Plant pests Sowing Seeds

Problems with Your Seedlings? Here’s What to Do!

Most of the time, if you sow seeds and give them reasonable growing conditions, you’ll end up with quite decent results. On the other hand, when things go wrong, they usually do so very quickly, so always keep a close eye on your seedlings, ready to give them a helping hand at a moment’s notice.

Here are some situations you may encounter with young seedlings along with an explanation of what to do to help them recover.

ProblemExplanationSolution
Poor or no germination.Seeds unviable or of poor quality; poor growing conditions; soil allowed to fully dry outBuy fresh seeds; improve conditions; keep soil evenly moist during whole germination process
Seedlings wilt, soil dryLack of waterWater gently, but deeply; if seedlings recover, keep soil moist in the future; if not, resow
Seedlings wilt, pinched at the baseDamping off (fungal disease)Use fresh seedling mix; avoid soil from garden for indoor sowing; improve ventilation
Indoor seedlings leggy and pale greenLack of lightGive seedlings better light: sunny window or artificial lighting
Indoor seedlings leggy and dark greenToo hotReduce night temperature
Small black flies presentFungus gnatsRarely cause much damage, but can carry diseases. Allowing soil to dry a little longer between waterings will kill larvae
Outdoor seedlings cut off at the baseCutwormsInsert tin can with bottom removed around unaffected seedlings to serve as a barrier; harvest cutworm by hand (will be hiding in the ground at the base of its victims)
Leaves eaten on seedlings outdoorsVarious insects, slugs, etc.Hand pick slugs or apply slug bait; treat insects with insecticidal soap. Sometimes you have to resow
Seedlings blackened after a cold nightFrost damageResow

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. After studies at the University of Toronto and Laval University where he obtained his B.A. in modern languages in 1978, he succeeded in combining his language skills with his passion for gardening in a novel career as a garden writer and lecturer. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He is a regular contributor to and horticultural consultant for Fleurs, Plantes, Jardins garden magazine and has written for many other garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening, Rebecca’s Garden and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 50 other titles in English and French. He can be seen in Quebec on French-language television and was notably a regular collaborator for 7 years on the TV shows Fleurs et Jardins and Salut Bonjour Weekend. He is the President of the Garden Writers Association Foundation and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. An avid proponent of garden tourism, he has lead garden tours throughout Canada and to the gardens of over 30 countries over the last 30 years. He presently resides in Quebec City, Quebec.

0 comments on “Problems with Your Seedlings? Here’s What to Do!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: