Amanda, Author at Absolute Gardener


White Spots on Tomato Leaves: Why and How To Treat It

First off, congratulations on the idea of growing your own tomato plant! But it sure does suck when you start noticing that your young tomato plant isn’t growing like the ones that are wallpaper-worthy, and one of the most common problems tomato plant owners face are white spots on tomato leaves. Why does this happen and how to treat them? If you’re probably feeling like this lengthy article isn’t going to answer your questions, well I beg to differ.

In short, I can tell you that with attentive care in the transplantations of young tomato seedlings, adequate watering, proper sunlight, shed and wind conditions, careful use of fertilizers and fungicides, your tomato plant would not stray very far from perfection!

white spots on tomato leaves
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Did I get your attention now? If I did, you’re going to love what I’ve compiled for you here. Sure, tomatoes from the supermarket taste okay. But there is something more to the taste of a tomato grown in your very own backyard. Well, this is because mass-produced tomatoes are grown to last through longer shelf lives while maintaining firmness. Not to mention being coated with wax so that it appears on a perfect bright red hue.

Homegrown ones are in fact richer in flavor. Tomato plants (Scientific name: Solanum Lycopersicum) are sensitive to a variety of factors and more often than not, even too much cold or heat are among the many factors that play important roles in their growth. There are many reasons why tomato plant leaves turn white or why there are white spots on your tomato plant and in this article, they will be discussed thoroughly.

white spots on tomato leaves
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For starters, due to its long growing period, people tend to grow them indoors first and then transplant them outdoors when the soil is warm. During this transition, problems may occur due to its susceptibility to temperature and light conditions which causes vulnerability to the occurrence of tomato leaves turning white, which can appear at first as small white spots.

Although not always fatal, these conditions may lead to the death of the plant or reduce the quantity and quality of your yield which also affects the taste of the tomatoes as well.
However, the good news is steps can be taken so that these cons are somewhat reversed, if not prevented.

Without further ado, let’s get into what you should do to treat or prevent those white spots on tomato plant leaves.

Reason and Causes For White Spots on Tomato Leaves

Sudden change in conditions during transplant

During the initial period of growing tomato plants, people are encouraged to grow the young tomato seedlings indoors for extra care and protection from unpredictable climate conditions. It is recommended that the seedlings be transplanted only when they grow to about 3 inches tall and when temperatures are at an average of 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. However, a common mistake that many tomato plant carers make at this stage is that they shift the young seedlings outside right away without any period of adjustment.

Transplanting young tomato seedlings from indoors to outdoors is almost like guiding a baby that crawls to start walking – it requires a great deal of time, patience, and supervision. Without a gradual transition, the young tomato seedlings would experience a form of shock due to their vulnerability to extreme heat, light, and surrounding conditions. And this could cause the plant to experience sun scalding. This would appear as a white border around the leaf of the tomato plant which would soon cause damage to the entire foliage. Mature tomato plants that experience sun scalding would result in blistered tomatoes.

High humidity levels

Tomato plants require adequate humidity to survive and grow. Too little or too much of it would not be good for the development of seedlings into mature, healthy plants. With a lack of proper sunlight and in conditions with high humidity levels exceeding 70%, this may be the perfect ground for infections to breed, especially fungal ones.

One of the very common infections that happen due to these factors, is powdery mildew. An occurrence that causes the fruit of the plant to be damaged and covered in a white, powdery texture which also contributes to white spots on tomato plants.


An extension of what was mentioned previously, we know that too much humidity means that there is a higher than average amount of water in the air. Likewise, too much water by itself is harmful to the plant as well. A tomato plant should be watered at a controlled, sufficient amount and when overwatering happens, the high concentration of water in the soil could stimulate fungal spores.

This would then be a leading cause for many fungal infections, not limited to powdery mildew, but also root rot, Alternaria, and Septoria leaf spots where dark borders are formed around the white spots on the leaves.

Extreme wind conditions

Extreme wind conditions do not cause tomato plant leaves to turn white per se, but they certainly are reasons why it may accelerate the spread of infections from one part of the tomato plant to other parts of it. Hence, if you do notice a part of your tomato plant that has white spots due to infections, you would have to first handle it through the various means of treatment that I will be discussing in the latter part of this article. But in these conditions, wind can exacerbate the symptoms of diseases and therefore these affected parts should be dealt with immediately.

Nutrient deficiency

Plants are almost like us. Living things that require sufficient nutrients to grow and develop well. With that said, nutrient deficiency is an actual matter to pay close attention to when caring for young seedlings and also as they grow to mature plants. Lack of specific nutrients can also be the reason why tomato plants turn white.

For example, the lack of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus may cause white spots on tomato plants, sometimes yellow spots as well. Low levels of calcium and magnesium may also cause a similar whitening effect on tomato plant leaves. In this case, one way to distinguish between the two scenarios is that with the lack of nutrients such as calcium or magnesium, the leaves of the tomato plant may turn white while still maintaining a green hue on the veins of the leaf.

white spots on tomato leaves
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How to Treat White Spots on Tomato Leaves


Unlike several types of plants which would require you to invest in specific kinds of soils, tomatoes aren’t picky and they do thrive in typical organic composts or animal manures. Be sure to keep the soil up to about 5 inches tall in your pot before planting your tomato plant and be wary of the seedlings which already exhibit white spots. Remember to only transplant seedlings that are healthy. It is better to prevent than to repair.


Provide your tomato plant with up to 8 hours of direct sunlight with a minimum of 6 hours. To avoid overexposure to sunlight and potential damage caused by it, you might want to provide it with a proper shade after that window. 


Your plant would require adequate water. Not too much nor too little. Transplants should only be watered deeply for the first 3 days. After that period, it then depends on the climate of your location and should be watered deeply only once a week, followed by once a fortnight. This promotes better deep root development and also deters fungal spores from being stimulated from too damp conditions.


If you are a hobbyist gardener who is quite passionate about the art of growing plants and caring for them (If you searched for this article, you probably are), you already know that agriculture requires investment in terms of money, sweat, time et cetera. A good investment that could set you up for success would be the purchase of a soil thermometer.

Anecdotal advice passed on from several home gardeners would be to just place a finger in the soil to gauge the temperature, and of course, you can do this. However, if you do wish to be precise, you can’t go wrong with a soil thermometer. Key temperatures to note, tomato plants would not survive under temperatures of 35 degrees Fahrenheit, and will not grow optimally in temperatures under 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ideally, you will want to aim to grow your plant in the range of 55-85 degrees Fahrenheit. On a side note, certain types of tomatoes do in fact thrive in different temperatures.


Situations with high levels of humidity could also mean that the surrounding conditions are cool or damp. This may contribute to the stimulation of fungal spores which could lead to a common occurrence known as late blight. Late blight can be fatal to your tomato plant but early signs do appear as white or brown spots on the leaves.

Pruning off the leaves can be the first step to counter the spread. Or you could avoid this entirely by keeping the plant at a location where the humidity levels are controlled.


Fertilizers catering specifically to tomato plantations and their nutrient deficiency can help supplement the plant with specific nutrients for it to grow healthily. Again, one important note to keep in mind here is that moderation is key. Too much fertilizer can also cause issues for your tomato plant.


Pruning is the term used to describe the process of cutting away parts of a plant to encourage growth. In this case, pruning away your tomato plant isn’t only to promote growth but also as a treatment against powdery mildew or other fungal diseases. This is done by pruning away the leaves with white spots to avoid the spreading of fungal infections to the other parts of the plant.

Poor air circulation also contributes to fungal diseases hence, pruning may help in preventing future powdery mildew infections. Since fungal infections can spread quite easily, it is essential to sanitize the tools that you use to prune to prevent the spread.

Moderation is key to pruning.

In cases involving tomato plants with multiple infected leaves, keep in mind that pruning off too many of them may lead to severe damage to the plant itself. A situation like this would call for some fungicide to treat the remaining leaves which aren’t too badly infected to ensure a moderate and safe amount of pruning. Apart from powdery mildew, tomato plant leaves turning white can also happen due to another fungal infection known as the Sequoia leaf spot.

If this is the case, you can expect your tomato plant leaves to have white or grey spots with darker edges on the upper part of the plant. Removing the affected parts of the tomato plant is advised.

Propagation and Growth

Propagating a tomato plant is a quite simple procedure. All you need is a cutting from a tomato plant, a jar filled with clean water, and a place for it to grow with adequate sunlight. Farmers recommend cutting a specific part of a tomato plant for propagation.

If you are looking into propagating your plant, look out for the main stem of the plant, and notice the stems that branch out from the main stem.

These are known as side shoots or suckers. Aim to cut these side shoots about 5 inches tall. Then, fill a jar with water at room temperature and set in the cutting you just made. Be sure to remove the leaves at the bottom of the cutting, leaving the top ones.

If everything is done right, you should expect to see new roots emerging in about 2 weeks. From this point, all rules of transplanting discussed in this article should follow.


After some time, young tomato seedlings would need to be transplanted outdoors and require repotting. During this time, it is crucial to observe the growth and development of the young seedlings. If some of the tomato plant seedlings exhibit white spots, be sure to only re-pot the ones without the spots to prevent the possibility of spreading an infection to other parts of the plants.

Prevention of White Spots on Tomato Leaves

Gradual transitioning during repotting

When your tomato seedling reaches its point of growth as mentioned before, you will have to re-pot it so that it grows outdoors. This period of transplantation, also known as hardening off is important and would require proper care and attention.

When moving the seedlings from indoors to outdoors, let them sit around under a shade for a few days, or move them only on cloudy days to avoid hard-hitting direct sunlight to prevent heat or light extremes. Gradually move them outdoors on sunny days for a few hours each day for a period of 1 up to 2 weeks.

Installing windbreaks/relocation

Hot/dry winds can damage the seedlings or a mature plant as well. In cases of fungal infections, wind can spread the infections from one leaf to another, sometimes to the entire foliage itself. During transplantation, you can place a windshield to protect the young plant from harsh winds or relocate them to a place where the wind conditions are controlled. On a plus side, this also improves air circulation which in turn encourages the growth of the tomato plant.


When your plant is affected by fungal infections, consider purchasing a fungicide as early use of it can treat white spots on tomato plant leaves. As alternatives to fungicide, one may also use Neem oil, milk spray, and a homemade sodium bicarbonate spray to repair the white spots on tomato leaves.

These items can be purchased commercially or you can also D-I-Y at home. Neem oil functions as an organic fungicide but may also be used to prevent other forms of pest attacks.

White Spots on Tomato Leaves Frequently Asked Questions

How do you treat white spots on tomato plants?

You could treat (or aim to prevent) white spots on tomato plant leaves with pruning, gradual transitions during transplantations, fungicides, proper watering schedule, adequate sunlight (for mature plants), and proper shelter from direct sunlight and harsh winds (for seedlings).

How do you treat tomato leaf spots?

Regular upkeep through pruning, adequate use of fertilizers, and targeted use of fungicides on affected tomato leaves could treat the spots.

What are the white spots on leaves?

White spots on leaves could mean several things. Common factors would be fungal infections and sun scalding.


Hats off to the passionate tomato plant grower who made it to the end of this write-up! By now, you’d know that there are clear and concrete steps one can take to ensure a healthy, well-grown tomato plant from a young seedling to a mature plant.

However, in case you know another fellow tomato enthusiast who is struggling with white spots on his or her tomato leaves, share this will you? I mean, all you got to do is what again? Say it with me this time –

1. Attentive care in the transplantations of young seedlings.
2. Adequate watering
3. Proper sunlight, shed and wind conditions,
4. Careful use of fertilizers and fungicides

And then the mantra follows: Your tomato plant would not stray far from perfection!

Here’s a tomato for luck!

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Image: Pixabay via Pexels

For more articles on what you may need to know about gardening, check out these links:

white spots on tomato leaves

18 Types of Basil To Add Flavour to your Garden

Looking to add some fresh herbs to your garden?

Here are 18 types of basil that you can start growing today! 

Basil leaves are not only a beautiful addition to your garden but are also extremely beneficial for adding a fresh spice into your homemade dishes.

Basil is usually grown in warmer temperatures as they do really well at 70 degrees or higher. They are tender plants that are sensitive to the first signs of freezing temperatures.

If you are struggling to choose what herb to add to your garden, basil is a great choice! Although sweet basil is one of the most common of the basil species, there are many other basil varieties to choose from. Varying in taste, color and size there is an abundance of types of basil to begin growing in your garden.

Here are 18 different  types of basil to choose from:

Sweet Basil

Sweet Basil is the best basil variety which is most popularly grown and used in cooking dishes such as pesto, hummus, pizza, salads, fried rice, and even mocktails and cocktails.

Sweet Basil is lime green in color and does not take much space to grow. They can be grown directly in the ground or even in pots on your balcony.

Sweet Basil is also known to repel mosquitos which is a useful plant to have in the house. When we find basil in our local grocery store it is usually this variant known as sweet basil. 

Genovese Basil

Genovese Basil is another popularly used herb in culinary dishes such as pestos and Italian cuisines. These types of basil are extra-large and darker green in color. 

This species of basil has a stronger aromatic flavor.

There are also many benefits of consuming fresh Genovese basil such as it is good for digestion and has anti-inflammatory properties.

This little herb is easy to grow and they love sunlight

You can grow them from seeds and it will take about 7 to 10 days to germinate.

Thai Sweet Basil

Thai sweet basil may sometimes be called licorice basil. This is because of its anise and licorice-like scent and taste.

Thai sweet basil is sturdy and compact. This plant grows best in warm climates and can be propagated through seeds or cuttings.

These types of basil plants are commonly used in Thai cuisines such as Thai basil chicken.

Purple Basil

Purple basil will be a colorful addition to your garden as its dark burgundy color will stand out among the rest of the green-colored herbs.

The purple basil takes about 80 days to fully mature and grows 18 inches tall.

This plant is easy to grow and requires a space under direct sunlight with moderate watering. You can purchase these seeds and begin growing them immediately. The germinate rate of these seeds is up to 95 percent.

Lemon Basil

Lemon Basil grows up to 12 – 18 inches tall. The leaves on lemon basil plants tend to be narrower with slightly serrated edges. The seeds form on the plant after flowering and dry on the plant.

This plant needs direct sunlight and regular watering to thrive. This herb is easy to grow and care for. You can order your seeds today with free shipping.

Lemon Basil is among the different kinds of basil which adds a unique and flavourful marinade for fish or poultry. It is also relaxing basil used for teas. It is also commonly used in Arabic, Indonesian, Malay and Thai cuisines.

Lime Basil

Lime basil is a sweet and fragrant herb with a mild citrus taste. The leaves are bright lime green and narrow in shape. These plants grow between 16 to 24 inches tall.

This species of basil is a rare and hard-to-find seed variety. However, you can get your lime basil seeds to grow them today.

Some gardeners grow this species of lime basil along with lemon basil as the two make a delightful pair when cooking. This herb is commonly used for dishes such as sauces, dressings, and desserts.

Lettuce Basil

Lettuce basil has a unique appearance with large and wrinkled leaves. This basil strain works best in a variety of salads.

The lettuce basil has a mild flavor. The leaves are large however, the plant is compact. This plant only grows to about a foot in height. This species is slow to flower which means that it lasts longer under direct sunlight before beginning to seed.

This herb makes a great addition to your garden and can even be given as a gift to a gardening lover. You can order your lettuce basil seeds today and enjoy the wonderful process of watching your herb grow.

Green Ruffles

Green ruffles is an intriguing basil plant as it has a unique curved leaf shape that is medium green in colour.

The flavour is mild and delicate, which tastes wonderful in pasta dishes. The ruffled leaves are also a creative and flavourful addition to salads.

The green ruffles basil is larger than the sweet basil as it grows up to 24 inches in height. It has big leaves that are up to four to six inches long and this species can be harvested after 70 days.

Holy Basil

Holy Basil is also known as tulsi (pronounced as tu-la-si) which is commonly used in Indian cuisines such as curries. The holy basil is a sacred plant in Hinduism 

There are a number of medicinal benefits of consuming this herb as well as religious uses for holy basil. Holy basil may be used to treat stomach ailments and promote blood circulation. It is also used to make essential oils and herbal tea.

This species of basil is extremely fragrant and has a spicy and sweet musky scent.

The holy basil has hairy stems with leaves that are green and purple. 

The Holy Basil would be a wonderful addition to your garden and can also be consumed in a variety of ways as it is rich in vitamin C and it acts as a natural immunity booster.

Cinnamon Basil

Cinnamon Basil is also known as Mexican Basil. This species of basil has dark green leaves with a cinnamon-coloured stem. A must-have ingredient for every spice rack enthusiast.

This herb is spicy and fragrant. The cinnamon basil is another unique plant that stands out in the herb garden with its reddish and purple-colored stems and pink flowers.

The cinnamon basil species requires direct sunlight and well-drained soil. This plant grows best indoors or in containers. This is an easy-to-grow herb and you can get your cinnamon basil seedlings today.

This herb is often used in Asian cuisines. Such as fried rice, noodles, teas, and grilled vegetables.

African Blue Basil

African Blue Basil is a hybrid basil variety that is a mix between camphor basil and dark opal basil. This herb has a strong scent of peppers, cloves, mint, and camphor.

The African blue basil can be propagated only through stem cuttings. 

All parts of this herb are edible from the leaves, stems, and even the flower. They are also great for cuisines such as vegetables, rice, and meat dishes.

This herb grows up to four feet tall and is a beautiful addition to floral arrangements.

Cardinal Basil

The cardinal basil may be one of the most attractive looking among the basil family. 

This herb is easily identified with its elegant and tightly clustered red blooms.

The cardinal basil has an intense spicy scent which makes a great choice for flavouring vinegar and oils.

To plant this herb, start with a packet of cardinal basil seeds. Sprinkle the seeds in your herb garden about six inches apart, then cover with ¼ inches of soil. Pack the soil lightly and keep the soil moist until the seedlings emerge within 7 to 14 days.

Greek Basil

The greek basil is one of the smallest variants of the basil species. This herb has a sweet and aromatic fragrance.

Greek Basil is commonly used to add spice in salads, soups, and meat dishes. A sprig of greek basil can also make an excellent garnish.

This plant is easy to grow in containers and they need direct sunlight to grow well. You can get greek basil seeds to add to your garden today.

Spicy Globe Basil

Spicy globe basil is a dwarf basil variety. This herb has a strong, spicy flavor. 

Spicy globe basil is a wonderful herb to use in soups, salad, and pasta.

This type of basil is a great choice of plant to grow indoors or in containers. Spicy globe basil is a wonderful addition to your herb garden.

Spicy globe basil grows quickly when conditions are right. These plants grow best under direct sunlight and they need adequate water.

Summerlong Basil

The summerlong basil is a perfect container plant as it grows in compact bushes.

This basil species is among the dwarf strains with bright green-colored leaves. This basil plant matures within 30-60 days. 

The taste of summerlong basil is similar to the taste of sweet basil and can be used in pestos, sauces, and marinades.

Dark Opal Basil

Dark Opal Basil is a brightly coloured herb with deep purple leaves. 

This species is often used for its decorative appeal and for its culinary uses.

To grow this species you can propagate from a cutting or begin with dark opal basil seeds. 

Keep the soil consistently moist during germinating, as young plants may damp off and fail. Slowly move the young seedling to a spot in your garden with direct sunlight.

Osmin Purple Basil

Osmin purple basil has smaller darker leaves. It has the darkest leaves among the purple-leaved basil variety. 

The plant averages a height of 20 inches and is grown in sunny or partially sunny environments. 

This basil has a strong clove flavour and is not as sweet as other basil varieties.

Red Rubin Basil

The red Rubin basil is an improved variety of dark opal basil. This basil has unusually reddish-purple leaves.

This basil is aesthetically pleasing in salads and garnishes with its ornamental appeal and intense spicy flavour.

Red Rubin basil performs well in the garden and in patio or balcony containers. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of basil?

  1. Sweet Basil 
  2. Genovese Basil
  3. Napoletano Basil 
  4. Italian Large Leaf Basil
  5. Lettuce Leaf Basil
  6. Dark Opal Basil
  7. Purple Ruffles Basil
  8. Lemon Basil
  9. Lime Basil
  10. Christmas Basil
  11. Holy Basil
  12. Greek Basil
  13. Spicy Globe Basil
  14. Summerlong Basil
  15. Spicy Bush Basil
  16. Cinnamon Basil
  17. Thai Sweet Basil
  18. Green Ruffles
  19. Cardinal Basil
  20. African Blue Basil
  21. Osmin Purple Basil
  22. Red Rubin Basil

What is the most common type of basil?

Sweet Basil is the most common type of basil. These are most commonly found in supermarkets and local grocery stores.

What type of basil is best for cooking?

Here are among the most common types of basil for cooking with:

  1. Sweet Basil
  2. Genovese Basil
  3. Lime Basil
  4. Lemon Basil
  5. Thai Sweet Basil

What is normal basil called?

There is no ‘normal’ basil. However, the most common basil would be Genovese basil which is often referred to as sweet basil.


There are many different types of basil leaves which give gardeners a huge range to explore in their garden. Although there are many types of basil species, each species has its unique qualities, flavours, and ideal conditions for growth. 

Have fun exploring gardening with these various types of basils and experimenting with them when you are cooking!

If you enjoyed this thorough article on the various types of basil available out there, share it with your friends.

Also, you might want to check out some of these related articles to expand your knowledge on plants and gardening:

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