Elongated, stretchy stems are the bane of any new marijuana grower. They don’t provide the seedling, which can end up affecting the plant throughout its lifecycle. But, getting rid of the stretchy stem is really a matter of replanting the seedling so it doesn’t continue to grow disproportionately. When they’re in their seedling stage, stems will stretch out for a variety of reasons, but generally because the light is too high and they are trying to “reach” up towards it. Lowering your lights can keep you from experiencing this problem.

But, first, let’s talk about how to fix the problem if it occurs to you. The first thing you want to do is make sure the soil is dry. If it’s wet, the roots will have a tendency to cling and you don’t want them to be damaged in any way. Then, very carefully remove the marijuana seedling from its current container. Clean off the roots so that there is no more soil attached.

You may want to use a deeper container or just dump the soil out from the seedling’s current container. Leave a little bit of soil in the bottom of whatever container you decide to use so that the roots won’t try to grow through the drain holes. Place the seedling down in the container in such a way that you can bury the stem. It is ideal to bury the stem almost completely so that only the Cotyledon leaves are showing. After that, provide the marijuana plant with just a touch of water to get it going again.

Fixing the Problem of Long, Stretchy Stems
Fixing the Problem of Long, Stretchy Stems – Image powered by Growweedeasy.com

At this point, your stem will be buried and it will eventually start to grow roots of its own. This is something that can apply to little seedlings and even incredibly long, emaciated stems. Again, as long as you’re extremely gentle with the plant, you should cause no harm and the plant will not be stressed.

To avoid stretchy stems make sure your marijuana seedlings get enough light an place them under a cfl bulb (3 watt per seedling). Distance between plant and cfl bulb should be around 2 inch. Distance between plant and HPS bulb should be around 40 inch for seedlings (20 inch for vegging plants) but make sure temperatures don’t exceed 77 ºF.

If you’ve ever had any experience with stretchy stems or if you have any solutions you’d like to share, let us know in the comments. Also, don’t hesitate to share the article with your friends or like it on Facebook 😉


The founder of I Love Growing Marijuana, Robert Bergman is a marijuana growing expert that enjoys sharing his knowledge with the world. He combines years of experience, ranging from small-scale grows to massive operations, with a passion for growing. His articles include tutorials on growing... [read more]


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  1. By mic angelis

    ,06 Jan 2014
    Hi great article but can someone tell me where I can buy resin in and around fleet, I’m disabled and use it for pain relief but no longer get out and about, help please!!!!
  2. By Jake

    ,05 Dec 2016
    I got a bunch of stretchy seeds stems and my Rockwell I don’t want to transfer to dirt can I cut some of the stem off and put it back in the rockwool
  3. By latewood.ILGM

    ,06 Dec 2016
    Jake, How did you cut some of the stem off? That would render a plant useless. Never heard that one before, LOL Happy growing 🙂
    1. By Rusty Brown

      ,23 Apr 2017
      Jake said “…CAN I cut some of the stem”. A little punctuation might have helped.
  4. By dayzer0

    ,01 Nov 2017
    I just had to do this and I was very nervous about burying her up to her neck and I found this article so good news today
    1. By pakistan friend

      ,11 Oct 2018
      hey i just topped up the soil, buried to the neck! i was pretty sure that i had my seedlings closed enough to light source (2x19w led bulbs,10 cms distance with 4 seedlings). Or maybe i should have filled the […]Read More
  5. By MrBachGreens

    ,15 Dec 2017
    I use a solo cup for my Seedlings, and I use Promix 50/50. I’ve learnt to only fill the solo cup 3/4 of the way when starting the seed. Once the seedling stem stretch is done or slows down; I […]Read More
    1. By Mark

      ,22 Jun 2018
      If I had been informed by the company I bought my seeds from this is exactly what I would have done. I am hesitant about disrupting my spindly little seedlings at this point so I am going to extend the […]Read More

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