Spinach plants have recently grown in popularity due to the ease with which they can be grown and the benefits that home grown spinach plants provide, be it medicinal or of nutritional value.
However, one drawback of growing spinach plants is that they attract a number of pests and diseases to themselves, making their care difficult and extremely troublesome. Diseases and pests are often detrimental to the health of your spinach plant, and can also be a major reason for its sudden death.
To prevent this, the first step that you can take is to look into and identify the potential symptoms that your plant has been attacked. One such symptom is the curling of the spinach leaves.
Cucumber mosaic virus is one of the most common bacteria, caused by cucumber beetles, that leads to sudden change in the shape and texture of your spinach plants, which is usually prevalent as curling.
However, there is more to it than just the presence of cucumber mosaic virus, which we will discuss in the following article. If you want to get greater information about your spinach leaves curling, keep reading.
Why Are My Spinach Leaves Curling?
If your spinach plant leaves have started to crinkle and curl inward, it certainly indicates the presence of pests like aphids and cucumber beetles that are widely responsible for spreading diseases like the cucumber mosaic virus.
- Spinach plant is inherently vulnerable to many plant diseases, making it a very delicate plant to take care of.
- Apart from the presence of pests, bolting is another very rare cause of your spinach plant leaves to curl inwards.
- Bolting leads to stunted growth of the plant and is often a result of underwatering or too much water stress.
- Apart from this, one should also avoid exposing the spinach plant to too much direct sunlight during summers or it can lead the plants to blot and eventually die.
Also Read: Why Zucchini Plant Leaves Turning Yellow?
How to Stop Spinach Leaves from Curling?
Spinach plants are very delicate and require the right blend of care to function optimally in the long run.
To keep spinach plant leaves from curling, one has to do nothing different than taking care of all the environmental aspects like light, water, nutrition, temperature and humidity.
However, since we know that the primary reason for the curling of spinach plant leaves is the presence of the cucumber mosaic virus, our first intervention strategy should aim at eradicating all the possibilities of inviting the virus to the plant.
Once your plant is infected, there is nothing much you can do about it, since the virus seeps deep into the plant roots making them weak and unable to absorb nutrients for growth.
Therefore, prevention is actually the cure when trying to get rid of the cucumber mosaic virus.
Maintaining a very stringent aphid control mechanism is how you can take the first step towards getting rid of the cucumber mosaic virus since aphids and cucumber beetles are its only source of infection.
Identify the weeds growing in your garden, not only around the spinach plant, but the entire garden, and remove them with care. Weeds invite aphids and harbor their growth, thus increasing the risk of your plants actually getting infected with the virus.
Another very convenient tip to keep your spinach plants from catching the virus is to purchase plants that have been de-infected in the nursery and are substantially virus free. Virus free plants eliminate all the possibilities that your leaves or any other part of the plant will ever get affected by the presence of aphids or beetles.
Check this out: Should I Cut Off Yellow Leaves on Tomato Plants?
Propagating the right way
If you propagate your spinach plants or other vegetable plants, wash the tools properly and disinfect them both before and after using. This minimizes the spread of this virus dramatically as we often use the tools without washing, thus exposing our plant’s health to great risks.
Try changing the method of propagation you use on your plants. It has been found that vegetative propagation methods increase the chances of the virus commuting from one plant to another.
Instead, try using seed propagation to keep all the potential sources of risk away. It is comparatively easier and safer.
Important tips while gardening
When working in your house garden or backyard, always make sure to use clean gardening gloves.
Our hands can be a very powerful source of transfer from an infected plant to a healthy plant, and more often than not, we might not even be aware of it. If possible, try changing your gardening gloves after every second or third use.
Either discard them or wash them before reusing. This small change can help you witness a lot of improvement in the shape of your spinach plant leaves and the stunted growth.
Also Read: Is Chicken Manure Good for Tomato Plants?
This is important
Once you see visible signs of this virus on your plant, quickly separate it from the rest of your plants and get rid of it. The virus takes no time in spreading from an infected plant to a healthy plant.
Taking Care of Spinach Plants
While curing the curling problem of your spinach plants is one important aspect of taking care of it, we cannot stop at doing just that. In order to make sure that your plant stays in the best of its health, one needs to follow other potential steps towards achieving a healthy spinach plant yield.
Here are some of the easy and most important tips to keep in mind if you want to get a good spinach plant produce every season without any extra hassle:
- The first step for growing the right and tastiest kind of spinach is to understand where you will plant the spinach.
- To keep your spinach in good condition throughout, it is ideal that you plant them at a place where the sun exposure is maximum and the soil supports a thorough drainage system.
- If you are worried about overexposure to the sun, you can look for a place that is partially shaded by other plants.
Spinach plants should always be grown in the winter season under optimal soil temperatures, that is, not crossing the 70 degree mark.
As the spring sets, you should start preparing your garden with enough drainage facilities to plant spinach.
Also Read: How Often to Water Lemongrass?
Excessive exposure of spinach plants to sunlight can cause bolting. This is something we have already observed earlier. So, it is ideal to expose them to partial sunlight at least 6 hours a day in winters.
Sunlight is very important for spinach to make its food and it should not be barred from receiving the light because of the potential fear of bolting.
It is ideal to keep the pH of the soil neutral when growing spinach. Unlike most of the vegetable plants, an acidic or alkaline pH level of soil can damage the plant in the long run.
Additionally, when growing spinach, the soil should be nutritious, organically rich and silty loamy to facilitate appropriate drainage. These soil properties help prevent the condition of root rot in plants.
Spinach needs water to grow to its full potential. Too little of it can cause plant death, but overwatering can result in the soil being soggy, which can slow down the growth process.
To know the right amount of water required by your plant, keep the range not more than 1.5 inches per week.
You can increase the amount in summers by half inches to prevent the plant from going into the bolting stage.
Another pro tip is to engage in several watering sessions than just one dedicated watering day in a week. It allows the plant to slowly absorb all the nutrients and speeds up the growth process.
While it is true that spinach likes to grow and flourish in the winter season, a very heavy frosty weather can seriously damage the plant. Therefore, you should take special care that the temperatures don’t go beyond the 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit range.
However, one thing that the plant isn’t too fussy about is its humidity levels. If the soil needs are adequately met, humidity is not an issue while growing spinach.
Use nutrient supplements like nitrogen rich fertilizer, soy meal, and fish emulsion in moderation to give an adequate boost to the health of your spinach plant.
Now that you know everything about why your spinach leaves curl and what you can do to prevent and terminate this situation, here is a bonus tip that will help you identify the symptoms better.
Spinach plants come in a variety of different species and not all of them can inform you about their condition by curling their leaves. In some spinach plants identical illness symptoms are visible and should be identified so that treatment can be started in due time.
If you observe that certain leaves of your plants have started to turn yellow or have developed unexplained brown or grey patches underneath the leaf skin, this is another cue for the presence of the cucumber mosaic virus on your plant.
Rest assured, with the tips mentioned above, your spinach plant will always stay in the best of its health and continue to yield amazing and delicious produce.