fertiliser burned my seedling?

Hi everyone

Some of my seedlings look like they had stopped growing. The new bud looks a bit black in the top and don’t seem to grow further up. Anyone know if it could be because I had give to much fertilizer or it could be an infection?

I am unsure if I should cut off the top of the rose and hope for a new bud to arrive, or wait some weeks more to see what happens?

I surely hope they will survive.

Looking forward to hear your opinion, thanks.



One thing that would be easy to do to get more information is to slip the seedling out of the pot and observe the roots. If they look brown and the tips are “burned” off that is a clue that you may have had injury from soluble salts (fertilizer). Water your pot well to leach out excess salts and then let dry between waterings a little to discourage root rots from getting into your seedling through the dead root tissue.



Thanks for your advice David, I will give the roots a look if I can get them out of the peat pots! I will also let the seedlings dry out a bit between watering.

The watering could be the problem, as I had watered the seedlings nearly every day. Maybe the roots have been to wet. The problem seems to be only the biggest seedling, the ones with the deepest root I guess.

Hopefully I can get the seedlings back on track with less watering, as I have high hopes for these crosses.



I water seedlings everyday during the summer months with no problems. I wouldn’t fertilize your seedlings for quite a while. I had an extraordinary cross of Secret X LaFollette which I planted in MircleGro seed starting mix.

The fertilizers in it had killed all my cross, and what a pity. Both of these roses had extraordinary hybrid tea shaped flowers and fragrances. Except, I wanted the “older traits” of LaFollette pass through such as the informal open flower.

Peat moss is a good way to germinate your seeds. If you work on a small scale such as me, then get those peat moss cubes in those minigreen houses. They maybe impratical for people who raise large amounts of seedlings at the same time. But for people like me-- it’s not much trouble.

Enrique I guess I must have watered/fertilized the seedlings too much, but to be sure, I will not fertilize them for a while now.

I have though seen small flies around the seedlings some times too, but I can’t imagine that they could be the troublemakers, or could they?

Its really bad luck with your killed seedlings, I hope at least a few of the seedlings from that cross have a chance to survive!

Generally I had good experience with peat pot, and as I don’t work with a big lot of seedlings too, it

Bo, the gnats (fungus flies) lay eggs which become grubs and eat stuff in the pots. They like fungus and algae, but they’ll eat other things too, and sometimes will tunnel into seedlings’ roots or even the main stem if it has not matured. You might examine the soil to see whether there are tiny, threadlike, nearly transparent worms in the soil. Since they live close to the surface of the soil, you might try watering the pots with a dilute solution of hydrogen peroxide. This generally will make them come to the surface. If you do have these, you may use whatever remedies you wish on them. They can cause some problems. I don’t know whether they are responsible for making your plants stop growing.

If these were my plants, I would try to move them (preferably without gnat larvae clinging to the roots) to a new, better medium while they are relatively dormant. This would have the advantage of getting them out of soil that may have too much fertilizer in it and into soil that will provide for their next round of growth.

I would also suggest that you get them out of peat pots and into plastic or styrofoam cups (recycled coffee cups?) which maintain a more consistent moisture level in the root zone.

Peat pots take a lot more care and expose the roots to more outside influences, unless you have them pressed very close together in a flat.


Bo, those small flies sound like fungus gnats. I’m pretty sure that their larvae can eat the roots of seedlings. I’ve had some terrible times with them. Not that they necessarily are what killed your seedlings, but they’re definitely unwelcome as far as I’m concerned.

On the bright side, they’re pretty easy to discourage. Just cover your soil with a layer of sand – the seedlings come through, but the gnats don’t like it. I use around 1/4 inch (~1/2 cm).

And don’t give up, most of us have experienced similar problems. I just lost my only rose seedling for 2007. It was 4 inches tall and looking great. Then it started wilting and just died.

I hope you have better luck in saving your seedlings.

Take care, Tom

Hi Peter and Tom

It surely looks like I got these fungus gnats as you both mentioned. So far no seedlings had died, but some of them had stop growing. I can see the new buds tips are black/brownish and the bud tip looks rather like it is dead. The rest of the plants look good so far with no bad signs yet.

I will post a picture of the bud tips soon.

I will use a layer of sand on top too and then go hunting those flies!