How to Care for a 2 Week Old Seedling

For many of us here at Bonsai Alchemist, there are a few moments greater than propagating a new tree. When you see the first leaves appear, it’s an incredible occasion worth celebrating. However, knowing how to care for a 2 week old seedling will determine how long it survives.

It can be scary seeing the small seedling only two weeks of age, so fragile with the potential to die at any second. As a frightened bonsai parent, you never know which elements will cause it harm, and sometimes caring too much is just as bad as neglect.

Don’t worry, we’ll show you how to care for your 2 week old seedling.

2 week old seedling

What Are The 4 Stages Of Plant Growth?

Before we discuss your tiny seedling and how to grow it towards a bonsai, you need to understand the four stages of plant growth.


It starts off as a seed, which you’ll harvest from the tree. Seeds form via pollination and fertilization, which are different among the various species. The two largest plant groups are angiosperms (flowering) and gymnosperms (non-flowering).

When seeds find a suitable place with the right conditions, they germinate. For the most part, they need oxygen, water, and warmth. The root cracks open the outer shell and starts descending into the medium, namely, soil.


When you see the first shoot with the cotyledons appear through the medium’s surface, it’s a sprout. It uses food and water it finds in the soil to grow, while also relying on sunlight and oxygen from the air. There’s a short period from when the shoot first appears to when the initial true leaves arrive, and you’ll need to take extra care at this time.

Seedling/Young Tree

When your small tree has a few leaves, it’s called a seedling. During this time, it starts to form into a small tree, or a bonsailing as we like to refer to it. You’ll mainly let it grow while watching the height, making sure to cut it down by a few nodes within the first year.

You aren’t safe as yet. Your 2 week old seedling will need to survive the elements, which can include too much sun or water. In many cases, you’ll need a transparent bag around the container with stakes holding it up. It aids with maintaining humidity and ensuring the soil doesn’t dry too quickly. You’ll also need to check the specific species to gauge its requirements.

Adult Bonsai Tree

Your bonsai tree reaches maturity when it starts producing flowers, which will then return to generating seeds once pollinated. The journey has come full circle. You may notice that the stem and leaves take longer to thicken and grow, which will slow down as it ages.

Different species reach maturity at various ages. Some only take about seven years, while others can take as long as 20 or more. It’s for this reason that people say you need the patience to grow a bonsai tree, as it may well live longer than you.

2 week old seedling

How Long Does It Take A Seed To Bud?

It depends on the species you’re growing. Some seeds need a stratification period in the fridge or some other medium. For that reason, it can take anywhere between two weeks and eight months before you see the seedling appear above the soil.

One aspect that you need to be aware of is that not all baby trees survive germination. You may see the leaves appear and form, but they may die back quickly if the conditions are not right. That’s why you need to perform research to see what the ideal germination environment is to support your 2 week old seedling.

How Big Should My Plants Be After 2 Weeks?

After two weeks, your seedling will be about 2 to 3 inches tall. You’ll notice about two to three sets of leaves, which includes the initial cotyledons that first appeared. From there, the growth rate will increase or decrease, depending on the species.

For example, junipers and other evergreen conifers may shoot out quickly before slowing down. Many deciduous broad-leaved trees develop rapidly, and you may even have to prune the main stem to maintain the right size for your bonsai.

How Much Water Does A 2 Week Old Seedling Need?

Different species require different approaches. Some 2 week old seedlings only need watering once to twice a week as a deep soaking. Others are better off with daily sprays of mist instead of actual watering, as long as the soil is moist.

You need to check that the seedling doesn’t become moldy in the first few weeks. It can cause the roots to die, which is a terrible experience as a bonsai parent. Check the soil to see how wet it is before you apply any more water. As it develops further, you’ll notice that it absorbs more moisture.

How Do I Know If My Seedlings Are Getting Too Much Light?

While 2 week old seedlings need enough light to grow, you can also damage them with too much sunlight. You may notice the leaves having burnt marks on the edges or changing color from a rich green to a pale yellow. Placing a transparent bag over it will help in most cases, but you should also place it where it receives shade during the hot afternoon.

Some species do better with dappled light instead of full sunlight. It helps to perform research on how much the seedling needs in the first two weeks for that specific tree than applying a general rule. You can make netting over it if you’re planning to place it outside or on a windowsill.

2 week old seedling

Are LED Lights Good For Growing Seedlings?

LED lights are ideal for anyone growing 2 week old seedlings inside a greenhouse or inside their homes. They provide ample light to grow the small trees while also protecting them from any harsh sunlight. Just remember to keep watering and increasing the humidity with sprayers.

When Can I Transplant Seedlings?

You can start planning to transplant seedlings when they are about two to three weeks old. You need at least three sets of leaves with a strong foundation. Buy yourself a small bonsai container with bonsai mix with the necessary nutrients.

Of course, you need to make sure it’s the right season for transplanting. If you find yourself in the middle of winter, it’s better if you want for the beginning of spring when new growth appears. You don’t want your seedling dying by planting at the wrong time of year.

2 week old seedling

Final Thoughts On 2 Week Old Seedlings

It can be risky caring for 2 week old seedlings, and there’s a high risk they won’t make it past the first year. However, there are many hardy species that are easy to grow, which is where you should start as a beginner. Feel free to share with us any success you may have had with these small bonsailings.

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Shaun has two passions in life that combine into an extravagant show on Bonsai Alchemist. The one is for writing and the second bonsais. He’s been writing fantasy and horror novels since 2000, while also creating online content since 2015. He’s involved with writing for films and games. Finally, he’s also the owner of a book publishing company.

He received his first bonsai as a gift in 2009 and has been growing several species in his quiet home in South Africa. He prefers propagating new life instead of buying bonsais at the store. His son and daughter share his love for nature, while his wife stares on at her introverted hermit husband.


Shaun M Jooste


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