I think one of my seedlings has root rot...

54641210dMay 15, 2014

This one hasn't been doing well at all. All the leaves turned brown and wrinkly and when I touched it, it nearly fell over. So I uprooted it and found this ugly, shriveled root. Is it gone for sure? I gave everyone the same amount of water and they all seem fine :( I was watering every other day until this guy and a couple others started turning brown. So now I water every day but maybe that's not good for them? I'll post another picture with everyone.

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Here are a few more pictures.

I've been giving them the same amount of sun as when they were sowed. They had nice green leaves until about last week. They were sowed in the middle of March.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 3:31PM
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It's difficult to advice someone on how to water their plants when you're not there to feel the soil With Your finger ...

Or if they were in pots ( not trays ), I'd lift the pot to let the weight decide if I'd water today ... That's "in your fingers" with experience ...

Watering is not only "how often" ,
but also "how much water each plant is given"
and "what temperature is the room"
and "are the plants in direct sun".

But from what you write and your pictures I think your plants get too much water.

I think many of your seedlings look troubled, but I hope you can save them by watering less.
- Feel the soil with your finger, and if it's moist, don't water.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 5:56PM
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Great, honest advice

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 6:41PM
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i think you should carefully check which of your seedlings appear unaffected and remove them from those trays. Examine the roots for rot and if there are none, wash and repot them in clean soil. If you have any kind of fungicide, you might want to use them (I don't). Keep them in bright shade for a week and then move them gradually back to full sun (i.e. morning sun at first then morning to noon and then as much full sun as you can give them).

The rest can't be saved if they are already shriveling at the base.. I suspect they are suffering from collar rot, caused by various kinds of water mold which needs a lot of moisture--this means the soil was probably waterlogged. I'm just guessing, of course, since I do not know where these seedlings are growing and what the conditions are other than the watering regimen you described.


p.s. in Zone 7, I only water every other day if the seedlings are in full sun, in high summer and in a gritty mix-based potting soil.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 7:22PM
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Thanks everyone for your inputs. The soil gets "bone dry" by the end of the second day (2.5 days later since I water midday), so I usually water every other day (every 2 days). From the soil I took the rotted one out of, it was pretty dry. The top half was all dry while the bottom half was damp. I'll take them all out and examine them, then determine what needs to be done there. Could it be that I use tap water instead of filtered?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 9:27PM
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So i dug them all up and checked their roots. They all look healthy, except for the one of course. The soil was very dry. I can feel a little moisture when I rub it between my fingers, but it's at that stage before turning dust-like. I think now would be a good time to water, but I'm not so sure anymore!!

Here are a few pictures:

Below: The rotted one is on the bottom right.

Below: The rotted one on the far right.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 10:05PM
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So, question about watering: Am I to wait until the soil is COMPLETELY dry? I always thought this could hurt the plants so I water whenever the top layer of soil is "dust-like", which means the bottom layer is (very) slightly moist.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 10:08PM
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Hi there. I was reading the news just now and decided this forum is a much less terrifying way to start the day lol

The watering method heart_in_bloom described works well especially if you are using a combination of soil and perlite. If the pots are light, that means the plants are using the water, or that water has evaporated and so the plant needs more water.

Adenium seedlings should be treated like tropical plants, not succulents---they require a lot of water as they grow while at the same time, they also rot easily if left soaking too long.

Is that pumice you are using? What sort of mix have you transplanted them into? The more information you give the more efficient this process will go. What's the ambient dat and night temperature? Are they outside in full sun or inside by the window?

I can see several seedlings with dried out leaves that also have deformations on the trunk. I'd isolate those and keep an eye on them.


    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 7:33AM
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I'm happy to say that the roots look better than I expected / feared. The first pictures with all those wilted leaves looked ... hm ...

Most important, I hope the plants are back in pots or trays by now.

And so ; the difficult question of when to water ...

You can not wait untill all the soil from "top of pot to bottom" is completly dry. But surface should feel dry when you touch it with your finger.

If your plants are in full sun, they may ( and probably do ) need water every day.

If they don't get ( a lot of ) direct sun, I wouldn't think they would need water every day.

Also, what kind of growth medium they are planted in is an issue here.
You say "soil" , what is that ?
Cacti soil ?
Soil for houseplants with "something" mixed into it , or what ?

If you tell us about the "SUN and SOIL conditions" and maybe also ROOM TEMPERATURE, it would be easier to give advice.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 10:41AM
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Just a thought,
or more like a question for the other helpers here ...

Myself I water small seedplants by mistspraying them. My reason for doing it this way is that the soil is not "compacted" like it gets when you water with a tradisional watering can for houseplants. That works for me, but is that something that could be recommended to the owners of these plants ? ? ?


Watering and caring for plants has so much with gut feeling to do ! ! !

And the gut feeling comes with general plant experience and also with getting to know the plant genera / family in question ...

( So we all have our losses, especially in the beginning, but should rather count our triumphs ... )

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 11:02AM
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The soil is a 50/50 mix of cacti mix and perlite. The deformities on the trunk were due to the seed shell not coming off smoothly (I was trying to take them off but scratched a few) so this should not be worried about. They get full sun and the room temperature is around 75 degrees Fahrenheit. I water them with a water bottle that has holes punctured in the cap.

They haven't been watered since two days ago. The soil drains pretty fast and usually by the end of the second day the entire thing is dead dry. I haven't watered them in fear of doing something wrong but I don't think root rot is something that will happen, ever. I think it was the water I was using that caused this. I did notice some mold growing in the bottle (oops...) so maybe the mold caused this?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 3:31PM
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Oh and as for the sun I use a grow light from 7am to 10pm. It hasn't been warm enough to let them out here.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 3:34PM
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You say your plants get full sun.

Just a thought, have you ever watered the plants and gotten water on their leaves while the grow light is on ?

Because that might cause burn on the leaves, and if so they will later wilt ...

I wonder if that might be the reason for the look of some of the leaves.

Again, this was just a thought, but it's wise to water after the sunlight has gone off the plants ( or in your case the grow lights are turned off ).

What you write about soil, temperature and so on seems ok as far as I can see. So I try to find a reason for the wilting leaves ...


Water should of course be reasonably fresh, so emptying the bottle no and again and let it air dry would be good.

And New water in the bottle should be tepid, not ice cold ...

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 6:04PM
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The same thing happened to me exactly at the same size, but I dont know what caused it because I treat them with little fungicide and took them outdoors at the same time and the rotting area stoped growing, anyway they died but the rest didnt get sick

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 1:30AM
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Morning, yo.

Once you are sure that you have all to provide optimum growing conditions, I think it will just boil down to the fact that some seedlings are just more vulnerable to various things than others and should be culled. At least that's what I do--I keep only the healthiest ones after giving them one summer in which to earn their spot in precious winter real estate.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 9:11AM
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Hey guys, what wonderful responses! I think heart_in_bloom is right, I water during the "day" and sometimes (or rather often) the water gets on the leaves. I didn't think it'd be a big deal since it's relatively cool but it looks like it can burn it regardless! I will be watering at night from now on; I didn't realize a bit of water could do so much damage! Hopefully by next week we'll be seeing nice green leaves; wish me luck!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 5:28PM
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