As any tomato grower knows, the appearance of yellow flowers on a tomato plant is an exciting event. After all, it means that fruit is on the way! But sometimes, those flowers never seem to turn into actual tomatoes.
There can be a number of reasons for this, but most often it is due to environmental factors.
While we can’t control the weather, there are a few things we can do to encourage fruit set and turn those pretty little flowers into delicious tomatoes.
3 Reasons Your Tomato Flowers Aren’t Fruiting
If you’re growing tomatoes and not seeing any fruit, there are a few possible reasons. Here are three of the most common:
1. Insufficient Pollination
The process of pollination is vital to the production of tomatoes. Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the male parts of the plant to the female parts. This process is essential for the plant to be able to produce fruit.
There are a few things that can impact the pollination process and, as a result, the production of tomatoes. One of the things that can impact pollination is the temperature. High temperatures or high humidity can cause the pollen to become sticky, preventing it from falling off the flower.
In dry hot regions, the pollen can dry out and fail to stick to the female parts of the plant or even the pollinators’ bodies. These issues can impact the tomatoes’ self-pollination, preventing fruiting. Another issue that can impact pollination is insufficient airflow around the plants.
Pollination must occur before the plants can set fruit, so it’s a vital characteristic to pay attention to. If you’re having trouble with your tomatoes not setting fruit, it’s important to check these things to see if they might be the issue.
By paying attention to the pollination process, you can ensure a good harvest of tomatoes.
2. Too much nitrogen
When it comes to tomatoes, healthy plants need rich, fertile soil to produce plump fruit. However, if you want your plants to bear fruit, you need to be aware of the role nitrogen plays in their growth.
Excess nitrogen in the soil can lead to foliage growth at the expense of flowers and fruit. If your flowers are not fruiting, this may be the cause.
Water is also essential for healthy tomato plants. Nutrients are only taken up when there is sufficient water in the soil. A lack of water can result in poor fruit development, or none at all, and can contribute to blossom drop.
Finally, too much foliage can also compete with fruit for nutrients, causing blossom drop and reduced yields.
By understanding the role nitrogen plays in tomato plant growth, and ensuring your plants have enough water and nutrients, you can enjoy a bountiful crop of delicious tomatoes.
3. Too much heat
When tomato plants are exposed to extended periods of high heat, they go into a state of stress. In order to conserve energy and water, the plant will stop the flowering and fruiting processes.
This can severely impact the yield of your tomato crop. To avoid this, it is important to take steps to protect your plants from excessive heat.
Mulching around the base of the plant can help to keep the roots cool, and providing shade during the hottest hours of the day can also be beneficial.
If you live in an area with high temperatures, it is important to be vigilant about protecting your tomato plants from stress. By taking some simple precautions, you can ensure a bountiful harvest of delicious tomatoes.
The flowers on your tomato plants may not be fruiting for a variety of reasons, including insufficient pollination, too much nitrogen, or too much heat. By understanding the potential causes, you can take steps to correct the problem and encourage your plants to produce fruit.
4 Ways To Encourage Tomato Flowers To Fruit
If you’re hoping to see tomatoes on your plants this summer, there are a few things you can do to encourage flowers to form and fruit to set.
1. Increase Pollination
When it comes to getting the most fruit from your plants, hand pollinating is an easy and efficient way to ensure success. Even when temperatures are ideal, pollination by hand can give plants that extra push they need to produce a bountiful crop.
The simplest way to facilitate pollination is to gently shake or tap the plant, causing the pollen to fall from the flowers. With a little care and attention, hand pollination can mean the difference between a good harvest and a great one.
Another way you can ensure your tomato plants are properly pollinated is to transfer pollen yourself using a small paintbrush. This method mimics how pollinators like bees move pollen from flower to flower. Just be sure to use a different brush for each plant variety to avoid cross-pollination.
You can also encourage pollinating insects in your garden by planting flowers that attract them. Bees and other beneficial insects are attracted to bright flowers, so make sure your tomato plants have easy access to these blooms.
2. Protect From Excessive Heat
One way to protect your tomato plants from the heat is to plant them in areas where they will be shaded naturally, such as near east-facing walls.
Another way to create shade for your plants is to build row covers. Be sure to use the correct type of shade cloth for your row covers, and make sure there is an opening facing east. This way, the tomatoes will receive the full morning sun while being protected from the hotter temperatures later in the day.
Row covers also have the added benefit of protecting tomato plants from colder temperatures.
3. Properly Water Your Tomatoes
If you want your tomato plants to produce fruit, it’s important to water them correctly.
Incorrect watering can cause nutritional problems that prevent fruiting, as well as severe plant stress that takes the plant’s focus away from producing fruit and keeps it focused on staying alive.
To water your tomato plants correctly:
• Always water the soil directly. Use a thick layer of mulch as a barrier to stop soil from splashing onto the leaves.
• Water slowly and deeply to encourage root growth downwards and to fully saturate all parts of the soil.
• Never water overhead to prevent water from touching the leaves.
• Water consistently to prevent water stress.
Read more: 5 Signs Of Over Watered Tomato Plants
4. Apply Fertilizer to Your Tomatoes At The Right Time
Tomatoes require two fertilizer applications throughout their growing season – once after planting, and once after flowering. Fertilizing at these times promotes growth and fruiting, respectively.
If you miss the second fertilizing window or use the wrong fertilizer, it can negatively impact yield. To avoid this, use a balanced fertilizer (10-10-10) when planting, and switch to phosphorus and potassium-focused fertilizer (5-10-10) once the first flowers emerge.
This will encourage the plant to produce more flowers, and ultimately, more fruits.
In conclusion, there are a few key things to remember if you want to increase the number of tomato flowers that set fruit. First, apply fertilizer at the right time. Second, properly water your tomatoes. Third, protect them from excessive heat. Finally, increase pollination.
By following these simple tips, you can ensure a bountiful harvest of delicious tomatoes.