Fixing the Problem of Long, Stretchy Stems

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 2
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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.

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    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 


    Robert Bergman

    Robert Bergman is an Amsterdam-based marijuana grow expert who has years of experience from small grows to massive operations. His passion for growing lead him to develop his own Gold Leaf strain. Now, Robert is dedicated to sharing his knowledge with the world.... [Read full bio]


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    • Grow With My Quick Start Guide
    • Discover Secrets To Big Yields
    • Avoid Common Grow Mistakes

      10 comments on “Fixing the Problem of Long, Stretchy Stems”

      1. I put a hole in a piece of tin foil and place it over the plant so that the light reflects upward and keeps the plant from being too stretchy.

      2. I did mine outside with 10 hours of sunlight a day. They are not about 2 weeks old and 4″ tall. Only 4 leaves. Again OUTSIDE. Why so strechy and tall?

      3. 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 soil to the rim of the pot…

      4. 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 height of the cup and hence the soil depth around the seedling stem by using duct tape. We’ll see how it works

      5. 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 simply fill up the cup with a bit more promix soil (I do this at the time when a watering is needed, as it is important that the water eliminates any air pockets within the newly added soil-less – soil mix. Lol.

      6. 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

      7. Jake said “…CAN I cut some of the stem”. A little punctuation might have helped.

      8. Jake,

        How did you cut some of the stem off? That would render a plant useless. Never heard that one before, LOL

        Happy growing 🙂

      9. 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

      10. 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!!!!