Seedlings That Keel Over

seedling with damping offMy indoor seedlings are keeling over, why?

Answer: When our indoor seedlings begin to keel over, the cause is most likely a result of damping off, a very common disease caused by varieties of fungi that attack germinating seeds and tiny seedlings.

Damping off symptoms include: seeds not germinating; if germinated, wilting, drooping or falling-over of seedlings; roots of the diseased plants usually become black or brown.

Causes: This fungal disease is usually a result of unsterile containers and/or soil; however inadequate light, too much warmth, excessive watering, poor air quality, too much moisture and seeds planted too deep in the soil can also cause damping off.

Prevention/treatment: The best advice I can give you about damping off is to prevent it all together. Take a look at the above common causes and try to avoid these situations. The biggest and most important step of prevention is to make sure to use a sterile seed-starting mix and your containers are sanitized.

Next make sure that there’s good airflow among the seedlings. You could set up a small fan to circulate air. Make sure you allow your flats to drain excess water after you water them.

Check out these helpful posts on starting seeds indoors:
timing of seeds
storing seeds
hard coated seeds
bottom heat seeds

Image: Anne Tanne
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