This time of year we get a lot of questions as to why a vigorous tomato plant does not have any fruit on it. The blossoms drop off right at the “elbow” above the bloom. This is caused by a few different factors.
- Extreme temperature swings – Having 20 degree + temperature swings from one day to another can cause this. Obviously this is out of our control.
- Lack of calcium, lack of fertilizer or wrong fertilizer – have you fertilized? Maybe you did when you first planted but it might be time to reapply! Check the package for specifications or read our recommendation for fertilizing vegetables, here. Avoid fertilizers with high nitrogen (the first number on the label). You can also use a supplemental spray to help blossom set. Find it in store.
- Lack of pollination – technically tomatoes are self pollinating but sometimes they need a little help. Give the tomato support or cage a gentle shake often times helps.
- Too much shade – like any fruiting plant, they need lots of sun to produce. Generally a minimum of 4 hours a day but 6 hours or more is better.
- Overwatering – this is generally the problem. Tomatoes, unlike other plants, need to be stressed in order to set fruit. Otherwise you will have large, lush plants and little to no fruit!
How to water tomato plants
It is best to keep the leaves dry and only water the plants when they actually begin to wilt, typically every 7-10 days once established. A large plant with lots of fruit may need it every 4-5 days during a heat spell. When watering, do so thoroughly and deeply. Please note, this applies only to tomatoes in the ground. Potted tomato plants will need water more frequently but still only when wilting. However, make sure the plant is wilting in the evening, if it is wilting in the afternoon but looks okay in the evening it doesn’t need water!
Still not sure? Drop by and speak to one of our experts!