It’s a plant lover’s worst nightmare to see their tomato plant leaves curl up and wilt!
As plant enthusiasts, we always want our plants to be healthy and the sight of leaves discoloring and drying up is unsettling!
This phenomenon is known as leaf curl.
Although this is unpleasant for any gardener, it is something that can be reversed.
By reading the below article you’ll be able to get your plant back to its healthy state in no time!
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How to treat leaf curl on a tomato plant
The only way to start treating a leaf curl in your tomato plant is to first identify the reason behind it. You can start by avoiding over and underwatering and avoid placing your tomato plant in direct sunlight. Lastly, check for possible viral infestations on your tomato plant.
Stop overwatering your tomato plant
Overwatering is one of the most common plant care mistakes gardeners make.
It can be so tempting to water your tomato plants every day but overwatering can be extremely harmful to your plant and could be the reason for leaf curl.
The soil your tomato plant grows in should always be slightly moist.
Soil that’s too wet causes major problems for your tomato plant.
Overwatering leads to excessive water in the soil and when there is too much water in the soil it can lead to root rot.
If the roots of your tomato plant start to rot, your plant will start to wilt and the rotting of the roots will lead to leaf curl.
If you think you might be overwatering your plant and this is the reason for leaf curl then check the roots for any rotting.
Remove these roots so they do not contaminate the rest of the plant and replant the tomato bush in fresh soil.
Give your tomato plant water
Tomato plants are known to be very resilient.
However, they still need proper plant care to grow optimally. That means that the right amount of water is crucial for preventing leaf curl.
To test this, poke the soil with an inch of your index finger.
If the soil is completely dry your plant may be dehydrated and this may be the reason for leaf curl.
To remedy this issue, maintain the moisture in the soil by regularly checking the moisture level.
Wait for the soil to dry up before watering but not to the extent where it has lost all its moisture. When the soil begins drying up thoroughly, water your plant.
Keep a watering tray under your tomato plant if it is in a pot.
Ensure that the water tray is always full of water. This way your tomato plant will always get enough water.
Give your tomato plant some shade
Another reason the leaves of your tomato plant could be curling up is that your plant might be getting way to much sunlight!
Tomato plants need on average, a minimum of four hours of direct sunlight and a maximum of 9 hours of sunlight.
6-8 hours of sunlight is the ideal amount. Any more than 9 hours and your tomato plants may severely suffer from leaf curl.
It’s also possible that your tomato plant’s receiving too much sunlight than it can handle.
If your plant is overheating it’ll start wilting due to dehydration. This will cause your tomato plant’s leaves to start discoloring and curling up.
To remedy this issue, simply move your plant into the shade if it is possible.
If you are dealing with a pot, then relocate your pot to an area where it will get between 4-6 hours of sunlight a day.
If you are dealing with outside tomato plants, I would recommend that you make sure to plant them in an area that gets enough sun and shade.
If they are already growing it would be a great idea to put a shade cloth above your plant to block out some of the sun.
Check for viral infections
There are over hundreds of different viral infections that could potentially harm your tomato plant and cause discoloration and leaf curl.
The most commonly known ones that attack tomato plants are the curly top virus, yellow leaf mosaic virus, and the tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV).
When your plant is infected with one of these viruses, you will notice the leaves curling up and drying out.
This type of leaf curl is far more detrimental to your tomato plants than any physiological aspects.
Aside from causing the leaves to curl up, it is also contagious, so there is a possibility that leaf eaters and other insects could spread the virus around all your tomato crops.
There is no real natural way to eradicate the viral infection.
Thus, using a chemical called imidacloprid is the most effective strategy to control a tomato leaf curl caused by a viral infestation.
This chemical can be found at a local gardening center and should be sprayed all over the plant including the roots.
The way to identify if your tomato plant has the viral leaf curl is to first try remedy the physiological possibilities.
Take your tomato plant inside if possible or cover it with a shade cloth if it is not possible.
Water it thoroughly at night and check to see if the leaves have perked up in the early morning. If they do not perk up, you might have a viral issue.
What to do when your plant has leaf curl
The best way to care for your tomato plant when it has leaf curl is to prune off the leaves that are completely discolored and curled.
Remove any rotting roots from the plant so that the disease does not spread to further roots or other plants.
If you are capable of identifying the reason for leaf curl you’ll be able to easily remedy the issue!
Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.