E-mail - Nutrient Deficiency and other aeroponic problems

Hello Doc,
My plants have purple on the stems and in the veins of the leafs  but just at he top -- also the plant is wilting hanging down what can I do to fix this?  I'm using a aerogarden and they have been known to cause stem rot I got stem rot on all plants so I added dirt around the stem past the rot and I also have been turning the pump off to keep the soil moist will this stem rot go away will the plant root up to where I burried it to?

You have a few problems my friend. The purple may be due to phosphorus deficiencies, do your plants exhibit slow growth with weak and stunted plants? Is the purple pigmentation in older leaves and stems? On the other hand, excess potassium can aggravate the uptake of magnesium, manganese, zinc and iron and effect the availability of calcium and can lead to purple coloration in some plants. Only you know if you are giving too much potasium or not enough phosphorus. With non-soil growth the pH can get too high or low and make nutrients unavailable to plants even if you include them in your fertizer.  How often do you check the pH?

The wilting of plants is never good. Either the plants are getting too much water or not enough - in your case I’d say the plants are getting too much water, or really too little oxygen. Plant roots absorb water for the plant, but they also need access to oxygen, which most land plants can not get if the soil or medium is always saturated with water. Reducing the time the water is on is a good idea, you want the roots to be wet but not drenched all the time.
Putting soil around the stem rot may be a bad idea. You want the stems to dry out. You may be keeping the stems wet by putting dirt around them! You need to increase air flow and try to keep the stems dry. Put a small fan on your plants and run the pump periodically, say for 1/2 hour every 2-3 hours.(or whatever the lowest setting is) This would allow the stems to dry and prevent rot. Is it possible for you to find a stem rot resistant variety to grow in your system for next time? Look into it.

Good Growing,
Dr. E.R. Myers

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