Sophers
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Mr. Stripey is not happy!

Hi. I'm not much of a gardener but a friend gave me a Mr. Stripey seedling a couple of months ago, which I potted in a large plastic pot. Up until about 2 weeks ago I had a healthy, rapidly-growing beautiful plant. Then I noticed that the leaves were curling. Did a little research, and most of what I read told me this was fairly common and was likely just a reaction to chilly night weather (it was getting down to around 55 degrees) or over-watering. Took the appropriate action, but things continued to go downhill, and now in addition to the leaf curl (or leaf roll?), some of the top leaves are getting brown and dying. I've attached some photos. The baby leaves on the bottom are relatively healthy-looking, but the ones in top that are sprouting from the longer vines are getting limp and brown. :cry: Any advice is appreciated!!
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imafan26
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Re: Mr. Stripey is not happy!

Please update your profile with your location and zone. It gives us a better idea on how to answer your questions.

55 degrees tomatoes won't sprout or set fruit, but I get down to 49 degrees in the winter months and my tomatoe leaves don't curl. It usually takes a prolonged time for that to happen not just one night. It can stunt the plant.

leaves curl
physiological response to the weather, usually heat
curl and top leaves brown when there is not enough water getting to the plant
Either the soil is too dry
or to wet
or nematodes


How big is your pot? Your soil level is low, how much potting soil did you put in.
Did you use potting soil or garden soil or compost
What kind of fertilizer did you use
You said you took the appropriate action? What did you do
stop watering
get rid of the saucer under the pot
How did you check tomake sure the roots were still healthy?
How long was the plant out in the cold and what did you do to protect it?
Did you move the pot? Where in terms of light, more or less.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Mr. Stripey is not happy!

Physiological leaf roll (as imafan said) is more likely a response to heat not cold. And 55 degrees is not that cold

What size was the seedling when you got it? It is barely over the top of the pot now. If it was much smaller, it would have been sunk down in there and shaded by the pot sides. Unless you are planting trees, soil should fill the pot. What is the soil like? Hard to tell from pictures, but it looks pretty dense and compacted. And it is a very large pot for such a small plant. Tomato plants need large pots, but usually they get up-potted to that - start in 3 inch pots and move to bigger ones as they need it. The trouble with a large pot like that, is that it is way more water than the plant can use, so the soil tends to stay wet, especially if the soil is heavy and moisture holding anyway. I was also wondering how big the seedling was when you got it, because your plant now looks pretty small for two months (besides all the other problems). If you planted the seed two months ago, and all was going well, I would expect a bigger plant.

I haven't grown Mr. Stripey, but it may have been a difficult tomato variety to start with anyway. I seemed to remember a lot of complaints about it, so I used the search box to find what people have said here about it:

I once had a box-store bought "Mr. Stripey" that grew into a lovely healthy plant that produced one (1) freakin' tomato[ the whole season]..... https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... ey#p305379

For some people in some years, Mr. Stripey has produced a "bull" plant which is all foliage and no flowers. https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... ey#p329070

I have yet to find anybody who has had success growing Mister Stripey. https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... ey#p330181

elsewhere on the web, I found this:
I'm worried because I've been reading online about how some people say this particular variety is bad; it tastes bad, doesn't produce, etc. …There are many who think well of Mr Stripey and many who would never suggest that someone grow it. And I'm in the latter group and put Mr. Stripey way down on the possible gold/red bicolor varieties to grow. ..The most common complaints are that it's a spindly plant and poor fruit production and that there are other bicolor varieties that are better…..Hi Noteybook, I'm with Carolyn. Grew them last year, not impressed at all. Would never grow them again….If I could only grow 3-10 plants I wouldn't consider this cultivar. They drop blooms and are very late.
I'm sure now I will get some Stripey lovers writing in to say how much they love them. Like I said, I don't have personal experience, but it seems like there's a lot of complaints out there about them.

Anyway yours is probably diseased, certainly failing to thrive, and this late in the season not worth continuing to fuss with. It is a late producing variety, 80 days to maturity. And days to maturity is usually counted from when a transplant the size of yours now is planted in the ground. If it were healthy and doing well, you would barely have time to get one tomato before frost kills it, if you are in some cold winter area.
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Sophers
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Re: Mr. Stripey is not happy!

Hi everyone, thanks so much for your input. To answer some questions - I live in Northern California. It's been quite warm the last few weeks but still about 55-60 at night. Back in May when I first got the seedling it was a tiny thing, maybe an inch and a half tall with a couple of baby leaves in a tiny pot. Once it grew a few inches and seemed to be too large for that tiny pot, I planted it into the large one you see in the photos with potting soil. It was super healthy and thriving through the rest of May, June, and most of July.

When I started noticing the leaf curl in July, I did some reading about it and learned about the possibility that cool weather and/or overwatering were to blame. So I started bringing it in the house on nights where I thought it was too chilly, and put it back outside once it warmed up a bit in the morning. In terms of the watering, I cut down a bit after someone suggested I might be overwatering. It looked very dry on top, but when I would stick my finger down into the soil, I saw that it was still damp around two inches down. At first it was just the leaf curl - there was no yellowing/browning or dried-out appearance until recently. Just seems to be getting worse, so obviously my efforts aren't doing any good.

One mistake (probably one of several, actually) I think I made from what I've read is not putting it in a pot with drainage holes. I wonder if it just collected water at the bottom and could never dry out. (Like I said, I'm brand new to this - never grown a vegetable plant in my life and did minimal research at first.) Another mistake may be what someone mentioned here--the soil is a bit low. Never dawned on me that this might be a problem, but I can see why it might.

I'm reluctant to give up on it - even if it doesn't produce any tomatoes, I still want to see if I can reverse what's wrong, and then I'll be ready to try again next year! No matter what happens, it's been a surprisingly satisfying experience that I would like to enjoy again. Thanks again for your useful input!

Sophers
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Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2015 6:35 am
Location: Northern CA

Re: Mr. Stripey is not happy!

Oops - I guess I should have taken a closer look under the pot before concluding that there were no drainage holes. There are in fact several holes around the edge of the pot! Also, I meant to mention that since I'm in northern CA, it stays quite warm (actually often hot) in September and about halfway through October. So maybe there's hope after all :)

dtizme
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Location: Port Elgin, Ontario, Canada. Zone 5a

Re: Mr. Stripey is not happy!

Maybe it's just me but that plant looks in very rough shape. Also it doesn't look like you have in a very big pot.

Peter1142
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Re: Mr. Stripey is not happy!

55 degrees as a low is not that cold and would not cause any problems. I agree the plant looks in rough shape.
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imafan26
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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Mr. Stripey is not happy!

55-60 degrees at night, you would not have to take it inside.
What kind of soil did you put in the pot. It does not look like potting soil, more like compost?
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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