University of Maryland Extension

Phytophthora - Vegetables

wilted pepper plant

Pepper or Eggplant Wilting

Wilting of vegetable plants can indicate Phytophthora, a potentially devastating soil-borne fungal disease that may infect pepper, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, and eggplant. Happens particularly on poorly drained soils during warm, wet weather. All plant parts may be affected. Lower stems develop cankers and crown tissue becomes discolored. Phytophthora also causes water-soaked leaf lesions, black stem lesions on branches and root rot. Fusarium causes a browning of internal stem tissue.


Select resistant cultivars. When symptoms are widespread it is best to remove and discard plants. These diseases are longlived in the soil. Avoid poorly drained soils. Plant on ridges or beds and irrigate when necessary around the base of the plants. Rotate crops to a different area next year.

wilted cucumber plant
Symptoms on cucumber

infected pepper
Symptoms on pepper fruit


Maintained by the IET Department of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. © 2021. Web Accessibility

University programs, activities, and facilities are available to all without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, age, national origin, political affiliation, physical or mental disability, religion, protected veteran status, genetic information, personal appearance, or any other legally protected class. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in any event or activity, please contact your local University of Maryland Extension Office.