I started Echinacea angustifolia and Rudbeckia hirta seedlings recently.

I do watering by spraying if I can see or touch almost dry soil in cells. In the begining, I sprayed the trays with water every 2-3 days. However, the need for water increased as seedlings developed! Today and yesterday I needed to spray them twice a day.

Is this expected? Do you guys have similar experiences?

The pictures of my seedling trays:


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  • Whatever the method used for watering, I'd suggest you pay extra attention to the corners, as they usually dry out earlier than the rest because they are often a few mm above the collecting tray (I mean the 4 cells in the corners). This happened with all the seed-trays I have worked with.
    – Alina
    Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 20:54
  • @Alina Or perhaps they are exposed to environment from two sides, being the corner cells. Very nice hint! I will do that. Thanks a bunch!
    – VividD
    Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 20:59
  • @Alina I just put a little bit of extra water in all 8 corner cells, ha!
    – VividD
    Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 21:22
  • are they covered? Commented Mar 24, 2018 at 3:31
  • @blackthumb No.
    – VividD
    Commented Mar 24, 2018 at 6:49

1 Answer 1


Assuming you haven't increased the room temperature, the explanation is that the seedlings are growing. As they develop, they put out roots and the root takes up water from the soil to supply the topgrowth. The bigger they get, the more roots they will make, and the more water they will use.

One more thing - many of the Rudbeckia seedlings are pretty crowded in their cells - if you want to use every single one of them, they should be pricked out into individual cells while their root material is still fairly minimal. If you don't want to use them all, remove some to allow the remaining seedlings to develop properly.

  • Perfect, Bamboo. Glad you added removing all but one seedling per section. Wait too much longer that won't be able to happen successfully. Vivid, only water when the soil is dry. The evaporation from the soil because of the heat/lights is huge, Those plants are sucking up water to use with CO2 to make their own food with which to grow larger and be able to maintain that mass of plant material. Pull out all but one maybe two baby plants per pot. Now. Are these to be planted out of doors, I hope?
    – stormy
    Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 1:06
  • Rereading more carefully, stop spraying to water. Good at first but now you do have to pour water to soak the soil with water dripping out the bottom. Lift the bottom of those starter trays off the surface. When the roots begin to show through the bottom drain hole that is the time that plant needs up potting...a 3 or 4" pot with potting soil.
    – stormy
    Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 1:09
  • @stormy It looks it's just impractical for me to continue spraying - the soil needs more water, so I will have to switch to pouring water from a glass... Thanks for the hints!!
    – VividD
    Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 17:42
  • Spraying water works well from seed to cotyledon. Start soaking but allow that soil to dry out a bit before watering again.
    – stormy
    Commented Mar 24, 2018 at 5:38

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