Herb Seedlings Drooping
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Catherine Perusse
Posted on: April 5, 1998

I’ve recently tried to grow herbs indoors. Specifically, chives, basil, majoram, and cilantro. Everything germinated fine and it has been two weeks now. The plants around the edges appear to be drooping. The stems closest to the soil looks shrivelled. I don’t believe that I am watering them too much. I do let them dry out a bit between waterings. I am worried that they may be too crowded or the soil is not correct. I just used regular potting soil. Any suggestions? Thank you in advance for your help.

It almost sounds as if you are not watering the plants quite enough. The edges always dry out first and therefore the seedlings are drooping and those that dried out have dead stems. It could also be damp-off fungus. This disease attacks the stems where they emerge from the soil. the plant eventually dies when it gets no more water from the roots because of the damaged stems. The various damp-off sprays are of dubious value.. The best medicine is prevention. Use only clean pots and saucers and pasteurize the soil in the oven for one hour at about 200 degrees Fahrenheit (90 degrees Celsius). This will give off a temporary unpleasant odour, but this kills the spores.

Make sure the seedlings get enough light, since sturdy seedlings are much less prone to any problems. If you have more than five seedlings per square inch, you may have sown the seeds too closely, and you need to transplant or thin the seedlings before they get more than two inches in height.

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