Various reasons can cause your tomato seedlings to wilt. But, whatever the cause, you should investigate promptly.
When your plants are babies anything adverse can affect them quickly.
You need to check your plants regularly to be sure they are healthy and growing strong, and know what to do when they do get sick or infested with insects.
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Why is my tomato seedlings wilting?
The most common reason for tomato seedlings to wilt is improper watering. Tomato seedlings require a lot of water and need consistency. Another reason is damping off, hence the need to keep the soil where you planted them warm. Lastly, pests can cause your tomato seedlings to wilt.
Wilting Tomato Seedlings And The Possible Reasons Behind It
The most likely reason your tomato seedlings are wilting is due to watering them too much, or too little.
Seedlings are very sensitive to both so you need to be very attentive when your plants are young.
Another cause of tomato seedling wilting could be from a condition called damping off. This is a fungus and can be prevented with clean soil that is kept warm.
Pests are another reason why is my tomato seedlings are not blooming.
Soil That Is Best For Your Tomato Seedlings
Every batch of seeds you start should be started in fresh soil. The soil used from early plantings can contain a disease that is lying dormant, waiting for a host.
The most significant risk of reusing soil is the threat of your seedlings of “damping off,” which is infection by a pathogenic mold.
Any equipment that you use from year to year should be cleaned before use, as it can harbor pathogens, and it is the most common way tomatoes get seedling wilt.
If you have a batch of seedlings infected with a pathogen, it is best to throw them out and start over.
If you use your soil mix, it can be taken through heat (pasteurized) to rid it of bacteria, disease, fungus, and pests.
How you start your plants and in what medium can play a big part in their health as they grow from seed to seedling to fruit-bearing plants.
If you find plants infected with a pathogen or pest, DO NOT put the infected plant in your compost pile.
Instead, burn it or throw it in the trash because it can infect your compost if you put it there.
How To Address Wilting In Store-Bought Tomato Seedlings
If you purchased your seedlings from a local vendor, and they are wilting, water them well and wait to see if they revive.
If they do not revive when watered, you may have purchased plants with an illness that is now affecting them.
If you doubt why your plants are wilting and watering is not reviving them, dispose of them.
Adding infected plants to your garden is detrimental to everything there.
Many of the diseases and pests that go after your tomato plants will also attack your other plants and potentially devastate your crop.
Right Watering For Your Tomato Seedlings
How should you water your tomato seedlings, from the bottom, or from the top?
Seedlings tend to do better when wet from the bottom, as opposed to pouring water over the foliage.
This method offers several benefits. First, the plants take up only the water they need, and the foliage stays dry.
But, on the other hand, wet foliage can lead to disease and fungus.
Tomato Seedlings Warmth And Light Requirements
Babies like to be warm and so do seedlings. Warmth helps prevent moisture from standing on the tender leaves of your seedlings.
Plants that are left too wet can lead to fungus and other ailments.
Also, tomato seedlings that do not get enough sun will not grow properly and will get weak. Too little sun can cause your seedlings to droop and wilt.
When introducing your seedlings to increased sunlight, take it slow.
Seedlings are still tender and subject to wind and sunburn. Either can severely harm your plants.
Bacterial Diseases That Can Cause Tomato Seedlings To Wilt
Several conditions will affect a tomato plant, and three, in particular, will affect tomato seedlings.
Bacterial speck and bacterial spot both cause the rim of the leaf to turn yellow, while the inside of the leaf goes dark green. These diseases come forth in hot, humid conditions.
Another disease that affects tomato seedlings is bacterial canker. This disease usually affects trees; however, it will cross to other plants.
This disease also creates a halo effect on the leaves but is distinguished by the leaf’s white outer edge and green center.
Fungi That Can Cause Wilt In Tomato Seedlings
Also, soil-borne, Fusarium wilt will cause wilting and drooping of your plants. As the illness progresses, the leaves will yellow and die.
Another fungus, Pythium, or Rhizcronia, can cause the “damping off” mentioned above.
This fungus is active in cool, damp soil, so keeping your seedlings warm and not too wet can keep this fungus at bay.
Another fungus you may see attacking seedlings is Botrytis. Common in many plants, this fungus causes a black fuzzy mold on your plant that can kill it if left unattended.
And Then There Are The Pests!
Beetles have a fondness for seedlings. They will eat holes in the leaves, which gives them a Swiss cheese effect.
Many of our nocturnal friends also have a taste for seedlings. Rabbits, deer, boar, and nutria can wreak havoc on young and older plants.
Keeping your seedlings in a safe place until moving them outdoors will assure they have a fighting chance once planted.
Frequently Asked Questions About Why My Tomato Seedlings Are Wilting
Can wilting tomato seedlings be saved?
It’s possible to save your tomato seedlings if the problem is over or underwatering. If, however, the wilting is due to a fungus or bacterial infection, you need to destroy your plants. It is a bit heartbreaking to do so, but it will keep your other plants from getting ill.
Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.