Question What might be happening to my lettuce?


Premium Member
Aug 4, 2019

I recently have put new soil in and to get kids interested brought some Bunnings lettuce to plant. Seem ok except 1 plant looked fine one day next morning I was like the leaves are wilted, except they have all dropped or been cut or something so have lost 1 lettuce and few leaves off another we’re the same, they are still small seedlings so not big enough to be thinking old leaves falling off.

Has anyone got ideas on what it could be?

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Aug 19, 2019
Temperate (all seasons)
The problem with buying seedlings is often they are sooky and soft from being shade. To make sure they last through planting, a hardening off time is needed in partial shade/sun for a few days don't forget to keep them well watered.

Now when you get them through that and you are ready to plant, cut the base out of a 4-5" plastic pot and push it a little way into the ground around the seedling helps to keep them protected from insects and cutworms until they are stronger and can handle the elements, I usually leave seedlings protected this way for about a week or until you start to see stronger growth.

If slugs and snails are a problem you can add a copper sticky strip near the top of the plastic pot and that will protect them further. Once you have this set up with 6-12 pots you can re-use them time and time again and will generally manage to save your seedlings.
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Valued Member
Premium Member
Sep 27, 2015
Pomona, Qld
Slatters can also do this damage.
They are the little grey oval shaped critters that scurry around under the mulch.
They love dry dead mulch, the type we usually use to mulch our gardens.
If its grey mould or any of that sort of fungal issue, the stem of the plant will be black, moist and withered, with the leaf top of the seedling fallen over to one side.
If its a critter that's eaten the seedling off at ground level, there will be a clean cut edge with the top leaf part of the seedling laying over or partly pulled down beside the roots.

And yes the best way to protect seedlings is by the use of old plant pots, yoghurt containers or any other similar from the kitchen.
If your problem is slatters, they might already be within the zone you fence off with you container so you have to remove all the mulch from around each seedling and leave the soil bare for a while so thes scatter away. They don't like the light and since dry mulch is their natural habitat, they move away even if they are living in the top layer of soil.
One old-fashioned method of catching slatters is to place hollowed out orange skin halves on the bare soil slightly elevated on one side so the slatters all run in.
Then you pick up the whole skin and throw in the rubbish bin or a bucket of water until they drown.
The thing with slatters is they are very effective at turning dry matter into compost very quickly so they aren't all that bad.
Just that we don't want them targeting our young soft seedlings!
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