Tomato plant branches and leaves curling under

Hey y’all, as I mentioned in other threads, I transplanted most of my tomato seedlings yesterday. I’ve noticed that a lot of them have leaves and branches that are curling under. Also, the underside of some leaves are purple. Is all this just some transplant shock, or over/under watering issue, and will they eventually snap out of it? Hope it’s not my potting soil. I put them back under the flourescents to give them some light. Here are some pics:

Any ideas, @Drew51, @Antmary, @thepodpiper, or anyone else? Thanks.

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Not an expert but I think over water can cause the purple. I left some in a tray with no drainage last spring, extras, and the turned purple after setting in the water for a while, I think someone here mentioned it also.

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How wet is your medium in those pics. It looks very wet

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Thanks, I was wondering if it could be too much water. I did punch some drain holes in each cup, tho. They were perky before they went into the cups, so maybe my soil holds too much water? Guess I’ll let them set for a while under the lights and see how respond.

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It’s pretty wet, as I was mentioning to Jason. You think they just need to dry out? I’ve never used this soil before, maybe it holds in water more than others.

Yes, over watered causes the purple, they hate it. Prefer to be under watered. Curling is a response to stress, but some curl all the time anyway.


Alrighty then, I’ll let them dry out some under the lights. Like I said, this is a new medium, the two previous years I used MG Organic Choice soil. I got this stuff @ Southern States, a regional farm supply chain.

I always bottom water my pots and never does the top of the soil get wet. I have been using promix for a very long time and can tell by weight if a plant needs water but I always say, if the plant looks good and healthy it doesn’t need water just yet.

With those red cups if you think ur plant needs water stick your finger half way down the cup and if it feels moist they surely do not need it at least wait one more day.

Peppers especially like to dry out a bit before watering. it works for me, hope this helps.


If you are able to bottom water you don’t even leave the pot in the water that long just dip it down in the water and pull it out and check the weight of it. If it feels heavier than when you stuck it in then it’s got water

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I know that you said that you punched holes in the cups but make sure they are pretty big.
Water tension and the soil will not let it drain if they are little.

I can’t explain it well because a cup technically has no corners but I slice pieces from the cup that include part of the side. You may have the cup sitting on the holes.

Thanks, pod. Here is a pic of the label, looks like it has peat, pine bark, perlite, dolomite, wetting agent and a wee bit of fertilizer. So, it looks like a good medium, I suppose it holds water better than I thought. All I can do is wait and see, hopefully they’ll perk up as they dry out.

How much does the Promix run you, and what does it have in it?

@Daemon2525, thanks, I believe the holes are big enough, the water does come out when too much is added. They’re a bit smaller than pencil thick holes.

Never buy potting mix with ferts. You give up control.

What do you add then, because they’ll need some kind of nutes? Do you think this is a good mix despite the small amount of ferts? Which particular type of Promix do you use?

Yeah but look at the amounts. I’d consider that miniscule. I mean why bother listing them at that level. :astonished:

When I first started growing plants I used the blue miracle grow powder which is quick and easy and it worked great and still does in my garden drip system but for seedlings now I use flora duo.

There are numerous configurations of ferts u just have to find what works.

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Yes, looks awesome. It’s hard not to over water in plastic. I use plastic too. I sort of solved the problem with hot lights. My T5 VHO lights run hot. Soon though I’m going to use regular bulbs as I think they get too hot. I had to replace a ballast in it last winter and noticed the ballast is rated for use on regular T5 HO lights too. Less lumens, but I feel safer leaving it on while not home. I can always go back to VHO.

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Seeds have everything they need to start and grow, only once they are planted out and settled in do I fertilize.

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Tomatoes you can get away with that but i fertilize my seedlings at least 3 times before plant out.

I start some species of peppers in january and my personal plant out date is around the holiday weekend (end of may) they can’t go that long without ferts.

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My T8s don’t seem to run even warm, but they ought to help dry out the transplants. Plus, it runs warm in the house, about 75. I think each bulb runs at 32W, this is third season I’ve had them, and haven’t had to replace any yet.

The plants already are uncurling already, looking better. They’re a bit pale too, but that’s prob because of over-watering, too. Guess this medium retains water more than the MG organic mix I’ve used the last couple years.

I have started my seedlings in March at the earliest, and have never fertilized them, but most of my starts are tom’s and peppers, and some herbs, like basil, cilantro, etc.

Question for you or @Drew51, my tom seedlings look thin, so I transplanted them deep so they’d root better. You think they’re that way because of lack of nutes, or should they have been transplanted sooner? Or maybe they need a small fan blowing on them to thicken them up?