Problem With Watermelon Plants Shrivelling Up

Watermelons require the same care as other types of melons, except that they require a longer growing period, more heat and more space. Keeping the plants healthy and supplying proper growing conditions can assist the plant withstand disease and insects, but despite the best attempts insects, some common viruses and fungi may damage or even eliminate watermelon plants.

Leaf Pests

Some common pests of watermelons that feed on foliage, causing plant to shrivel, include aphids and epilachna beetles. Aphids are tiny insects found on the bottom of leaves that feed on plant sap with their piercing mouth parts. This feeding causes leaves to yellow, curl, pucker and finally perish. Aphids are vectors of watermelon mosaic virus and other viruses. Epilachna beetle adults and larvae feed watermelon, causing leaves to shrivel, dry up and perish. Control consists of using row covers to protect plants and planting resistant varieties when available.

Root Pests

A common root pest of many home garden crops, including watermelon, is the root knot nematode. This pest feeds on roots, causing adverse effects for the whole plant. Since they feed and mature from the origins, the nematodes limit the plant’s water and nutrient uptake. This triggers plant leaves to wilt, and immature plants can become severely stunted and chlorotic. Watermelon plants typically do not perish as a result of this nematode’s feedings but aren’t productive. Root knot nematodes are difficult to control, but one method that could prove effective is soil solarization.


The watermelon is exposed to viruses, a number of them carried by insects, such as cucumber beetles and aphids. Viruses, like watermelon mosiac, stunt plant growth and lead to shriveling, distorting, mottling, crinkling and discoloration of plant leaves. To control these viruses, then you have to control the insects which cause them. Some powerful control methods to keep plants healthy include routine monitoring and maintaining the garden place clear of weeds that may harbor insects.


A variety of fungi may impact watermelon plant leaves. Downy mildew affects various types of plants. Watermelon affected down mildew exhibit symptoms like leaves that curl inward, turn brown and die along with irregular-shaped fruit. Fusarium wilt is another fungus that attacks the root initially and travels the plant stems. Endothelial plants show symptoms of wilting and stunted growth prior to dying. Controls for fungi comprise avoiding overhead watering, excellent sanitation practices, crop rotation and, if needed, chemical controls.

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