Last Updated on November 12, 2022 by Guillermina
Do you have tomatoes planted in your aquaponics system and are wondering to yourself ‘why are my tomato leaves curling up? If you answered yes to this question, keep reading this article to find just the answer to it.
Tomatoes In Aquaponics
Tomatoes, scientific name Solanum lycopersicum are one of the most common aquaponics plants. This is because they are very easy to grow, their seedlings are readily available at most supermarkets and garden centers, have short growth cycles (some can take as short as 60 days to produce fruit) and there are many varieties of tomatoes to choose from.
Tomatoes are versatile fruits. They can be found in almost every kitchen and are a staple for most dishes. You really do not have to be a food guru to use tomatoes in your cooking. They go well with a lot of dishes. So if you are growing tomatoes in your aquaponics and you see their leaves starting to curl, you definitely want to get to the root of the problem right away right? Let us get into the possible causes of this issue.
What Causes Tomato Leaves To Curl?
Tomato leaves curling is usually a response to environmental stresses. In an aquaponics system, it is usually due to some water quality factor being off in the water in which the crop is grown. It could also be due to other factors in the general environment where your system is set up.
One of the most common causes of tomato leaves curling is too much sun and hot temperatures. This could be from environmental temperatures or grow lights that are used to provide light to the plants.
Another possible cause is nutrient deficiencies. In aquaponics, if certain critical water quality parameters such as pH are not maintained at the ideal level for the plants in the system, the plants may not be able to absorb nutrients from the water.
pH which is not in the ideal range preferred by the plant in the system may cause nutrients to be bio-unavailable. This means that even though nutrients may be present in the water, the plant will not be able to absorb and utilize them. This will result in nutritional deficiencies which can manifest as leaf curl in plants such as tomatoes.
Tomatoes require a pH of between 5.5 and 6.5 to grow well and efficiently absorb nutrients in aquaponics. If you check your pH using a pH meter such as this one, and find that it is in the ideal range, it could be that there are just insufficient nutrients in your system. This may also cause your tomato leaves to curl.
Another less common but possible cause of tomato leaves curling up in aquaponics is the presence of viruses. Viruses such as the tomato mosaic virus can present as leaves curling inwards. This is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as spotted coloring of the leaves and browning of the inside of the fruit.
Tomato leaves curling is unlikely to negatively affect your plants in the long run. It is usually a sign that your plants need some attention to identify the cause. Once that cause is taken care of, your plant will thrive. Let us go into the possible treatments of leaf curl on tomato plants.
How Do You Treat Leaf Curl On Tomato Plants?
So now that you know what the possible causes of your tomato leaves curling are, how do you treat them? Treatment will depend on the diagnosis that you have made. It is therefore crucial to make the correct diagnosis before you can decide on a mode of action to remedy the situation.
If your tomato leaves curling up is caused by high heat or temperature, lower it to a level that will not harm your plants. If your plants are exposed to direct sunlight, you may want to shield them using materials such as shade cloth.
Make sure that there are sufficient nutrients in your system to prevent tomato leaf curl due to nutritional deficiencies.
If the pH in your system is outside of the prescribed range of 5.5-6.5 for tomatoes, adjust it accordingly by adding the right chemicals such as calcium carbonate and potassium carbonate (to increase pH), and acids such as nitric, muriatic, and phosphoric (to reduce pH). You can also do a water change to help adjust it.
In the unlikely event that you have a virus in your system, it would be best to remove the infected plants so that the virus does not spread. To avoid viruses entering your system, make sure that you plant seedings that are disease free.
Tomato Seedling Leaves Curling
Tomato plant leaves curling can occur even in seedlings. This is because seedlings are equally, if not more sensitive to environmental stresses. It is important that you maintain the right environmental conditions from the start, when seedlings are planted in the system.
The same causes such as high temperatures, direct sunlight or high light intensity, plant diseases, nutritional deficiency and pH imbalance will also cause your tomato seedling leaves to curl.
To avoid these problems, provide your tomato plants with an ideal growing environment and they will grow strong from beginning to end.
You can read more about the best growing conditions for tomatoes in aquaponics at: https://gogreenaquaponics.com/blogs/news/how-to-grow-tomatoes-in-aquaponics.
Conclusion – Why Are My Tomato Leaves Curling Up?
This article has provided you with the information you need to answer the question “why are my tomato leaves curling up”. You should now be able to diagnose and treat all causes of your tomato leaves curling like a pro. Remember that it is not the end of the world if you see your tomato leaves curling up, you have this article to help you to correctly diagnose and treat whatever could be causing this undesirable symptom in your tomato plants. We hope this information has helped you become more confident with growing tomatoes in aquaponics.
If you enjoyed reading this article or found it helpful, please share it with your family and friends. Happy food growing.
An aquaculture specialist and freelance writer. Passionate about anything sustainable living, such as growing your own food, and if you can do it in conjunction with fish farming, even better! I currently work as an aquaculture researcher where I can expand and share my knowledge and skills on aquaculture, crop farming and adding value to wastewater by using it to grow food products. I enjoy reading and learning as much as possible, and writing is another avenue for me to share the knowledge I gain with others. I want my writing to inspire people to try their hand at gardening, whether indoors or outdoors. You can even start by keeping a few houseplants indoors to help you gain a bit of confidence if you need to.