Help! My Seedlings are Dying

tenthmuse(5)May 10, 2010

I'm a newbie at both posting and growing from seed. I have some Wiri Wiri pepper seedlings that I grew from seeds. I combed this site for tips and had the most success at propagatiion with the baggie method. While the seedlings are about 2-3 weeks old, none have developed any true leaves as yet. Unfortunately, the oldest seedling died last week. It appeared to be about to sprout some true leaves. Then it developed a tiny black spot on the edge of one leaf. The seedling stem stayed strong but the leaves appeared to basically collapse. I combed this site once more and concluded that the seedling either suffered from damping off, or some kind of necrosis (although I donÂt understand why). I figured I might be overwatering, so I cut back drastically. I had previously been bottom watering daily with a weak chamomile solution. I stopped using the chamomile and instead added hydrogen peroxide to the water, and only allowed them to drink every 2 or 3 days (a teaspoon or 2 per seedling - watering from the top this time). Now (a week later) another large seedling has developed a black spot. One of it's leaves has already collapsed against the other, and well, I figure it will likely suffer the same fate as the other.

Is there anything that I can do? Are the remaining seedlings doomed? Any assistance would be appreciated.

Thank you,


N.B.: The seedlings live in a plastic egg container and a plastic takeout container. The soil mix is approximately 1 1/2 parts perlite, 1 part sifted potting soil, and a dash (about a 16th) of Soilsponge (Plant Best). Once they were transferred into the soil mixture, they began receiving about 16 hours of florescent light/day. However, soon after, I decided to up the light dosage to 24/7.

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You have leaf spot fungus and you need to get a fungicide. If they are not treated they will all die. If you can move unaffected ones away from the affected ones. Pick off the leaves with spots and when you water don't wet the leaves. Treat them all with a fungicide for leaf spot

The culprit is the soil--the fungus was probably in it when you bought it. You should always use a sterilized soiless mix for starting seeds. You should never use soil and soil sponge is for use in hanging baskets or pots to help retain moisture. Something that you don't want for seedlings.

If you get rid of the leaf spot then transfer them into soiless mix in a slightly bigger container--like a 3 oz dixie cup with bottom holes and see if you can take most of the soil off without damaging the roots. Throw out the ones you are using now, they will be contaminated

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 4:05AM
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It wouldn't hurt if you dowsed the soil of all of them with the fungicide when you transplant. I meant throw out your containers they will be contaminated.

You got off to a bad start for your first time. I hope you try again. A word for further trys at seed starting. Once the seed has become a seedling it does not need as much moisture as it did in germinating. Plant them in 3 oz dixie cups with a good soilless mix Adding perilite helps give the soil good drainage, but there will be some in your mix.Wet the mixture before you put it in the cups. You want it wet right through but not sopping. squeeze a handful and a little moisture should come out but not a lot. Once they are planted let them dry about half way before you water and then bottom water. You can tell by the weight of the container if they need water. It will be light and float when you put it in the water. Letting a plant dry between watering makes the plant put out more roots so you have a healthier plant.

There is not a gardener alive who has not made mistakes or killed plants or started out as a newbie. Our knowledge is gained through trial and error---Good luck

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 5:12AM
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Wonderful! Thank you so much for this information, oilpainter. I will go out a purchase a fungicide and a soilless mix today. I'll also report back in a few days.

Thank you again!


    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 10:41AM
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