Home / Gardening Guides / Seedlings Dying After Sprouting: The Solution

Seedlings Dying After Sprouting: The Solution

There is nothing more exciting than watching your seedlings sprout after you put a lot of effort into preparing the best location and soil mix. Unfortunately, the excitement might end when you notice signs of the seedlings dying after sprouting.

Sprouting is a transition point from seeds to plants. If they are exposed to an unfavorable environment, they are likely to die.

Why Are Seedlings Dying After Sprouting

As a plant lover, watching your seedlings die after sprouting can be very traumatizing. There are several reasons that lead to sprouting seedling dying.

As the adage goes, prevention is better than cure. Due to their size, it might be challenging to detect any problem, but there are symptoms that will tell you something is wrong with your seedlings. Here, we’ll discuss some causes of dying seedlings, symptoms, and how to treat them.

Weak Stems Or Leggy Sprouts

Weak stems or leggy sprouts are a quite common sight for gardeners. Seedlings might sprout normally but still develop weak stalks. When the stem cannot support the plant, it droops under the weight, which leads to the seedling dying if you do not take quick action.

Why Leggy Sprouts Occur

Leggy seedlings are often a result of insufficient light. Light plays a critical part in germination and growth. When you place them in a dark area, they will start competing for the available light, thus growing taller and forming weak stems. The growth imbalance causes weak sprouts since they cannot absorb enough nutrients.

How To Fix Leggy Sprouts On Seedlings

If your seeding location indoors does not have enough light, you can move them outdoors or use the grow light. Once they grow enough, you can relocate them.

Seedlings require enough light for healthy growth. Place them near windows or the porch to avoid leggy sprouts.

Seedlings Damping Off After Sprouting

Seedlings damping off after sprouting is another problem common to many young plants. This usually happens a few days after they germinate. The symptoms are the stems becoming limp and eventually collapsing. This results in the seedling dying but can be avoided if you detect it early.

Why Your Seedlings Are Damping Off

Damping-off is caused by a fungal infection. The symptoms are not very obvious, and you need to be very keen. If you always keep the soil damp, expect damping off. Fungi thrive in soils that are wet all the time. They love soggy soils with minimal aeration making your pot or garden their breeding ground.

How To Fix Seedlings Damping Off

When damping-off occurs, you might not be able to reverse it since the damage is already done. The best fix is to avoid it altogether. All you need to do is avoid over-watering your seedlings. If the seedlings are potted, make sure the pot has sufficient drainage at the bottom, and the soil mix is right for the plant.

Seedlings Dying Due To Inadequate Temperatures

Seedlings’ dying due to exposure to the wrong temperature is very common. Seedlings require a specific climate to sprout and thrive, which goes hand in hand with moisture in the soil mix.

High or low temperatures might prevent seeds from germinating. Even when they do, the soil heat might burn the stem, killing them after a few days.

Seedlings Dying After Sprouting

Why Temperature Affects Seedlings

Goldilocks seeds, for example, require the right temperature to germinate and thrive. If the soil temperature is not correct, the seedlings might not germinate, and the few that do will not survive the new environment.

Extreme temperatures are not ideal for sprouting seedlings. This is not only for goldilocks but other seedlings like carrots and lettuce, which like cold temperatures.

How To Fix Improper Temperatures

Different plants do well in different climates. It is essential to look for the right sprouting temperatures before planting.

Some seedlings love humid locations, while others germinate in cool areas. Once you get the temperature right, your seedlings will sprout and mature healthily.

Sprouting Seedlings Dying Due To Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats are very destructive organisms when it comes to sprouting seedlings. They attack the seedlings when they are about a week old. You will notice the gnats hovering around your seedlings.

The gnats also deposit larvae that end up killing your sprouting seedlings.

Why Do Gnats Love Sprouting Seedlings?

The fungus gnats are small flies that produce larvae and deposit them on your soil. For these to hatch into new gnats, they feed on the roots of your seedlings.

They reproduce so fast that they can kill your entire garden seedlings within days.

Fungus Gnats And How To Fix Them

One of the most effective ways to eliminate fungus gnats from your garden is to introduce predators. These will stop the gnats from feeding on the sprouting seedling roots.

Predators do not only eliminate the gnats but other garden pests as well. The best predators are the nematodes since they eat gnat fungus larvae before they turn into adult gnats.


Seedling dying after sprouting is not specific to particular plant species – any seedling is at risk if neglected. Seedlings need continuous attention when they sprout. Providing your germinating seedling the right environment to thrive is the best gift for them.

Inspecting your seedlings from day one can save you time and money. Do not wait until the last minute to protect your seedlings; some of the problems can be fixed once you notice them.

Addressing the early signs is the surefire way of ensuring your seedlings will mature healthily.