello ILGM staff - Happy New Year.

I planted the last of my seeds on Dec. 30th. (The first 8 that were pictured in the beginning of our dialog have died - to nute burn more than likely). I say this because these last 6 seeds germinated and are growing very nicely. Actually, three of the six germinated, the other 3 did not - they were very pale seeds however…

The results are pictured below. The taller plant was germinated December 15 (almost 4 weeks ago). The short one next to it is Northern Lights (Dec. 30th - almost 2 weeks ago) The second picture has two Gold Leaf - Dec. 30 (almost 2 weeks ago).

I am leaving these plants under cfl for 4 more weeks, and will then be transplanting them into large pots to remain in the patio as the weather here in the California desert is very nice in late Feb, early March. I am legally allowed 6 plants, but because of the soil disaster and some pale seeds, I will only have 4…still not bad for $80…

My soil for the pots is a bit of an unknown. What do you think I should use? I have composted potting soil (high NPK), I have Miracle grow potting soil (low NPK), vermiculite, and also the white material for water retention. Also, when are the young plants ready for fertilizer supplementation?



I think you will be fine. Now, let them grow. Try not to change anything and allow them to fluorish naturally. Good Luck, :slight_smile: lw