The Q&A Archives: Tomato Seedling Trouble

Question: My Pink Brandywine (potato leaf type) plants have begun to darken and dry out around the edges of the leaf.. The edges are brittle. 5 other types of tomato plants next to them do not appear affected. All seeds purchased from Burpee. About 50 plants affected. All plants currently indoors awaiting transplant.
Contaminated? Nutrition? (also purple color to stems and leaf of all types of tomato plants) Too moist? (seemed to improve with more space and improved air circulation) I could really use some help here.

Answer: Often, dried out edges on leaves indicates overwatering. I would try cutting back a little on the watering--keep them slightly moist, but at no time soggy. Also, try putting a fan on low in the room, to create some air circulation. It is possible that they have some type of leaf disease, but if you used a sterile seed-starting mix, and none of the others are affected, I doubt that's the problem. Purple coloring can indicate a phosphorus deficiency--but many tomato seedlings do have a purplish cast. If you have been feeding them with a balanced fertilizer solution at the recommended rates, then nutrients probably aren't the problem either. (Be sure you are not over-fertilizing with too strong a solution--concentrated fertilizers can "burn" the leaves.) Try giving them less water, and more room to "breathe" and see what happens. To be on the safe side, you might also try starting more seeds.

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