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Yellowing, curling leaves: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, parsley = Calcium deficiency?

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Yellowing, curling leaves: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, parsley = Calcium deficiency?

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 4/22/2016, 10:43 pm

My cabbage seedlings had yellowing between the veins, especially on the leaf edges, leading to dead edges on the leaves. Research suggested “tipburn” due to calcium deficiency.  Most of the “cures” seemed to be proactive prevention involving soil additions that would not be immediately available to the plant…  so I ended up crushing one of my calcium citrate vitamin pills, dissolving it in water, and applying it to the soil near the stem of the seedlings. Time passed… the new leaves that grew out looked normal, and the old leaves that were affected have been dying off (and I’ve been removing them.) I have healthy cabbage plants now being hardened off, so I think I guessed right.  Comparison of cabbage with old affected and new unaffected leaves.

My broccoli and Brussels sprouts had milder symptoms, so I treated them, too. The cauliflower was affected as much as or more than the cabbage .  I also treated my kale and collard seedlings before they developed symptoms (though they might have been fine; I don’t recall which brassica need the most calcium.) Here are photos of comparisons of leaves on a broccoli, and a cauliflower that hasn’t had much chance to respond to treatment.

Around the same time, one of my parsley plants had severally curled – almost balled up – leaves. I couldn’t find anything relevant online. I checked for aphids since I had some on a plant in another room earlier in the year, but there were none.  So I figured, ‘eh, why not? It’s almost dead anyhow’ and applied calcium to the parsley plant, too. Wouldn’t you know, the newest leaf looks normal?  The other parsley seedlings weren’t afflicted, and I thought I started them all at the same time from the same batch of potting mix. So I’m not entirely sure I diagnosed things correctly, or there’s some other factor at work here that coincidentally resolved at the same time, but I figured I’d share so other people could try my fix for similar symptoms.  These plants are all indoors, so there are no insect vectors except the ubiquitous fungus gnats, and I used a store-bought potting mix.
Before and after parsley photos:


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Re: Yellowing, curling leaves: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, parsley = Calcium deficiency?

Post  CitizenKate on 4/22/2016, 11:13 pm

Good info. I've got some plants I started in seed starting mix that contained very little, if any, fertilizer. Some of the basil and peppers started to show similar symptoms about 2 weeks after emerging from the mix. I've found that, once the symptoms become evident, it's time for drastic measures. If I go that route again, I think fertilizing them as soon as they start to sprout their first true leaves, and keeping the nourishment coming regularly (every week or two) will probably spare them the stress.


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Re: Yellowing, curling leaves: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, parsley = Calcium deficiency?

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/23/2016, 7:15 pm

I have been potting mine up with Hyponex potting soil after they start growing. The starter mix is very light, and doesn't contain much nutrients. Sounds like they like your Citrical!
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Re: Yellowing, curling leaves: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, parsley = Calcium deficiency?

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