wilting leaves on indoor salad plants

by Janice
(Cheshire, UK)

This is my first attempt at growing salad plants. Things started off ok but after about 5 weeks the leaves started to wilt and some have shriveled. All are on indoor window ledges with little sun except the tomatoes which are in the front with more sun. Ive used compost stored from last summer and wondered if this could be the problem. Ive also spotted the odd small black fly but there is nothing on the leaves.

Comments for wilting leaves on indoor salad plants

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Apr 23, 2012
Plants wilting in containers NEW
by: ~ Megan

The appearance of little black flies suggests you have fungus gnats. These are often found in the top soil of container plants. I've seen many an ornamental house plant at friends' homes with lots of these small nuisances crawling around in the top layer of soil with some flying nearby.

Fungus gnats larvae will eat young seedlings roots which will eventually cause plants to wither and die. Fresh compost also attracts fungus gnats which feed on any residue organic matter.

The compost you are using could be the problem in another way also. If there are still unrotted bits of compost in the mix, microbes could rot the roots of your plants, especially if you keep the soil too wet.

Overall it would be best to clean out the soil, sterilize the containers in case of gnat eggs and microbes, then put new soil in and start again. You can also put the pots outside and stir up the top soil layer and let the sun and fresh air kill off any unwanted pests.

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