Sunday, March 22, 2009

My tomato plant is wilting, but why.?

We have 6 tomato plants... Five is Ok, but the sixth is wilting. I am figuring out why. One possible reason is poultry manure pallets are very close to the stem. So I push the fertilizers further away, water down well and deep and see what happen in a day or two.. I search for other signs, fungal attack, injury to the stem and leaves etc... So far to my naked eyes, there is none.

I notice that at night, the leaves straighten up and it begin to wilt as day gets hotter...I wouldnt know what will happen in days to come. Am I going to lose the sixth tomato plant?...

The sixth is wilting

But the other five are healthy and surviving. And there is one little tomato peeping behind the leaves. Most flowers are pointing upward as if they are are enjoying the sunlight, but tomatoes are very shy...

The little fruit
the flowers are looking down.


  1. That is called Vergicillium wilt, you need to
    get a product called VFM resistant.

  2. Thanks cathy..... Will look for VFM resistant.

    So far the leaves stay green, wilting yes but has not turned yellow or brown, and none drop off yet.

  3. Cathy diagnosis sounds right to me, but she must have been typing too fast; it's "verticillium" wilt, and unfortunately "VFM resistant" isn't a product you can apply to a plant, it's a code indicating which diseases a particular variety of tomato is resistant to. A tomato plant labeled "VFM" is resistant to the three most common tomato diseases: verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt, and tobacco mosaic virus.

    Verticillium sounds like what's afflicting your tomato because one of the most common signs is the wilting-by-day, recovering-by-night pattern that you describe. See the picture and description at Aggie, a.k.a. TAMU, a.k.a. Texas A&M, a.k.a. Texas Agricultural and Manufacturing University:

    V. wilt is a soil-borne fungus, so it's important not to overwater. Keeping leaves dry helps, but nothing is actually likely to get rid of it. A lot of experts would tell you to yank that plant and throw it in the trash, so it can't infect the others. Sorry I don't have better news!

  4. Thanks Kate,

    Very sad, because today, just before my regular watering time, I pull the sixth tomato plant out all the way to the roots. Tomorrow, the lorry will take it away......

    But I still have 5 plants to cheer about!... and more fruits are taking shape.

  5. Hope the other tomatoes survive, I am sure they will. Look forward to seeing your progress. I just lost most of mine to a late wilt, but had such a good season I shouldn't complain! All the best.

  6. Prue..
    The other five survived so far.. I will show the progress soon in pictorial form..

  7. I think one of my tomato plants has the same thing. I hope I can apply something to it to liven it back up. If not, does anyone know if its possible to compost the plant? I don't mind pulling it if I have to but I'd like to compost it. I don't want to add a fungus to my compost pile though!

  8. Craig..
    Suggestions seem to point on taking out the wilting plant and send it out as far as you can... Definitely not composting it and let the bacteria grow hurting more tomato plant in the near future...

    1. Jeff....

      I'm having a similar problem. They were fine up to about two days ago. It has been hot here and the plants are receiving a lot of sun. I moved them back a little in to a slightly shadier spot. Added a little vegitable fertilizer, crushed eggshells and a bit of coffee grounds. I have a ton of quite large cherry tomatoes and I believe it was too much sun.

  9. Hi there just stumbled upon your blog in search of tomato bacterial wilt.
    VW? look more like bacterial wilt to me. Vigorous plant suddenly die overnight without showing any sign of yellowing leaves. I lost 100 + tomato plants due to this disease. Check out for bacterial wilt info on net.

  10. I have two Big Beef tomato plants. They've been healthy for quite some time, at least four months. However, over the last week, maybe a bit less, they've somewhat wilted. The leaves look fine, aside from curling, and the plants don't revive later in the day, so doesn't seem like verticillium wilt. They show no signs of decay. Is it over watering? Someone please help!

  11. I have the same issue with wilting, (Curling up) starting from the bottom. I have reduced watering, with no apparent improvement. I purchased plants at Wall Mart, (Big Boy and Better Boy) as well as the potting soils, (Miracle Grow). In addition to wilting, the lower leaves are starting to turn yellow. I am very concerned that I may loose all these plants, (10) after all this effort. Can someone help?

  12. I have three big beef that are wilting. Curling up and now leaves are starting to turn yellow. The plants don't seem to revive at night. They have been healhty for over four months. TN has had some torrential rains lately. Could this be overwatering? Please help!!

  13. ~Visitors and gardeners

    There are considerable amount of visits for this tomato wilting post, according to my blog statistic. Our tomato plants wilt for no obvious reason and die.

    themanicgardener had offered some explanations on wilting. That's adequate to start with.

    Cheers, lets grow tomato!!

  14. Mine are wilting and the tomatoes look like prunes. Very disappointed, but will throw away, now that I know. Thanks for info.

  15. My tomato plant is not growing and is just flopping around lifelessly what should I do?
    It won't grow as well the leaves are really moist but I haven't watered it for a long time.
    It is growing with chili and basil should I move the plans as well?

    1. i always take out wilting tomato plants..... basil and chili can still grow.


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