Tomato Plants Wilting: 7 Causes With Solution(Explained)

When a beginner gardener notices that his tomato plants are wilting, it can be very frustrating for him. If you are also putting in a lot of effort over a long period of time to get healthy and robust plants, only to find that your plants are suddenly wilting, then I will be able to assist you by sharing the knowledge that I have gained through my own personal experience.

In this section, I’ll talk about the seven things that can cause tomato plants to wilt, which will not only help you understand the problem better but also help you find a solution. 

If you really want to solve this problem, you can’t ignore the things that led to it in the first place.

Why Are My Tomato Plants Wilting?

A tomato plant can wilt for a number of common reasons, such as too much or too little watering, an infection with the plant wilt virus, a cold temperature, fungal diseases, pests, companion plants, and the distance to other companion plants.

Here are the six reasons, each of which is going to have a detailed explanation below:

1. Low or Over Watering

Water loss on tomato plants can cause drooping and wilted leaves. Your tomato plants will wilt if they do not receive enough water pressure to stay upright.

Many non-woody plants, including tomatoes, rely on cell turgor to maintain their upright position, which is a common cause of wilting.

Throughout the day, your plants will lose water through transpiration, and if their roots do not receive enough water to compensate, the plant will droop as cells lose water and turgor.


Dehydrated tomato lower and upper branches and leaves will wilt and wither.

Gently bend a disposable branch to see if it snaps like a dry branch; tomato branches should be flexible and slightly bendy.

Insert your knuckles into the soil; if it’s dry at this level, dehydration is almost certainly to blame.

Tomatoes need one inch of water per week and prefer a deep soak less frequently than small amounts of water every day.

Depending on your climate, this will probably mean a thorough watering twice a week or so, but should be adjusted according to heat waves or rain events.

A good deep drink should help your tomato plants recover completely if they haven’t been severely wilted for more than a week. Maintain vigilance because severely dehydrated plants can die.

Keep your tomatoes on a regular watering schedule and set reminders on your phone or calendar to avoid wilting caused by insufficient water.

2. Wilt Virus Infection

As the name implies, Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV) causes wilting and yellowing of tomato plants.

Thrips, a common tomato plant pest, will feed on your tomatoes and spread the virus through their gut into plant tissue.


TSWV symptoms include stunted or lopsided growth, brown flecks on the leaves, and raised circular areas and spotting on the fruits. Wilting is more common on new growth and growing tips than on older, lower branches.

The only way to be certain that TSWV is present is to collect a sample and send it to a local agricultural university lab (although some will identify infections based on emailed photos!).


TSWV infection in plants, like fungal infections, has no cure. Infected plants, as well as any nearby weeds or plant debris, should be removed as soon as possible and burned or thrown away.

TSWV-resistant tomato varieties should be purchased, and other preventative measures should focus on thrip population control in your garden, as thrips are the virus’s primary vector.

If you use salicylic acid sprays, thrips will avoid feeding on plants with salicylic acid on their surface.

Thrips and other pests are drawn to sticky yellow and blue cards, which can be purchased at plant centres or online.

3. Cold temperature

If young tomato plants are exposed to chilly temperatures early in the growth season, they may wilt. If you transfer them to a warmer place or if temperatures rise, particularly at night, the plants will normally recover (as long as there is no evidence of major frost damage).

At the conclusion of the growing season, mature tomato plants that are frost-free may also wilt and fall over. The tomato growing season is over.


To save your tomato plants from cold damage, you need to take some preventive measures. First of all, you should stop watering your plants a few days before the cold snap is expected. This will help reduce the risk of freezing.

Secondly, you should increase the temperature around your plants by using a heat lamp or placing them in a greenhouse. And lastly, you should protect your plants from the wind by covering them with burlap or placing them in a sheltered spot.

4. Fungal Disease

Your tomatoes will wilt if they become infected with Verticillium wilt or Fusarium wilt.

The spores of these fungi can survive in the soil over winter or on plant debris left out in the field, and they will enter the root systems of your plants the following season.

Both diseases cause wilting by growing inside the plant’s xylem and obstructing the transport of water and nutrients, resulting in turgor loss in the leaves and stems.

Tomato plants and other nightshade vegetables can be affected at any stage of development, though it is thought that Verticillium wilt affects plants later in the season in Northern climates when soil temperatures are at least 70-75°F.

Fusarium wilt is more common in the South because it prefers temperatures between 80 and 90°F. Fusarium wilt is becoming more common.


To confirm a fungal infection, cut a vertical section at the base of the stem and look for the presence of a brown substance inside.

Fusarium wilt can cause the plant to wilt and turn yellow on only one side or only the lower branches.

Lower branches appear to recover at night before wilting again during the day.


Both of these fungal infections have no cure, and infected plants should be removed and discarded immediately to prevent further spread. Infected plants should not be composted!

Take numerous precautions to keep Fusarium wilt out of your garden, as it can survive in the soil for up to ten years!

Remove plant debris at the end of the season, rotate nightshade crops every season, solarize soil with tarps in the spring, buy resistant tomato varieties, and grow non-resistant varieties in pots to prevent these aggressive fungi from establishing themselves in your soil.

5. Pests

Stalk borers and thrips (see above) can cause your tomato plant to wilt after entering or feeding on it.

Stalk borers are small caterpillars that transform into moths in the spring and bore a hole at the base of your tomato plant, tunneling into the main stem and causing wilting.


There could be excrement near the plant’s base, as well as small holes used by the insect to breathe as it moves up the stem.

Because these can be difficult to detect, rule out other possibilities before focusing on this one.


If the pest is discovered before it causes extensive wilting, it can be removed through a potentially dangerous surgery.

Make a vertical incision in the stem and remove the caterpillar with tweezers if you find a bore hole and/or insect excrement.

This type of opening can weaken the plant and allow other pests and disease to enter, so it must be patched with horticultural tape and carefully monitored after removal.

If the plant is severely wilted, it has done its damage and should be removed.

Mulching plants in the spring, as well as cutting away tall grass or overgrown weedy paths and edges to your garden, can help to create an access barrier for the stalk borer.

6. Companion Plants

Juglone, a chemical compound released by all parts of the black walnut tree, is toxic to all tomato species, among others.

Tomato plants exposed to juglone may yellow, wither, and die in addition to wilting.

Because this toxin is found in tree leaves and branches, it has the potential to infect the soil and kill tomato plants.

Plants are particularly sensitive when they are near the walnut tree’s flow channel or drip line, since run-off delivers juglone straight into their roots.


Wilting and yellowing leaves are symptoms of juglone wilt, which is similar to Fusarium and Verticillium wilt.

Your tomato plants’ stems may also acquire brown, vertical stripes, slowing their growth. Looking for juglone sources in the neighborhood is the greatest method to identify this problem.


If you discover that your tomatoes are less than 80 feet away from a walnut tree or tree material soon after transplanting them, dig them up and relocate them to a more suitable location or container.

Plants that have already begun to wilt and develop severe symptoms cannot be saved; they must be removed and killed. Black walnut branches, leaves, and fruits should never be tossed or utilized as mulch.

7. Gap between plants

If you notice that your tomato plants are wilting and there’s a gap between the plant and the soil, that’s usually a sign that the plant is not getting enough water.

When the gap between the plant and the soil increases, it means that the plant is losing more water than it’s taking in, and this can lead to wilting.


 The solution here is pretty straightforward: water your plants more often. Make sure to give them a good soaking so that the water can reach the roots. And if you can, try to water them in the morning so that they have all day to soak up the moisture.

Can Tomato Plants Get Too Much Sun?

If you live in an area with intense sunlight, it’s possible that your tomato plants are getting too much sun. Tomato plants need around 6-8 hours of sunlight per day, but if they’re getting more than that, it could actually start to damage the plant.

Too much sun can cause the leaves to start to wilt and the plant will eventually stop growing. If you think your tomato plants are getting too much sun, try moving them to a shadier spot or providing them with some artificial shade.

Why Are My Tomato Plants Wilting After Transplant?

If you’re fertilizing your plants with nitrogen, that could be the problem. Nitrogen is a gas, and it’s hard to keep it in the soil. When you transplant your plants, they might not be getting enough nitrogen, which could cause them to wilt.

The solution is to either fertilize your plants less frequently or to use a fertilizer with a higher nitrogen content. You can also try planting your tomatoes in an area where they’ll get more sun. The sun will help them absorb more nitrogen from the air.

Why Are My Tomato Plants Wilting And Turning Yellow?

When your tomato plants wilt, turn yellow, and start to die, it’s called “yellow death.” And there are a few different things that can cause it.

  • First, it could be a lack of water. Make sure you’re giving your plants enough water, especially during hot weather.
  • Second, it could be a nutrient deficiency. Tomato plants need a lot of nitrogen, so make sure you’re fertilizing them regularly.
  • Third, it could be a disease. Tomato plants are susceptible to a number of diseases, including early blight and late blight. If you think your plants might be sick, take them to a gardener or plant doctor for a diagnosis.
  • Finally, it could be pests. Tomato plants are especially susceptible to attack from aphids, whiteflies, and tomato hornworms. If you see any pests on your plants, get rid of them as soon as possible.

If you’re not sure what’s causing the problem, take a sample of the affected plant to your local cooperative extension office for help.


If you are just starting out, it’s natural to feel disheartened when you discover that your tomato plants are dying despite your best efforts to care for them.

On the other hand, if you have read the whole article, you ought to be able to recognise all of the different factors that may contribute to this issue. 

You can also take the steps necessary to stop the wilting of tomato plants if you take the appropriate actions.