Shoot stretching in plug production reduces quality and makes mechanized transplanting difficult. The objectives of this study were to measure seedling emergence and shoot height of plugs as affected by paclobutrazol application during seed soaking, priming, or coating on seedling emergence and height. Verbena (Verbena ×hybrida Voss. `Quartz White'), pansy (Viola wittrockiana L. `Bingo Yellow Blotch'), and celosia (Celosia cristata L. `New Look') seeds were soaked in water solutions of paclobutrazol and subsequently dried on filter paper at 20 °C for 24 h. Soaking seeds in paclobutrazol solutions before sowing reduced growth and percentage seedling emergence of verbena and pansy but had little effect on those of celosia. Verbena seeds soaked in 50, 200, or 500 mg paclobutrazol/L for 5, 45, or 180 min produced fewer and shorter seedlings than controls. Osmopriming verbena seeds with 10 to 500 mg paclobutrazol/L reduced seedling emergence. Seedling height and emergence percentage of pansy decreased with increasing paclobutrazol concentrations from 2 to 30 mg·L–1 and with soaking time from 1 to 5 min. The elongation of celosia seedlings was reduced by soaking seeds in 10, 50, 200, or 500 mg paclobutrazol/L solutions for 5, 180, or 360 min. However, these reductions were negligible and without any practical application.