In this article, you’ll find out how to prune tomato plants and provide the right care (prune, water and maintain) garden tomato plants.
Tomato plants are thought to be ‘annuals’ as they grow outdoors only in spring and summer. But they are in fact short-lived ‘perennials’ that bear flowers and fruits multiple times throughout the year in their natural (tropical) settings.
Understanding this behaviour can help you to grow the best tomato plants in patio grow bags and pots or in the garden.
Do you prune tomato plants?
Pruning is not essential for the health of tomato plants. The plants will need the leaves and suckers to produce flowers and tomatoes. However, there are things you can do to maintain the plants’ health.
Prune the early leaves and side shoots to drive the nutrients to the main plants for better yields.
In cases where there are dense leaves and side shoots, selectively remove any that are struggling.
The best time to prune tomato plants is early in the morning. The fresh cuts will dry during the day, keeping the plants healthy.
How to stop tomato plants from growing too tall?
To stop the tomato plants from growing tall, remove the main tips higher up. Use a pair of secateurs or scissors to prune the delicate tips. The best time to do that is to wait until the first flowers emerge.
Naturally, tomato plants are perennials. Though they are short-lived in the cooler regions, new suckers and flowers will still emerge as the plants grow taller.
Keep it neat and tidy but encourage more flowers. This way, you’ll get lots of tomatoes.
It is okay to snip off the tips if you are worried that the tomato plants are growing too tall.
Bamboo sticks for Support
Tomato plants will need support as they grow taller.
Bamboo sticks are slim and strong which is why they are the best stakes for tomato plants. They do not take up a lot of space, flexible and bendable. Easy to cut and tie together to make frames.
Many gardeners use bamboo sticks to make tomato trellis and support the plants. They are also perfect for plants in patio grow bags, pots and containers, and in the garden.
The plants will love it.
Do tomato plants need lots of water?
Tomato plants need regular water to stay healthy. The soil must remain fairly moist where they grow.
Also, they will tolerate wet soil, but not waterlogged soil. The leaves will show signs of distress if they are floating in water for extended periods.
On the contrary, they will wilt and whither if there is less water.
It is important to get the water balance right. Dip a finger into the soil and make sure it remains fairly moist all the time.
How many times can you water tomato plants in a day?
Water them once a day as long as the water uptake (and water lost to the air) is at equilibrium with the water available in the soil.
If it’s too hot and dry, you may be required to water them twice a day.
They are known to be thirsty plants. Pay close attention to the leaves as they will let you know when they need water.
Generally, water regularly if you see that the tomato plants are enjoying the water.
Should tomato plants be in full sunlight?
Tomato plants love the full sunlight.
Though there are different varieties, the common tomato plants will require at least 6 to 7 hours of sunlight.
As mentioned earlier, tomato plants are tropical perennial plants, they thrive in hot and humid conditions. They need this condition to give good yields of tomatoes.
Cultivated garden tomato plants will not do well in shade. Grow them in sites where there is enough sunlight during the day. If you grow them in pots, put them in an area where there is a good amount of sunlight every day.
Your tomato plants will thrive in direct sunlight, but too much heat and too little water are bad for them.
In summer, especially during the long daylight periods, check on your plants. Give them water if the soil loses moisture and keep them hydrated during hot sunny days.
Why do tomato plants turn black?
Sometimes you will find black spots on the leave, stems and fruit of tomato plants. The three common causes are:
– Bacteria, virus or fungal infestation,
– Nutrient deficiency
Many gardeners come across this problem. Often, you’ll see the black spots on the stems and leaves early on if it’s caused by bacteria, viruses or fungal infestation. You can lose your tomato plants if the infestation spreads.
To save your plants, remove the infected leaves or stems. Spray with a fungicide to keep them free from bacteria, viruses and mould.
Check out these garden DIY hacks.
Keep your tomato plants healthy
In most cases, prevention is better than cure.
The tomato plants will require feed as they grow. To keep them healthy, add tomato-grow.
Low temperatures can damage your tomato plants.
If you grow your tomato plants late, you’ll sometimes see black spots appear on the leaves, fruits and stems as the summer ends.
Move the plants indoors or into the greenhouse if you expect more flowers and fruit.
If the green tomatoes turn black, harvest them immediately before they rot.
Why tomato leaves turn yellow
Tomato leaves turning yellow is natural. The old leaves will change from green to yellow and brown.
Occasionally, tomato leaves prematurely turn yellow because of the following reasons:
– a lack of sunlight,
– waterlogged soil or
– lack of nutrients in the soil.
Make sure the plant receives at least 6 hours of sunlight, the soil is moist and well-drained and is rich in nutrients.
If the problem persists, give the plant some tomato feed. Nine out of ten times, this will improve the condition.
Alternatively, move the plant to a different area or bigger pot.
Grow tomato plants in a well-drained and nutrient-rich soil. Keep them well-watered during the hot months.
Use bamboo sticks as stakes to support the tall tomato plants and add tomato feed and fungicide to keep the plant in good health.
Tomato plants turning black, and leaves prematurely turning yellow can be the results of infestations, nutrient deficiency or cold weather.
Hope this article gives you an idea about how to prune tomato plants and get the best yields every time.