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Wilty Zucchini Leaves and the Reason For it

Today is relatively cool, compared to what we are supposed to experience tomorrow and the next day. It is only in the upper 80’s today and we are due for weather in the upper 90’s in the next two days. Although it isn’t that hot yet, I went out to check the garden and I noticed that the leaves on a zucchini plant were looking very wilty, for a good reason.

I should say that the zucchinis are planted in a big tub. If a person had seen how wilty they were, they’d have probably thought that the plants were in dire need of water. That isn’t the case at all, though. I watered them well and deeply yesterday and the soil in the tub is still damp.

The thing is, though, that zucchinis have very large leaves. When our temperatures get this high, the humidity level generally drops. Zucchini leaves transpire a great deal of moisture, particularly when the air is dry. 

The reason the leaves look wilty is that the leaves are losing moisture faster than the roots can pull water in from the soil. It really isn’t anything to worry about. When the sun goes down, the transpiration will slow down and as soon as the roots are able to pull in more water than the leaves are losing, the leaves will return to their normal perked up appearance.

Zucchinis aren’t the only plants that do this. Tomatoes and basil often do it, along with squashes, pumpkins, and cucumbers. In fact, I’d wager that if I go look at my rhubarb plants, the leaves will look wilty on them, too. Rhubarb has even larger leaves than zucchinis do.

What do you think?

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Written by Rex Trulove

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    • Strawberries typically have shallow root systems, however, the leaves are small so it is less likely that this is the issue. I’d suspect something else, even if it was a tropical strawberry. For example, strawberry roots are prone to root rot if the roots stand in water. It could be that they are being over-watered or that the soil doesn’t drain well enough. It could also happen if they aren’t shaded during the heat of the day.

    • I normally don’t eat the leaves, but I prefer to cook the zucchini flowers by dipping them in batter and frying them. I usually only do that with the male flowers, though, because my main goal in the zucchinis that I grow is to produce fruit and eating the female flowers cuts down on the number of fruits that are produced.

  1. Great post , Most people are familiar with the zucchini fruit, which is often used in a variety of vegetable dishes. But the fruit is not the only edible part of the plant. In fact, the zucchini leaves and flowers of young zucchini plants are also edible.

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