If you are dreaming of a thriving microgreen garden on your windowsill and you are left with a wilted mess, do not lose hope. While these finicky greens might seem like they are standing on their last leg (or root), it does not mean the problem cannot be fixed.
So, what can you do to fix wilted or falling over microgreens? One of these six reasons may be why microgreens are wilting or falling over, and luckily, a solution is known for all of them:
- Not Enough Water
- Not Enough Light
- Too Many or Too Few Seeds
- Water Pressure Is Too High
- Microgreens Are Sick
- Environmental Errors
Microgreens are known for being some of the easiest plants to grow, but when microgreens are starting to look less-than-green, then the root cause of the problem needs to be found. For the most part, wilted microgreens can be quickly and easily saved. In this article, we will show the potential causes of microgreens wilting and falling over and how they can be fixed.
The Six Reasons Microgreens are Wilting and Falling Over
Just because microgreens are wilting doesn’t mean they are destined for the trash can. God created these plants with the ability to make miraculous recoveries. “Common Microgreen Problems” by Kevin Espiritu and Clarisa Teodoro, an article from the Epic Gardening website, gives some advice for fixing wilted microgreens.
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.1 Corinthians 15:22
1. Not Enough Water
Just like any other plant being grown, microgreens need water. Some need more water than others. A good rule of thumb is always to make sure that the soil is damp. But when it comes to microgreens, never saturate the soil like an outdoor garden plant. This can cause the microgreens to become molded and rot.
The first step in helping wilted microgreens is to give them more water, and this could potentially mean a good bit of water at first. Always make sure that the container in which the microgreen is growing has enough drainage holes at the bottom to deal with the excess water.
Enough water and proper drainage are an easy fix, and these are the most common ways to save a wilting batch of microgreens. Give it a shot – but make sure to keep an eye on the plant. If more water isn’t the solution, then a bigger issue could be present.
This article we wrote contains a lot more helpful information about watering microgreens – How Often Should Microgreens be Watered? Important Tips!
2. Not Enough Light
Microgreens are very picky about their placement. They require a good amount of light – much more than other plants, including sprouts. This is why microgreens should always be planted in an area that receives adequate sunlight. If planting indoors, they should be placed in a windowsill or situated under a light.
Light is imperative for microgreen growth. Without enough light, microgreens will begin to have an odd appearance that looks nothing short of inedible. They will begin to grow extra-long and slim, which will then cause them to ‘keel over.’
If the microgreens are looking a little tall and lanky, then it may be because they aren’t getting enough light. Move the microgreens to a different area with more sunlight or consider adding a light on top of the plant.
3. Too Many or Too Few Seeds
While tossing in a few extra microgreen seeds into the same pot is very possible, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will work. Always make sure not to put too many seeds in the same container.
Too many microgreen seeds in a small container will lead to slower germination and growth. This is because too many microgreens in one area will have to fight for resources, such as water, light and essential nutrients for growth. This will lead to the wilting and eventual death of said microgreens.
While it is true that microgreens need to be seeded densely, especially for commercial grows, microgreen seeds should not be placed on top of each other. This will lower the germination. Each seeds needs to have good contact with the growing medium.
If too few seeds are used, this can cause the microgreens to follow over depending on their stage of life. Seeding more enables each plant to support each other and grow tall.
So, what to do? As stated, use microgreen seeds densely but ensure the seeds are not on top of each other. If you are having trouble with determining how much seed to put into your container, take a look at this great article from Home Microgreens – Seed Calculator.
4. Water Pressure Is Too High
Anyone who knows anything about planting and growing microgreens knows that the watering rule of thumb is to mist, mist, mist. Unfortunately, not a lot of growers are particularly fond of spending money on a mister and having to mist their tiny plants a few times throughout the day.
While it may be a bit of a hassle, misting is always the best option. Using a hose or a watering can may be applying too much pressure to the microgreens. This will eventually cause them to wilt since they aren’t strong enough to handle the heavy top-watering.
True Leaf Market has some great watering products and kits for microgreens to make this easy for you!
Gardeners who do not want to mist must find a way to add water in gently. Gentle watering is key when it comes to microgreens because of their small stature. This can be done by bottom watering. Excess water in the tray either needs to be discarded or flow through holes to drain out.
5. Microgreens Are Sick
Yes, microgreens can become sick and they will need help to get better. Along with wilting, a sick microgreen may appear mushy or have mold growing over it that looks similar to a fluffy spider web. Epic Gardening’s article “Damping Off: How to Prevent and Control Seedling Wilt” by Kevin Espiritu gives some advice for getting your microgreens healthy again.
We have also written our own article are fixing mold and smell problems with microgreens that you can check out here – Why Your Microgreens Smell or Have Mold & 6 Easy Fixes.
If microgreens are looking sickly, then it is important to act fast and do the following:
- Make sure the container is clean.
- Increase the overall ventilation.
- Get rid of some seeds to reduce the density in the container.
- Make sure there is proper drainage.
- Clean hands and tools before touching the microgreens.
- Make sure that soil is the right temperature. 70 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal.
- Provide enough light.
While there is no way to cure microgreens completely, the disease can be stopped dead in its tracks and prevented from progressing or moving to other microgreens in the batch. Remember, microgreens can avoid sickness by being planted and cared for properly, so make sure to plant microgreens the correct way.
Here is a great video by Garden Answer that shows the best way to plant microgreens.
6. Environmental Errors
Microgreens are a little picky when it comes to their environment. If they aren’t getting exactly what they want, then they may end up falling over and not growing in general. According to the blog “7 Reasons Why Microgreens Falling Over” from MicroVeggy.com, if microgreens are wilting, then take a look at the environmental conditions.
A few environmental factors will cause a microgreen to be unhappy:
- The temperature is too high. Microgreens like it to be around 70 degrees for proper growth.
- Not enough humidity is present. Microgreens are lovers of humidity, so if necessary, consider purchasing a humidifier.
- Not enough light is present. If a microgreen is not receiving efficient sunlight, then consider purchasing a grow light.
- The soil is bad. Any plant will suffer without quality soil. The soil may be lacking the nutrients needed for proper growth. Always make sure to use top-notch soil. If the soil is cheap, then the plant may need to be re-potted with better soil.
Whether growing microgreens for creative salad-making or a splash of flavor on steak, no gardener wants to see wilted microgreens in the garden. Luckily, wilted microgreens are almost always an easy fix, and most problems can be avoided by simply planting microgreens properly and taking care of them the correct way.
If you would like to get started growing microgreens or need a boost in your supplies, we highly recommend checking out our affiliate at True Leaf Market. They have microgreen seeds, supplies, starter kits, and anything else you can think of to make your production a success!