totally wilted squash plant infected with phytopthora

Dead summer squash plant caused by Phytophthora blight attacking the crown
Gerald Holmes, Strawberry Center, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo,

Updated: February 20, 2023

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 browning of the internal stem tissue.


Select resistant cultivars. When symptoms are widespread it is best to remove and discard plants. These diseases are long-lived 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.


Additional resource

University of Maryland Extension Fruit and Vegetable Blog|Are your Peppers Witing? Are your Melons Squishy? Check for Phytophthora Blight


Still have a question? Contact us at Ask Extension.