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I planted a seed from a pomegranate, and it successfully started to grow. However, the seed's shell is still remaining on top of the sprout, stopping the leaves from opening.

I am worried that the sprout will not get enough sunlight (as its leaves cannot be fully exposed to sun).

So should or should I not manually remove the seed?

It has been looking like this for 3 or 4 days now:

pomegranate sprout

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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Leave it alone. This plant is so tiny you might injure it. This is a totally natural process. Seriously. Leave it alone.

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Removing it doesn't harm the plant. Seedlings are tougher than people give them credit for. I've done it dozens of times and know others that do it too. I've left seedlings in this state in the past to see what would happen. The seed doesn't always come off on it's own and the growth of the plant is stunted compared to other seedlings. –  OrganicLawnDIY Jun 23 at 17:02
    
Absolutely, but this particular seedling is so tiny, I'd leave it alone. They'll shed the seed case soon enough. Also, there is the risk of transferring virus or bacteria from your fingers that I feel is a worse risk than shedding a seed case that can only damage the cotyledons, aesthetically. And even though the top is growing slowly, the roots are trying to get established. If you fuss with this tiny seedling, you could end up ruining it's roots. –  stormy Jun 23 at 18:29
    
Washing hands before handling seedlings should be SOP but you don't actually touch the seedling while removing the seed. Sometimes you can even knock it off using a spray bottle on stream. Like I said, it's common to remove it in this case and I haven't heard of anyone that has had a problem. The seed husk will not always come off on it's own and plants left in this state for a long period overall perform worse than other plants in my experience. Do you have any references or experience that backs up your opinion? –  OrganicLawnDIY Jun 23 at 18:41
    
Grin...40 years experience, minimum. Hey, I've taken the seed casings off many times. I can't help myself. And I've damaged seedlings by doing so. Truly, there is no right or wrong answer here. I just read this guy got a pomegranet seed going, versus an easy plant like radish, and I am just helping to go through my decision process. I wish making decisions about plants were black and white but they just aren't. You aren't wrong...I'd leave it alone for awhile and probably try to help the plant out when it is bigger. Compare this to c-sections for giving birth...? –  stormy Jun 23 at 19:36
    
stormy, OrganicLawnDIY, thank you both. The husk fell off today by itself. –  Vladimir Mos Jun 23 at 21:43

That happens sometimes. I wet my thumb and forefinger and use them to squeeze the seed coating along the edge of the seed to open it up, then carefully pull it off. Think of how you would squeeze a sunflower seed open. After you remove it the seedling should grow normally from my experience. Even if it's been like that for a few days. If you don't remove it, it may stay like that.

This year I had a pepper seedling come up where none of the cotyledons were exposed. It stayed like that for a week. Once I removed it the plant started to grow normally.

Some other seedlings had the same issue but not as bad. The cotyledons didn't open up completely because of it. Removing the seed husk doesn't damage the seedling if you're careful.

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