Wilting Swiss Chard Plants: Why Is My Swiss Chard Wilting

By Kristi Waterworth

Swiss chard is a great garden plant that’s easy to grow and get a lot of success from, but like anything, it’s not a guarantee. Sometimes you hit a snag, like wilting. Wilting is actually a really common problem, but it only has a few causes. Read on to learn what causes wilt in Swiss chard and how to fix it.

Why is My Swiss Chard Wilting?

Of all the greens you can grow in your garden, Swiss chard is always the most fun. The deep green leaves of this beet cousin create a dramatic backdrop for the bright, cheery stalks that provide a riot of color for at least one little corner of your garden. When those happy lights suddenly start to look sad and limp, it’s hard to not take it personally. Wilting Swiss chard plants can be caused by several different things.

If you have a Swiss chard plant wilting, most are pretty simple to fix while others are a little more complicated, but the good news is that all of them can be tackled by a beginning gardener. If your plants are wilting, here are some common reasons to consider and how you can help your wilted Swiss chard recover:

Hot, direct sun. Do your plants get the hottest sun of the day? Or are they growing in hot weather in general? If they perk back up as soon as it starts to cool off, they’re probably just heat stressed by the sun. You can add more mulch to try to trap more moisture near their roots to help keep your Swiss chard cooler, erect a shade cloth to help block part of the sun at the worst part of the day, or both. Your plants will thank you.

Leaf miners. Usually, leaf miners will leave long, undulating tunnels in leaves, but sometimes they’re hard to see, especially in leaves that have textures like chard. Instead, look for small rows of tiny white capsules, this is a clue that leaf miners are present. Remove the infested plants because there’s no way to save those individuals.

But you can save the patch by covering the healthy plants with screens to keep the leaf miner adults from landing and depositing more eggs and churning the soil as much as possible to bury any surface-pupating larvae deeper to hopefully prevent new adults emerging. Rotating with crops like turnips that don’t mind a leaf miner is recommended.

Mold or mildew. Are your chard leaves discolored, fuzzy, or otherwise covered in weird spots? They may be suffering from one of the many common garden molds or mildews that lurk in the soil and thrive in high humidity environments, like the ones that are created near the ground when tightly-packed crops are regularly watered. Powdery mildew, rust, and leaf spots are pretty easy to resolve. Copper fungicides can make short work of them. Make sure to thin your chard stand a bit to allow for more airflow as well.

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