Damping Off

Damping off is a fungal disease that attacks the stems of plants, constricting the transport of water and nutrients. The main symptoms are blackened, dried stems and wilted seedlings. Seedlings can be destroyed overnight.

One of the problems is that the conditions of warmth and humidity that encourage seed germination also encourage the growth of fungi that can prevent germination or cause damping off.

To Prevent Damping-Off

1. Purchase disease-free plants and seeds.

2. Use sterile planting mediums and containers. Wash your containers in a mild bleach solution before using them for seedlings.

3. Avoid excessive watering. If you have enclosed your germinating seeds with a plastic top, watch for water drops on the insides of the container. Remove the tops and wipe dry.

4. Avoid overcrowding and overfeeding.

5. Provide constant air movement. Air should move 24 hours a day. I’ve tried a small household/office fan with good results.


1. Chamomile tea: add 2 handfuls of fresh or 2 tbsp of dried chamomile flowers to 4 cups of water. Steep for 2 - 3 days. Strain and use the water on seedlings. Or use chamomile tea in bags. Put bags into hot water and steep for a day or so.

2. Kelp: in addition to being a good fertilizer, kelp helps prevent fungus growth.

3. Cinnamon: sprinkle cinnamon on the top of the soil. It acts as a natural fungicide. (And the growing area smells so nice!)

4. Commercial products: No-Damp, Benomyl