What Causes Tomato Leaves To Curl? – How to Cure it and Avoid it?

It’s disheartening, isn’t it? I understand! You’re not alone in facing this issue; I’ve experienced it too. And you won’t believe it, but I managed to cure my tomato leaves. But how? That’s the main question. Don’t worry, you’ll find all the answers here.

In this guide, I’ll explain everything about why tomato leaves curl or roll unexpectedly. All the reasons for this are right below. Take a look!

If you encounter any problems, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comment section below.

Key takeaways:

  • You are here because the plant is growing well if you use Florida Weave Trellis to support them and you want to keep it away from all the problems and diseases.
  • You want it to stay healthy! So, it is better first to dig into knowing the symptoms and causing agents leading to the curling of tomato leaves.
  • Some different reason that causes tomato leaves to curl is Virus, Herbicide damage, Nitrogen overload, Irregular and improper watering, etc.
  • First of all, leaves are of the following types, they can be young or newly formed ones or old (aged) ones.
  • It is important whether the mixed types of leaves are rolling or a particular of these two is rolling.

You will also get to know how to cure them if any get stuck to your lovely tomato plant. 

Rolling up or down? Yes, this also matters in noticing the cause of tomato leaf curling. The color change in leaves, and pest infection. By knowing this, it will be easy to know what the next step should be to uncurl the tomato leaves.

What is tomato leaf curl?

When you find the leaves of the plant start curling or twisting it can be due to many reasons. If your plant is healthy it will not thrive best but curling of leaves will make them die if not cured at time and to solve your problem you need to continue your reading.

What Causes Tomato Leaves To Curl? – Causes of tomato leave curling


Viral infections are not easily cured. The viral infection led to high damage to the plants. The wild plants are infected plants growing nearby should be removed 

While transplanting, sometimes the gardener might not notice that the plant is infected and has already been attacked by whiteflies. These whiteflies are the carrier of viruses that can further be transmitted to healthy plants and cause twisted tomato leaves that are upwards and also lead to the yellow coloration of leaves. 

Plants seem to look droopy, and lifeless, and almost zero fruit production occurs. For this infection, the responsible virus is the Tomato Yellow leaf curl virus.

Another virus is Tomato Mosaic Virus- this viral infection also leads to the curling of leaves with other effects like dwarf leaflets, mottled-colored leaves, and browning of the inner portion of fruit. 

Tobacco mosaic virus – this viral cause has almost similar effects on tomato plants as that of tomato mosaic virus. This plant pathogenic virus is easy to spread and creates a loss.

Herbicide damage

The herbicides are another factor that is causing the curling of tomato leaves.  Specifically, the herbicide 2,4-D herbicide which is a hormone weed killer is washed off or carried away through the wind to tomato plants, which are sensitive to this chemical and get reacted with it.  The twisted leaves are indicated by unhealthy fruits.

Wait for a few weeks if the normal growth doesn’t appear then remove it. 

Removal of a plant if the damage is not reversed which can happen if little herbicide has reached the plant 

Irregular and improper watering

The leaves of tomato plants might be rolling due to water not reaching the leaves which can be due to the “underwatering” of plants. Tomatoes need 4-5 cm of water in 7 days. This can vary with its size. The hot climate demands more water, tomatoes need more water during this time. In cold to humid climates, make sure that you don’t overwater the plants.

Nitrogen overload

Cutting or trimming tomato plants in proportion to their size demands less nitrogen but if you keep applying fertilizer the plant will get overloaded with nitrogen, as most of the fertilizer has a nitrogen supply. Many gardeners keep using natural nitrogen supply to the plants which can cause twisting to curling of tomato leaves. To balance it out you can also plant other companion plants with tomatoes.

Environmental causes

Winds, hot-dry weather, cold-humid conditions, drought, etc. are some of the environmental conditions that might cause the curling of tomato leaves just like the philodendron leaves curling. These environmental variations can temporarily affect the plant and can be reversed back to the form as the environment becomes suitable for a tomato plant. If not the cause can be something else which can be physiological causes like root damage while preparing the soil, excess pruning, etc., or the above-mentioned causes.

Remedies for curling tomato leaves

  • Don’t let the soil get too dry or drained in water for long
  • Use shade fabric when it’s too sunny or during times of heat waves. 
  • Choose pest-resistant varieties 
  • Remove the virus-infected plant as soon as possible 
  • Try to protect the plants from broad mites, insects, aphids, and whiteflies. 
  • Weeds removal
  • Use clean tools 

For more such plant-related articles, you may also read, How to Protect Plants from Frost?

Preventing Leaf Curl On Tomato Plants

There are a few precautions by which you can prevent tomato plants from getting curled. You need to make sure that the plant is in good health, and has a good amount of nutrients, water, and sunlight so that it can grow best. The following are some points by which you can prevent the leaf of the plant to get curl:

  • We all know that the weather does change at any time but you need to maintain watering schedules and mulch your tomato plants which will help the plants to tolerate heat and to prevent the leaf from curling.
  • You need to prune your tomato plants so that there is an airflow and space between the plants which will help in reducing the viral infection that often spreads between the plants and it will help to keep good health of the plant. 
  • Always make sure whenever you purchase the soil mulch or compost or manual it should be from reputable sources. As they are aware of how to keep away the aminopyralid from your plant. If you buy from locals they don’t know how to know about the herbicides which are very easily transferred in organic matter. 
  • Not to use any synthetic chemical pesticides or herbicides. To protect the tomato plants from herbicides, grow them in a Greenhouse or indoor environment. Make sure to check your tomato plants so that if there are any signs of curling of leaves you can start the treatment as soon as possible and make your tomato plants healthy.

Final thoughts on the context:

What Causes Tomato Leaves To Curl? – we hope you have the solution now! We hope this article has made you understand how tomato leaves curl when they happen, and how to stay cautious and keep the star of your garden away from the ‘rolling leaves’ problem.


Can tomatoes recover from leaf curl?

Depending upon what causes the tomato plants’ leaf twist, they sometimes can recover and sometimes can’t recover at all. Usually, when the plant still can grow normally after getting affected that means it is getting recovered. More viral infections of tomato plants don’t recover at all.

How do you control the tomato leaf curl virus?

You can spray the plant with a chemical called imidacloprid. This chemical should be sprayed every two weeks on the infected plant. 

What is a good fertilizer for tomatoes? 

The fertilizers with a good amount of phosphorus in them, are found to be suitable for the tomato plants. 

What’s wrong with my tomato plant leaves?

The leaves show a change in shape when they are getting an abnormal amount of water. They twist, wilt, and cupped upwards or downwards and this shows that something is wrong with your plant, which can be due to overwatering or underwatering.

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