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Tomato Plant Leaves Not Unfolding – Here’s What Causes It

When planting tomatoes, you can all think of those juicy red tomatoes during harvest season. It could be devastating to see that your plant isn’t doing well early on. You see that your leaves are rolled up, and you frantically start searching this: tomato plant leaves not unfolding.

Tomato leaves typically won’t unfold when they are dealing with excessive heat and low water levels. In addition, poor fertilization, viruses, bacteria, and reusing old soil that lacks nutrients can cause tomato leaves to stay folded.

No one wants to see their tomato crops suffering. Keep reading to learn why your tomato plant leaves don’t unfold and some tips on fixing them. 

5 Reasons Why Your Tomato Plant Leaves Are Not Unfolding

Before you can help your tomato plants, you need to under why their leaves are curling and folding in the first place!

You Plant Tomatoes In The Same Soil Too Often

You cannot plant tomatoes in the same soil every growing season.

You may have the perfect spot in your backyard for your tomato plants, so you plant your tomatoes there yearly.

There won’t be any problems for a few years, but soon, your crops will begin to suffer. Your tomato plants don’t have the nutrients that it needs because the soil is completely depleted of nutrients.

Your Tomato Has A Virus

Your tomato can have a virus called Potato Leafroll Virus. 

This virus is only found in a few states in the United States, where it has jumped from potato to tomato. This happens when you plant tomatoes in or near soil where potatoes with the virus were planted.

The virus is carried through aphids which attack the plant leaves, causing the leaves to look folded up and brittle. 

Your Plant Grew Too Fast For Its Roots To Develop 

Sometimes tomato plants grow too fast for their own good.

When you have amazing weather for your tomatoes, the plants may start to grow like weeds. This sounds great, but it could mean that your tomato plant roots aren’t growing fast enough to support the size of your plant. 

Your plant isn’t getting the support it needs through its roots to grow strong, healthy leaves.

Your Plant Got Too Much Sunlight

Too much sunlight isn’t better for your tomato plants!

If you have a particularly hot spring and summer, your tomato plant may begin to suffer.

The constant, beating sunlight could dry out your tomato plant’s leaves to the point where they start curling up. 

Sunlight won’t only affect your tomato plant’s leaves. The tomatoes will also be discolored and may not be bright red.

You Aren’t Watering Your Tomatoes Enough

Tomato plants need a lot of water, but if your tomatoes aren’t getting enough water, your plant’s leaves will begin to curl.

Almost every plant will have leaves that start to wilt and curl if you are not giving the plant enough water.

Plants that aren’t getting enough water will have leaves that are:

  • Dry
  • Brittle
  • Curled or folded
  • Yellow or light brown

5 Tips To Fix Tomato Plant Leaves Not Unfolding

Thankfully, a few tips will help you fix your tomato plant leaves that don’t seem to unfold with time. Finding the root cause of your plant’s problem will help you solve the issue and help your plants.

Plant Your Tomatoes In A New Place Or New Soil 

Since tomato plants can deplete the soil of nutrients, you should rotate where you plant your tomatoes or use new soil.

You can do what some farmers call plant rotation. You do not plant your crops in the same soil every year; instead, rotate them around your garden to keep them all healthy.

This will ensure that your crops do not deplete the soil of nutrients. 

You may find this difficult to do if you are limited on space in your garden, so you can also rotate planting your crops in pots or raised garden beds.

Give Your Tomatoes More Water 

If you notice that your tomato plant needs more water, you should give your plant more water.

Some websites tell you to measure how much water to give your tomato plant in inches, but as a regular person, you may not know what that means when you give your plants water.

It is possible to overwater your crops, but if you notice wilting and curling leaves, don’t be shy about giving your tomato plants more water.

Give your plants more water when:

  • They are in direct sunlight
  • They are in raised garden beds
  • The weather is hotter than usual
  • There isn’t as much rain as usual

Move Your Tomatoes Out Of The Sunlight 

Your tomato plants may be getting more sunlight than necessary. 

Now, sometimes moving your tomato plants out of the sun is easier said than done.

If your plants are in pots, it is easier to slide around on your patio or porch. Then you can move your potted plants back to where you need them.

Now, if your plants are in garden beds, you’ll have to consider sun exposure before planting. Check where the sun hits during the day and decide if it is a good location for your tomato plants. 

Remove Leaves If From Infection 

Leaves folded due to infection should be removed when you see them.

Some viral infections will cause your tomato plant leaves to curl up and turn yellow. Viral infections are hard to cure during the growing season, but you can help manage the disease while you try to salvage some of your crops.

Simply snip off any leaves that are curled with a yellow tone. Only cut off the leaves that look the worst. You don’t want to cut off all the leaves on your tomato plant! 

You’re Giving Your Tomatoes Too Much Fertilizer And Nitrogen

One thing that you can give your tomato plant is too much fertilizer.

Fertilizer is great for growing plants; plants can soak up nitrogen in the early stages. 

Once your tomato plant is mature and flowering, your tomato plant doesn’t need more fertilizer with nitrogen. Instead, you’ll want to switch to a fertilizer with more phosphorus. 

Fertilizer with nitrogen in later stages will do too much of what may seem good – your tomato plant will become bushy! 

A bushy green tomato plant with luscious leaves sounds like a dream, but it can cause the tomato leaves to curl.