The Q&A Archives: purple leaves

Question: On a couple of my Salpiglossis & Columbine seedlings the leaves are turning purple. Most of the plants have a normal green color. All were hardened off before being planted out last week, and nightime temperatures have been over 40 degrees. I grew Salpiglossis last year, in the same areas, and didn't notice this problem. Is the discoloration the result of shock or could it be something else?

Answer: If the color change is fairly subtle, or if just a few leaves are turning but the rest of the plant looks fine, then it's probably just the shock of transplanting causing the discolored leaves. Cool temperatures and/or strong sunlight can cause the leaves of even hardened-off plants to discolor. If the new growth comes in looking fine, then I wouldn't worry. A purplish tinge to the leaves can indicate a nutrient deficiency, so if you didn't fertilize the seedlings when they were growing indoors, you may want to do so now.

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