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Why Are My Pumpkin Plant Leaves Turning White

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Growing a plump pumpkin can be for many purposes. You could be participating in the state fair, or you may want your own plant for Halloween. Whatever the case, one thing of concern is when white spots start appearing on your pumpkin.

So if you look at your plant and ask yourself, why are my pumpkin plant leaves turning white? This article will answer that question in detail for you. We will discuss the causes and some remedies for the problems.

Let’s get right to it!

Why Are My Pumpkin Plant Leaves Turning White
What causes white spots on the leaves of a pumpkin plant? – via Reddit

Why Are My Pumpkin Plant Leaves Turning White

The main reason that your pumpkin plant turns white is because of powdery mildew. This is a fungal infection that affects many plants, including pumpkins. If it is left untreated, it can potentially slow down the growth of your plant and can even kill it entirely.

This is a dangerous disease and needs immediate action for the situation to stabilize. Otherwise, things have a high probability of going south, and all your hard work in growing the plant will be for nothing. However, there are ways of preventing the plant from catching the disease as well!

If you’re asking yourself the question of why are my pumpkin plant leaves turning white, this is probably the cause.

Causes Of Powdery Mildew

To prevent and treat this disease, you first need to know what causes it. The name of the infection is powdery mildew, and it is caused by a group of related fungi. The disease is mainly a leaf infecting disease.

It is to be noted that each fungus has a different host; despite that, the white grayish appearance on the leaves is something that is constant in all the affected plants. It appears on the leaves, stems, and flowers of the affected plant.

The fungus that is specific to the pumpkin leaves is called the Erysiphe Cichoracearum. It affects vegetables as well, which include lettuce and lemons and some flowers like sunflowers and dahlias.

The white appearance in the plant exists because a significant number of microscopic spores are born in the chains. These don’t even need water for them to germinate. As a result, they thrive in warm climates, especially when the foliage of the plant is relatively dry.

Other spores are produced every 4 to 14 days, and these can also spread to several surrounding plants driven by the wind.

The best environment for the development of this fungus is humid weather. It thrives on cool and dry days and humid nights. Unfortunately, this temperature causes the disease to spread at an alarming rate.

Some other conditions that are favorable for the development of this fungus are relatively cooler days which are also humid. Somewhere between the temperature ranges of 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Another major cause of this fungus is when your plant isn’t getting enough light. If your pumpkin leaves aren’t exposed to shade, they will not get the amount of light that they need to produce and grow buds.

This makes the powdery mildew even more potent as the pumpkin plant turns weaker. The preferred season for infection is the end of summer to the mid of autumn. This time frame includes cooler temperatures and boosts the growth of the fungus.

Overcrowding your garden will also lead to a more rapid spread of this disease among various plants in your garden. The fungus can jump from plant to plant because of the wind in the atmosphere.

To reduce this, ensure solid ventilation throughout the garden so that the spread of this disease can be contained. If your plant space is not ventilated correctly, the spread of the powdery mildew will be exponential.

If you leave the disease untreated, it will first cause the pumpkin leaves to turn yellow. During this phase, some leaves start falling out and dying as well. Moreover, the white spots that appear on the leaves can escalate and cause the leaves of the pumpkin plant to sunburn. If this is the case, your pumpkin will remain small and will look less appealing.

Why Are My Pumpkin Plant Leaves Turning White 2
What’s this white stuff on my pumpkin and squash leaves? – via Reddit

How You Can Treat This Fungus

There are a lot of different ways you can try out to eliminate the fungus. Some of them are discussed below.


The pumpkin vine can be pruned to effectively remove the parts of the plant which are most affected by the disease. The areas that are already affected should be the ones that you cut from the plant.

When pruning, make sure that you keep the diseased foliage in a plastic bag. By doing this, you can contain the spread of the disease. Once you have removed the outer layer of mulch, you can start planting debris around the affected areas. This can prevent the pumpkins from the risk of reinfection.

The Neem Oil Method

The fruit and seeds of a neem tree are used to make neem oil. Neem oil has the property to kill the fungus within one day. You can rub neem oil on both sides of the leaves to reduce the affected area and to kill the fungus.

Milk Spray

Milk is also an effective treatment for the elimination of white spots on the pumpkin plants. Fresh milk mixed with 90% water is an excellent solution to deal with all of your fungal problems. This solution works quite well and performs better than some fungicides as well!

Scientists have not yet discovered the reason why milk is so effective in the treatment of this fungal disease. However, a common belief is that milk interacts with the sun and produces some radicals, which are toxic to the fungus.

Keep in mind that milk is only a 10% part of this solution that you’ll spray on your plant.


If you had the question of why are my pumpkin leaves turning white, I hope that question was answered in this article.

There are several ways to treat the disease, and it isn’t a life or death situation for the plant. However, if untreated for too long, it can prove to be fatal.

Stay safe and keep your plants safe as well!