The seedling phase of cannabis plants

Why is stretching a problem?

Why do seedlings stretch?

How to prevent and stop stretching

How to fix stretched cannabis plants

Stretching be gone


Are your seedlings stretching and falling over? You might need to change how you’re caring for your precious plants. Stretching sounds like a great idea early in the morning; refreshing and satisfying. When marijuana crops lengthen, it’s not as good.

If your seedlings extend in their early growth phase, issues can occur further down the line if left untreated. Read further to find out what causes this phenomenon and how to prevent and fix it.

Let’s begin.


cannabis seedlings stretching too much


The seedling phase of cannabis plants

The seedling phase in cannabis plants lasts around 23 weeks, during which they need 6–18 hours of sunlight daily. You’ll know your crop is in its seedling stage when it starts developing fan leaves.


seedlings are tall and leggy


As the seedling grows, it displays single-bladed leaves with serrated edges and slowly produces subsequent sets. A mature marijuana shrub has around 5–7 blades per leaf, but some have more.

Cannabis crops are considered seedlings until the maximum amount of foliage appears. The roots are still small and immature, so watch how much you water them. Your delicate seedlings are also susceptible to mold, so keep them safe from pests and pathogens.


Why is stretching a problem?

You might think larger plants are better, but that’s not always the case. When young crops extend and lengthen, it can be detrimental to your harvest. As a result, preventing weed seedling stretching is essential.


The cannabis seedling stage is possibly the most crucial cultivating phase. How the young plants grow from the beginning determines their health later on.

If the stems are too spindly, they won’t be able to hold up the weight of the flowers. If they’re too tall, the seedling becomes weaker and more susceptible to breaking or falling over. Indoor plants often stretch toward light and need close monitoring before it’s too late.


Why do seedlings stretch?

You now know that unnecessary lengthening is a bad sign, but what exactly causes seedling stretching?

Identifying the causes of the problem is essential in fixing and preventing future cases. The more aware you are about the health of your seedlings, the better they’ll turn out in the end.

Is your weed seedling falling over? Expanding causes low yield in your plants, which is extremely problematic. Falling over occurs when the baby crops stretch. Leggy plants look strange and unusual.

Below are some examples of why seedlings stretch. 


cannabis seedling fell over



Inconsistent watering of your plants can result in issues. The soil often dries out between days, inhibiting the seedling from growing optimally.

The longer the seedling lacks correct moisture, the more likely it will stretch. The crops can’t draw the needed nutrients from the soil, which may also happen if any of your seeds fail to germinate.


stretched seedlings


Poor temperature control

Ensuring the correct temperature for cannabis growing is essential and should be regulated at 68–77°F. If the conditions in the area of the seedlings are too high, the stems will develop uncontrollably.

Ensure that nighttime temps remain around 59–68°F. Studies show that most weed seedling stretching cases occur in the early hours of the morning due to the degree change.


leggy cannabis seedlings


Wrong lighting

An important factor in stretching is bad lighting for your crop. Low-quality lamps or incorrect distancing from the source is harmful. The extra space causes the seedlings to reach toward the bulb or sunshine in an attempt to receive enough light.

Grow lights are crucial to ensure the perfect illumination for your cannabis crops. A distance of 2–4 inches between the plant and the light source is best.


Not enough space

When planting cannabis seeds, you may find it easier to group them. However, it may cause stretching and other growth issues down the line.

Having overcrowded seedlings in the early stages makes them grow taller as they compete with each other for light.



Just as genetics cause humans to grow taller, the DNA of marijuana plays a role in plant growth. Indica strains are typically shorter than the loftier sativas, which can grow up to 6.5 feet tall.

Note what weed cultivar you have to ensure the best possible growing conditions. Different strains will need more or less space between each seedling.


How to prevent and stop stretching

Now that you know what causes stretching, it’s time to learn how to avoid it. As we’ve established, cannabis seedlings stretching too much affects yield quality. Following these steps will restrict your weed plant from falling over.


Fix the lighting

Use optimal lighting while avoiding burning your plants. There’s a fine line regarding how far or close your crops need to be to their light source.

Once you find the sweet spot distance, your plants will flourish. Cannabis seedling stretching reduces with the correct lighting.


stretched cannabis seedlings


Control the heat

As mentioned, marijuana plants suffer if the temperature is excessively high or low. Too hot, and they burn and stretch; too cold, and they won’t grow.


Install a thermometer in your grow room to help you determine the temperature and identify if it needs to be corrected.

Provide air circulation

A natural breeze is helpful in air circulation and prevents cannabis seedlings from stretching. In an indoor grow room, artificial circulation is necessary.

A simple standing fan assists in the required circulation of air. Put it on the oscillate setting for optimum results.


Take care of space

Plants need horizontal growth space as well as vertical. If your seedlings don’t have enough breadth next to them, they’ll desperately grow upwards, causing them to stretch.

Ensure there’s enough space between each plant. Giving your crops ample room results in higher-quality growth for your strains.


Control CO2 levels

Too much of a good thing results in negative results. For example, if your plant receives an excessive amount of carbon dioxide, there may be a harmful increase in growth and development that causes stretching.


Bad nutrients

Finding a balance between too much and insufficient nutrients is essential in the seedlings' early stages of growth.

Only supply minerals when you see the first “true” marijuana leaves. Begin with half the recommended dose and gradually increase it. Avoid overfeeding, which often causes root damage, leaf burn, and poor growth.


How to fix stretched cannabis plants

Now that you know what causes seedling stretching on weed plants, you need to find out how to fix it. Preventing this problem helps you make the most of your high-yield seeds.

You may think it’s too late to do anything, but following these easy tips and tricks could save your precious crop.


Bury it deeper

If the stem grows too long, planting it deeper is an easy way to prevent more stretching. Carefully dig up the seedling, and replant it further down in the soil.

Avoid damaging the root system, though. Alternatively, if your seedling is already low in the pot, adding more soil creates the illusion of burying it deeper.


How to fix cannabis seedlings stretching


Use stakes

Stakes are the most common growing method for marijuana plants. Similar to using stakes to fix bending trees, they aid in straightening the stems of weed seedlings.

They don’t always fix the issue but help direct plant growth and support them. You may need to use a combination of other methods along with staking.



Trellises are a step further in precaution. Use vertical or horizontal ones to support the growth of your stretched seedlings.



Tomato cages have multiple purposes, but in this case, they support the stems of the stretched marijuana plants.


Stretching be gone

Now that you’ve learned how to identify, prevent, and fix seedlings stretching, go off and prosper in your cultivating adventures.

There are numerous ways to stop your baby crops from stretching, including fixing the lighting and giving your crops enough space. If you think it’s too late, burying the seeds deeper and using stakes or trellises helps stop the lengthening in its tracks.

Seedling stretching isn’t the only thing you need to watch out for with your cannabis crops. Visit our blog to learn more about marijuana plants, how to grow them, and how to take care of them.

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