Ask Better Homes & Gardens

Experts and BHG readers answer.

Tomato Plant Death

This is my first year growing tomato plants from seeds, and all of them grew well at first. But after getting around 4 inches tall, they each, one by one, flopped over and died. I recognized the trend, so I started putting little stakes in for support of the plants that were still standing, but this did not seem to help either. I used miracle grow gardening soil and watered them regularly each morning. Not really sure what I'm doing wrong.
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest


Thanks for writing! It sounds like your seedlings suffered from damping off --- a very common fungal disease. When damping off strikes, part of the seedling's stem rots (it's usually the point where the stem meets the ground). When it rots, the seedling tips over like a felled tree.

Prevent damping off by encouraging good air flow (some gardeners set up a small desk fan to blow on their seedlings as they emerge to ward off damping off). Also: Make sure you're not watering too much --- once seedlings sprout, you can let the seed-starting mix start to dry out a tiny bit between waterings.  

---Justin, Senior Garden Editor, "

Community Answers


Answer this Question

Enter an Answer to this Question

500 characters left