Seedling is growing upside down, taproot is above the soil!

by Nebula Haze

Is your cannabis seedling growing upside down? Has the tap root come above the soil?

If your root is growing straight up like in the picture below, it's not good. This is most common in seedling plugs. The tender white root tip has a good chance of drying out or being exposed to too much light. You want to strongly consider doing some "plant surgery" to turn this little seedling around to the right direction 🙂

Example of a cannabis seedling where the roots are growing straight up out of the Rapid Rooter

The first thing to do is get a new Rapid Rooter. Since your seed already has a relatively long root, cut the plug open lengthwise so you can gently place the seedling inside in the right position without having to "push" down on the seed.

Cut the Rapid Rooter open lengthwise so it'll be easier to position your sprouted cannabis seedling the way you want

Now gently extract the seed from its original home with a pair of tweezers making sure to touch only the shell and not the root (the root is the most sensitive part)! Now lay the seedling in the middle of your newly split open Rapid Rooter and gently close the plug around it again. 

Here's that sprouted seedling laying on top of the Rapid Rooter after it's been split open

Most seedling plugs will go back into place easily, and you'll barely be able to tell it's been opened 🙂

Close the Rapid Rooter Around the Seedling!

Since your seedling has already sprouted and has been in placed into the right growing position, it'll probably pop its head out within just 12-24 hours! Sometimes you see just the leaves, but occasionally you actually see the seedling push the shell above ground.

Cannabis seedling puts its head above the surface!

When this happens the shell usually falls off on its own as the seedling grows!

Example of cannabis seedling in the process of shedding its shell!

When Should I NOT Do Surgery?

Sometimes you can see the young taproot of a cannabis seedling but the situation isn't as dire. If the root is already pointed in the right direction, it's probably going to be just fine! But if you're worried, you can cover up the root until the leaves actually make it to the surface.

For example you could tear a tiny piece off the edge of this Rapid Rooter and gently lay it on top. Or if you were in soil you could sprinkle a tiny bit of soil over the seedling. The seedling will push it off as it grows upward. 

This case isn't so bad because the root is already facing down, in the correct direction. Note: This seedling was just watered, but typically the Rapid Rooter should never look this wet. It should be moist but not shiny.

This cannabis seedling sprouted with the tap root facing up, above the Rapid Rooter starter cube. Luckily, it will right itself in a few hours

If you leave it alone, the seed will start to rise up, and open to reveal the seedling's cotyledons (first, round leaves)

Marijuana seed with the root growing up above the Rapid Rooter instead of down

The cotyledons unfurl and then the regular cannabis leaves between to grow. Here's another view of that same seedling from above only a few hours later. Even though it may have looked a bit weird at first, this seedling is completely normal and will grow just fine from now on! 

Example of a cannabis seedling in a Rapid Rooter opening its leaves

Most of the Time Seedlings Take Care of Themselves!

When you see your seedling looks like this, where the part of the root exposed to the surface already looks green like a stem, you don't need to do anything. 

Seedling has sprouted upside down, with roots facing up!

After germination, the tip goes down and stays white, and the other side that's contained in the shell tries to work its way up, and that part of the stem turns green. Sometimes it looks like the root is going upside down because it appears that it's not strong enough to be able to push the seed up.

As long as the tip of the root stays wet the seedling will be fine! The "root" is the same as what is going to become the stem. If it appears green it means that part of the root is already in "stem" mode and isn't sensitive to the light.

If you just wait a little everything will have righted itself 🙂 Here's that seedling 12 hours later…

Seedling is beginning to emerge

12 hours after that, the leaves have completely emerged!

The seedling has spread out its first leaves, the "cotyledons" as well as the first "true" set of cannabis leaves

Another view of that cannabis seedling

If you hadn't been watching you wouldn't even have known anything happened!


How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds



Common New Grower Topics

How Much Will Electricity Cost?

What Type of Nutrients Should I Use?

Choosing the Best Grow Light

Stealth Growing: How NOT to Get Caught Growing Weed

Where to Get Seeds



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