Compare 5 Kinds of Tomato Wilt: Identifying Tomato Plant Diseases

Identifying tomato plant diseases can take a bit of detective work. Leaves, stems, fruit – there is plenty to consider.

Even when the plant droops, it would be convenient to say, “OK, that’s simple. I need to water my plants. Or it’s tomato wilt. ” 

Problem: there are several kinds of tomato wilt. 

When it comes to treating diseases, you want to know your enemy so you have the proper weapons to fight it and prevent it.

Here are some tips to help you identify 5 types of tomato wilt so you can take steps to protect your crop. 

Identifying Tomato Plant Diseases: Compare 5 Kinds of Tomato Wilt

Compare 5 kinds of tomato wilt as you're identifying tomato diseases with Tomato Dirt

Yep, in each case the plant droops. But look for these telltale signs to help you distinguish one kind of wilt from another.

Bacterial Wilt

Key identifier: plants wilt suddenly, even overnight.

More symptoms

Leaves remain green.

Interior of main stem (when split) is dark and water-soaked or even hollow, particularly in later stages.

More about bacterial wilt

Fusarium Wilt

Key identifier: you’ll see yellowing and wilting on one side of the plant – a leaf, single shoot, branch, or several branches – that moves up the plant as the fungus spreads.

More symptoms

Wilted leaves dry and drop prematurely.

Interior of main stem (when split) shows discolored streaks from plugged water-conducting tissue.

More about fusarium wilt

Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus

Key identifier: symptoms begin on the top leaves first, while other wilts affect lower leaves and then move upward. 

More symptoms

Red and yellow concentric rings on the fruit

The plant’s leaves have a bronze cast, first on the upper sides

Spots on leaves appear after bronzing

More about tomato spotted wilt virus

Verticillium Wilt

Key identifier: Infection pattern often resembles a V-shape. Symptoms progress up the stem. 

More symptoms

Plants may wilt during the day and recover at night.

Yellow spots appear on lower leaves, followed by brown veins. Leaves then turn brown and fall off. 

As with fusarium wilt, the interior of main stem (when split) shows discolored streaks. But here you’ll see them about 10-12 inches above the soil line would be.

More about verticillium wilt

Walnut Wilt

Key identifier: walnut trees are growing nearby. 

More symptoms

Yellowing and browning leaves

Leaf drop 

Stunted growth

Stems turn brown or streak

Tomato plants growing a short distance from walnut trees may not die, but become flaccid and stunted.

More about walnut wilt


More about Tomato Wilts

How to identify and treat fusarium wilt ...

How to identify and treat verticillium wilt ...

How to identify and treat bacterial wilt ...

How to identify and treat tomato spotted wilt virus ...

How to identify and treat walnut wilt ...

How to understand tomato disease resistance codes ...

How to choose the most disease resistant tomatoes ...

More about tomato diseases on our Pinterest board ...


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