What Does The Curling Leaves On Tomato Plants Mean?

We want the best for our plants, don’t we? It’s because our plants are vital to us as they serve as our source of food, as well as a form of decoration for our houses.

However, problems are inevitable when it comes to planting growth. One of these is the curling tomato plant leaves.

But what do the curling leaves on tomato plants mean? In this article, we’re going to talk about just that.

Why does tomato plant leave curl?

There are a lot of reasons why the leaves of tomato plants curl. Some of these reasons are caused by the weather conditions, the environment, and even how you treat them.

However, not all of these causes pose any danger to your tomato plant.

1. Weather stress

curling leaves on tomato plants

One of the most common reasons why your tomato plant leaves curl is due to the weather stress it experiences. Tomato plants are very sensitive when it comes to weather and climate conditions. They have a very strong reaction in adapting to the varying temperature differences throughout the day and seasons.

It’s because of this that their leaves curl. During the cold and rainy months, the leaves located in the bottom portion of the tomato plant thicken. This thickening then causes it to roll and curl up because it can no anymore support its weight. This is due to the abundant supply of water it gets. It is a natural adaptive response of tomato plants to the environmental conditions it is in.

There’s no need to worry if this is the reason why your tomato plant leaves curl because this doesn’t affect the plant’s fruit production or the quality of the tomatoes it would soon bear. You don’t need to do any treatments for your tomato plant if this is the case.

2. Irregular irrigation

Another probable reason behind your tomato plant’s curling leaves is irregular irrigation. Tomato plants need to be regularly irrigated so that stagnant water wouldn’t accumulate on the plant’s growing stems. The water needs to be flowing regularly to ensure that the plant is oxygenated. When this happens, the tomato plant’s leaves will react to it by rolling the leaves inward.

This is the plant’s natural response to protect the leaves from being dampened even more. Remember that if your tomato plant gets too much water or is soaked in water for long periods of time, it would easily get drowned.

3. Improper pruning

curling leaf on tomato plant

It’s important for you to regularly and properly prune your tomato plant. It’s through this process that you can remove the dead and overgrown branches on your growing plant.

When these are left on your plant, they would be sucking up a lot of the nutrients that the stems and leaves should be taking all themselves. It’s because of this lack of nutrients that your tomato plant’s leaves grow abnormally and twists into deformed shapes.

4. Herbicides

Herbicides are also among the leading causes of tomato plants’ curled-up leaves. This is because these are substances which are toxic to plants. Herbicides are used to destroy unwanted vegetation, such as weeds and fungi. However, if you’re using this, there’s a chance that it might be wind-blown into your garden.

When this happens, your tomato plant’s leaves would have curled edges and be deformed into a cup-shaped figure. This does not only cause deformity on the physical look of the leaves, but this can also reduce the quality of the fruits that your tomato plant will bear.

Worse is that it can even be hazardous to your health when you consume the tomatoes that you plant bears.

5. Broad mite infestation

When growing tomato plants, it is important that you plant them in a place that can receive direct sunlight. This prevents broad mites from infesting your tomato plants. If you don’t follow this, there’s a huge tendency that broad mites will use the growing plant as their shelter.

These pests thrive in shaded and cold places. They feed on newly-grown leaves and flowers because these are softer and contain more nutrients. As they bite into it, they also inject harmful toxins that cause the tomato plant’s leaves to curl.

What is the cure for tomato leaves curling?

leaves curling up on tomato plants

One of the best ways to refrain your tomato plant’s leaves from curling is to check and observe your plant’s growth regularly. It is through this that you can see if there are any infected leaves or branches.

When you spot these, you can then immediately remove them. This is a simple yet very effective way not to let your tomato plant’s leaves curl.

Before planting, you can also choose a disease and pest-resistance tomato variety. Thanks to today’s technological advancements, there are already a lot of tomato varieties that are tolerant of any disease and pest infestations. This also means that they are one hundred percent sure not to have any curled leaves.

You can also use floating row covers on your tomato plants. You can use this by simply putting this on your plants. This protects them from unwanted weed growth. Take note that the number one reason why pests are present is the presence of weeds. By stopping weed growth, you are also stopping pest infestation.


The reasons why your tomato plant’s leaves are curling might either be because of weather stress, irregular irrigation, improper pruning, herbicide infection, and pest infestation. If the cause is due to weather stress, you don’t need to worry about it because it is just a natural response.

However, if the reasons are the remaining four, then it’s best that you do treatments on your plant. You can remove infected leaves, water them regularly, do regular irrigation and pruning, place a floating row cover, choose the disease and pest-resistance tomato variety, and make sure you plant them in a place that can receive direct sunlight.

If you have any questions, feel free to voice them in the comment section below. We’ll be more than happy to hear from you.

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Ben Bareja

Ben Bareja, the owner-founder-webmaster of CropsReview.com. This website was conceptualized primarily to serve as an e-library for reference purposes on the principles and practices in crop science, including basic botany. Read more here

4 thoughts on “What Does The Curling Leaves On Tomato Plants Mean?”

  1. I have grown Celebrity tomato plants for years very successfully. Beginning of each season I rototill cow manure into the soil. This year top leaves have curled and there are very few buds on the plants. Plants are tall, I prune them as always, but a dearth of fruit. Any ideas????

  2. Problem with Celebrity tomato plants. Lack of buds and fruit. Plants are grown in soil with cow manure as always. Top leaves are curling, but don’t understand dearth of buds/fruit


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