The Q&A Archives: Wilting Pepper Plants

Question: We have been growing hot peppers from seed, which have been coming along nicely until yesterday. The sprouts are about 3-4 inches tall have 2 sets of leaves. All of a sudden they all fell over and wilted yesterday. They are watered well, but not too much or often.

Answer: Seedlings are susceptible to Damping-Off, a fungal disease. It's usually worse where humidity is high and air circulation is poor. There's no hope in saving the plants once they've contracted the disease. If you plan to use the pots or trays again, be sure to wash them well with hot soapy water and rinse with a bleach and water solution. (1 part chlorine bleach to 9 parts water.) Use fresh soil mix in the sterilzed pots. If you have seedlings that are unaffected, increase the air circulation around them and water the trays or pots from the bottom, just as added insurance. It's disappointing to lose seedlings to Damping-Off, but it does happen. Since it's still early in the season you have time to start some new seeds in some fresh soil for transplant out into your garden.

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