En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
1 rating

Monday - June 19, 2006

From: Toledo, OH
Region: Midwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Possible reasons for yellowing leaves in seedlings in Ohio
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus


I have a problem with my seedlings. They start yellowing of one leaf then die. When I remove the leaf another one starts. I have photos. I have two differant seedling plants and they are experiencing the same thing. I have lost plants in the past this way. Who might test this leaf for the cause of this problem? I was thinking a school or a soil test lab. I have samples I have taken to test. I want to start a company growing violets and don't want to start a bunch of plants that die from infection. Any help would be great.


If it is only the lower leaves that are yellowing and dying, this is a normal process that happens as the new leaves above them are added and treatment is not required. However, if yellowing and dying occurs with all the leaves, you do have a problem. One possibliity for the cause of the death of your seedlings is a condition called damping-off. This is caused by a fungus. Control for this disease involves regulating the moisture content of the soil to keep the fungus from thriving. You should provide good drainage for the seedlings and water them thoroughly—avoiding frequent sprinklings of the soil. Providing good air flow around the seedlings is also important. Additionally, it is a good idea to start your seedlings on pre-sterilized soil.

Your Ohio State University County Extension Agent can give you information on soil and tissue testing.


More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Laurel oak tree not leafing out in Pasadena TX
April 13, 2010 - Hurricane Ike blew down our red bud in the backyard. Had a large 25' laurel oak planted early March 2010. When it was put in the ground, the leaves were on it, but they were all brown and dried. T...
view the full question and answer

Demise of Flameleaf Sumac in Austin, TX.
July 31, 2012 - My Flameleaf Sumac suddenly died. Beetles came out around the trunk when I cut it down. How can I prevent this on the other sumac?
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in Dakota mock vervain
July 23, 2007 - We just planted some Verbena bipinnatifida in our back yard and when we planted it, it had purple flowers on it but now they've all dried up. We live in central Colorado and thought this plant was fa...
view the full question and answer

Need help with dying clumps of Cedar Sedge
June 24, 2015 - Carex planostachys. This grass was planted 2 years ago in light shade. It grew well until this year. Now some clumps are dying. Others in same area look fine. No insects can be detected. Why are...
view the full question and answer

Powdery mildew hits Rock Rose in Round Rock Texas
May 05, 2011 - My beautiful Rock Roses have gotten spots of white fuzzy "fur" on their leaves in the past month. This is not something they have ever had before and I'm worried its some kind of disease. Is it so...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center