Tomato Plant Issues

Asked July 8, 2020, 3:51 PM EDT

All the tomato plants I have grown this year have terribly misshapen leaves-- thick and tightly curled both side-to-side and end-to-end from the time the plants were several inches tall and including most or all of the leaves on the plant. While perhaps a little pale green, I don't see any discoloration or bugs and don't think the plants have ever lacked for water. They have received a little fertilizer and Epsom salt and were planted with some compost. Do you have an idea if there is a remedy? The plants continue to get bigger but the misshapen leaves remain misshapen and few if any normal leaves have been generated. I have used seeds from the past year's best tomatoes for a few years now after buying some commercial heritage tomato plants. I tried to upload an image, but was worried about security issues in doing so.

Westmoreland County Pennsylvania

3 Responses

Good morning and thanks for your question. Pictures would have been helpful but let me pass on some general information that should help.

There are several possibilities for your distorted leaves. Aphids can cause this. They tend to cluster on the undersides of leaves, but since you're looking for bugs and not finding any, I think we can rule them out.

The most common cause of leaf roll is drought related stress. Too much heat and inadequate water cause the leaves to curl inward in an effort to conserve moisture. Once curled, the leaves won't uncurl. But with proper care new leaves should present normally. Water deeply twice a week. You should soak the soil to a depth of six inches.

A third possibility is some sort of virus. If this is the case you should be seeing some sort of mottling of the leaves, or a distortion known as shoestring leaves which is a perfect description.

I'm including two links here that might give you some additional information.


I hope this helps, and please don't hesitate to contact us with any further questions.

Thanks Bill,

Since I did not see a good match with my problem in the links that you sent, I’ll try to send an image. It’s not the most severe depiction. A few plants are severely stunted with no normal lives.

Pictures are always a big help! Send them when you can.