Troubleshoot

Tips and tricks to make your plants grow successfully.

Poor Germination

Possible Reasons

Solutions

Seeds planted too deep in wickpot
Replant
Potting mix was compacted during planting or too wet when filling wickpots
Replant
Potting mix was not sufficiently watered after planting
Try watering from the top of pots until water drips from below
Seeds washed out of pot
Replant

Plants grow slowly

Possible Reasons

Solutions

Too Cold
  • Make sure the school temperature isn’t lowered on weekends.
  • Move plants away from drafty windows or air conditioners.
Not enough light
  • Keep the light on 24 hours a day.
  • Bulbs have been used for more than three years. (If bulbs are used for extended periods, the plants may appear spindly and exhibit signs of delayed growth and development.)
  • Prop plants up to within 10 cm of the lights, using books.
Not enough food or water
  • Replenish the nutrient solution often.
  • Verify that water mats and wicks are moist and touching each other.
  • Are the wicks positioned correctly in the bottom of each pot so that they are touching both the potting mix and the round water mat? Is the long water mat strip reaching into the nutrient solution in the bottom reservoir? Were the water mats and wicks wet thoroughly?
  • If the reservoir ran dry and the plants are wilting (but not yet crispy) you may be able to save them. Water the pots from the top to re-saturate the potting mix and re-establish the capillary action of the water mats. Be sure that the wicks are dripping and the potting mix is thoroughly moistened.

Plants are Spindly

Possible Reasons

Solutions

Not enough light
Ideally plants should be 5–10 cm from growing tip.
Not enough food
Mix fertilizer properly and make sure water is added to the reservoir.
Too many plants per pot
Remove all but 1-2 plants per pot (best done at day 4).

Plants tip Over

Possible Reasons

Solutions

Tall plants
Stake the plants, using the wooden stakes and ties (days 11—20).

Plants Wilt

Possible Reasons

Solutions

Not enough water
If the worst happens (i.e. you forgot to fill the reservoir) and the plants are wilting (but not yet crispy), you may be able to save your plants. Water the wickpots gently from above for several minutes. Be sure that the wicks are dripping and the planting mix is moist. If the planting mix has completely dried, it may be hydrophobic and difficult to remoisten. Rewet the capillary mat and tail and place the wickpots back on mat.

Plants Die

Possible Reasons

Solutions

Not enough food or water
  • Check tail on the capillary mat not in water, may be stuck to bottom of 1/4 lb. container.
  • Always check water on Fridays before the weekends!
Capillary mat clogged and not wicking water
  • Wash mat in 5% vinegar solution, rinse thoroughly.
  • Capillary mat not wet thoroughly all air pockets not removed when watering system was set up.
  • Wickpot should be completely on the capillary mat.
Old watermats
Soak for 5 minutes in a 5% vinegar solution to clean; rinse thoroughly.
Plants were damaged during handling
As plants grow taller, stake and secure them with twist ties or thread.

Seeds are Not Produced

Possible Reasons

Solutions

Inadequate pollination
Was pollen transferred among many different plants? (Wisconsin Fast Plants® do not self-pollinate.) Was pollination done on days 15-17 using a beestick? Was pollen (yellow dust) visible on the beestick?
Room temperature too high
Adjust temperature. (Plants may lose ability to produce pollen at high temperatures.)
Too much heat in the classroom during pollination period
When temperatures are above 85°F many Fast Plants® will lose the capability of producing pollen.