What Causes White Spots On Tomatoes?

You spend hours in the garden ensuring your plants stay healthy and happy so you can harvest a bunch of tasty tomatoes. But wait, what are the spots on my tomatoes? Nothing is worse than pests and diseases reducing your yield and trying to identify how to get rid of the problem. This guide will give you a good idea about what causes white spots on tomatoes.

Most Common Issues

Small white spots on tomatoes can be caused by a few different pests or diseases. The good news is that most of them don’t mean you have to throw away all the tomatoes. The bad news is that all of these problems can look similar and can be hard to solve.

1. Stink Bugs

White spots on green tomatoes can be caused by stink bugs or other insects feeding on the inside of the tomato. They insert their needle-like mouths to be able to suck out the juices. This leaves behind a yellowish-white spot on the tomato skin and the inside of the tomato to the depth of their insertion. This is the most common cause of white spots on tomatoes.

The Brown Marmorated Stink bug is a particularly tough pest to deal with, which you can learn more about here.

2. Nutrient Deficiency

Nutrient deficiencies can cause a multitude of problems, including blossom end rot. This problem is the easiest one to solve, however. Simply applying a balanced organic fertilizer to your tomatoes regularly will reduce all risk for nutrient deficiencies.

3. Sunscald

What does Sunscald look like on tomatoes? It causes a discolored spot on the tomato skin when too much sun exposure has reached a ripening tomato. Too much pruning is usually the culprit.

How do you treat Sunscald on tomatoes? Once it happens, the affected tomatoes can’t be cured, but you can simply cut out the bad spot before eating or preserving. You can solve this issue by pruning less and providing shade cloth if necessary.

4. Cotton Spot

Hot and humid conditions that are persistent through the beginning of tomato development can cause Cotton Spot. Ensuring that your soil drains well and you have ample amounts of calcium in your soil by adding amendments like bone meal or eggshells will help reduce the risk for this disease.

5. Bacterial Canker

This disease looks a lot like the damage caused by stink bugs feeding on your tomatoes. If you pull out a magnifying glass and look at the spots, Bacterial Canker will have a dark perimeter around the spot. This disease is typically caused by exposing your tomatoes to the bacteria with dirty garden tools that haven’t been sterilized.


If the problem is pests, be patient and work to exterminate all you can find. Stink bugs can be particularly hard to remove.

Instead of trying pesticides, you can manually search on the plants for bugs and eggs. Eggs are typically found hiding on the underside of leaves. Kill all that you find.

As for disease issues, it’s best to just remove the affected plants from the garden and throw them away. Don’t compost them as it increases the risk of disease transfer when you use the compost.

The best treatment, however, is optimal growing conditions. Keep your soil healthy, sterilize all garden tools regularly, and apply organic fertilizers to keep your crops healthy. Keep the spacing between plants far enough to allow ample airflow.

As for the affected tomatoes that have white spots, you can simply cut off the white area before eating or preserving. None of these issues will affect you if you consume them, but they can affect the flavor of the tomato. Cut it out and throw it away. It’s as simple as that!


tomato diseases

1. Is It Safe To Eat Tomatoes With White Spots?

Yes, but the best idea is to cut off the affected area so the flavor isn’t affected. None of the common causes of white spots on tomatoes will harm you if you eat them.

2. How Do You Stop White Spots On Tomatoes?

It depends on the cause of the white spots. Go through the list above and find out which fits your symptoms. When it doubt, remove the affected tomatoes or the whole plant if it is widespread.

3. What Does Sunburn Look Like On A Tomato Plant?

Sunscald is a discolored spot on the tomato skin that appears yellowish-white. It is seen on the exposed side of the tomato where the sun reaches. E

Reduce pruning or use shade cloth if the issue is recurring.

4. Can You Eat Tomatoes With Sunscald?

Yes, simply cut out the affected area before eating and it’ll be just fine!

Good Luck With Your Tomatoes

Treating white spots on your tomatoes shouldn’t be an issue season after season. Follow the tips laid out in this article and you can still harvest tomatoes with white spots to consume while reducing the risk for recurring issues in the coming growing seasons. Have you found foolproof ways to stop white spots in your tomatoes?

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