Corn meal

Has anyone tried mixing corn meal with seedling mix to inhibit fungi? If so, what were your results?

Never tried it, but corn meal (corn gluten meal?) is used in gardens and lawns to prevent weed seeds from germinating.

Thanks, Joan. Corn meal has anti-fungal properties too, which is what made me consider the possibility of using it for seeds and seedlings, however, according to the Minnisota Master Gardeners on-line “Corn gluten meal contains natural chemicals that inhibit root formation at the time of seed germination” so it’s looking less likely that corn meal will be useful in the soil mix for germinating rose seeds or growing seedlings!

Onward to the next suspect…


I understand your wanting to use an anti-fungal but most hybridizers don’t use anything like this so that they can observe any natural immunity of their seedlings.

Ping says, ‘if they die, they die’ great phylosophy when dealing with seedlings that you hope will show some natural disease resistance.

If you are concerned about ‘damping-off’ you might try watering your seedlings with tea or a dusting the top of the soil with a commercial anti-fungal product called: Gold Bond powder.

Over the years I’ve tried different things to help prevent damping off. Lately, just using a good soilless mix like Promix and being careful not to overwater and to keep the humidity high too long has been good enough. I lose some here and there, but not many at all. I love Henry’s tip of hydrogen peroxide and use that here and there when I start to have a problem and generally that can save some seedlings. In the past I would put a little scoop of perlite around the base of seedlings and that helped a lot with watermolds that tend to get seedlings at the point of where they come in contact with the media. It seems that the watermolds (phytophthora…) tend to move in the free water near the surface. Since perlite is sterile and who knows why else it helps a lot. Elton Strack taught me that.


Thanks for the info guys. Meg, as a small hybridizer, I can afford to baby my babies a bit in the beginning. I am a firm believer in the Ping philosophy, but not in the very beginning. My most powdery mildew prone seedling from last year has apparently grown out of it’s early susceptibility, as have a few of the others, so I don’t want to give up on them too early. Tea and Gold Bond - good ideas, I’ll give them a try. Tinactin would be another one to try too.

David, I’m less concerned about damping off in the seedlings, since I don’t have a big problem with that generally. I did have a bit of it recently, and Henry’s peroxide treatment worked great!. More commonly, most of my losses are to root rot just as the seeds are germinating, and I’d love to reduce the percentage of losses there. By the way, I do also use the perlite! I’ve ordered some coir to see if that helps.

I’ve been stratifying my seeds in damp coir for the past three years. There has never been any root rot even when the germinated seeds were discovered with long roots. When the coir needs redampening, I mist it with the peroxide solution. An advantage to coir is that it doesn’t cling to the rootlets, so the white roots are easy to spot when tumbling the bag to check for sprouts.

Thanks Lydia. The rot occurs in the potting soil, not during stratification, so I’m hoping using coir there will reduce the loss in the potting soil. I know one has to accept a certain amount of loss, but I hate it when a healthy germinating seed rots when potted up. I just HATE it! Grrrr! I’ll try coir during stratification too. Thanks.

For what it’s worth, I’ve had damping off problems in the past with all kinds of seedlings. And this year, I’ve stratified my (daylily) seeds in coir. I also spread a thin layer on the top off the potting soil when I planted the germinating seeds. I also have been watering with dilute hydrogen peroxide (1 part to 20 parts water). I don’t know what is helping the most, but so far, so good. I haven’t had any damping off at all yet.

Sounds great! I can’t wait to try it!