Proper tomato plant care is the key to having success in raising home-grown tomatoes.
As for container tomato gardening, contamination from disease pathogens stored in ordinary garden soil are greatly reduced.
The good news is, raising wonderful, healthy tomato plants that bear beautiful, flavorful fruit is not rocket science.
In fact, if you break it down into steps, solving tomato plant problems is no big deal.
Follow each of these links to read more information about how to diagnose what is wrong with your tomato plants, and the easy steps and you can take to make them better again.
Use these useful container gardening tips below to get the most out of our tomato growing experience.
Have a tip to share? Click here to let us know your successes, or failures, at keeping your tomato plants healthy.
Lost? If you're following the How to Grow Tomatoes series and need to find your way back to the main article, use these handy links.
See All Our Articles on How to Grow Tomatoes
The first thing we need to cover in tomato plant care is tomato fertilizer. If you're like me, you want fruit quicker than what the plants usually produce.
If you use Bonide Tomato and Blossom Set Spray, you can get fruit up to three weeks earlier than normal. That's what I'm talkin' about!
I tool would use The Miracle Grow company knows how to grow tomatoes and any other vegetable or flower!
Their products for potted plants and container growing are fabulous.
If you did use Miracle Grow Potting Mix for tomato planting as I recommended on the Container Gardening Soil page, this blend contains the Miracle Grow Shake 'N Feed Slow Release Plant Food. Miracle Grow recommends not using any other fertilizer on the plant until after 3 months.
After the three month period, I use the Miracle Grow Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food about every 7 days. (Follow the directions on the label per the size of your watering container for the right mixture.)
Use this, and fresh tomatoes are just around the corner... "Mmm... I can taste them now!"
Miracle Grow also makes the same type of water soluble product, but made specifically for tomatoes. Another awesome product to make tomato plant care easier!
On average, when applying any water soluble fertilizer, apply directly to the tomato soil around the base of the tomato plant every 7-10 days.
Make sure not to apply it over the tomato leaves. A tomato leaf doesn't react well to water sitting on its surface. This can lead to Tomato Blight.
I like however, the handiness of the All Purpose Plant Food. You can use it for vegetables and any other flowers you might be container gardening.
If you used any other type of potting mix, refer to the company's website or labels for specific information on any fertilizer additives, and the recommendations for later fertilizer use.
Have a tomato plant care tip to share? Click here to let us know so everybody's tomato growing improves!
If you need information on watering tomatoes, click here to go to my page on Watering Tomatoes, where I cover the topic in detail.
A frustrating tomato plant care issue is TOO successful plants!
My tomato plants grow too well, and they keep falling over. When the fruit gets large, the plant can't support their weight, and the stems break.
One great solution to that tomato plant problem is the JWALT DURA-CAGE Superior Tomato Cage.
It's really solid, and comes in sizes of up to 4ft tall. The weird circular hoop things actually work really well in practise.
It's a little on the expensive side, but if you've spent/wasted countless dollars on bamboo and other tomato plant care "solutions" over the years, this will solve the problems at a stroke.
I think you'll like it!
For more help on tomato cages, click here.
Next on the discussion of tomato plant care is tomato plant problems, such as tomato disease and tomato pests.
Tomato Plant Care FAQs From Our ReadersIs this tomato leaf curl?
Not Producing Fruit
Tomato Blight Question
Tomato diseases can range from fungal diseases to viral diseases and leaf spotting.
A great majority of tomato plants you'll find at your local nursery are extremely disease-resistant. This makes tomato plant care a little easier than the older days.
When shopping for plants, especially non-hybrids (known as heirlooms), pay close attention to the "look" of the tomato.
Look for any yellowing on existing leaves or yellowing on new leaves. This most likely is a viral-disease contaminated plant.
Take note of any spotting. Spots can occur on the top or the under-side of the leaf.
Steer clear of any tomato plants that have rings or streaking on the leaf or stem. This too could be stemming from a viral disease or other tomato plant problem.
The best tomato plant of the bunch will be one that is short and stocky. And a nice deep green in color.
Existing Tomato Plant Care
Now to discuss existing container tomato plants at your home. Jobe's Organic Veggie and Tomato Soil lends itself to be extremely sterile and excellent to grow tomatoes.
The sterile soil is great for preventing soil-borne fungal diseases which tomato plants are susceptible to.
On the other hand, a few things we have to watch for once our plants are growing in our containers are tomato plant diseases, such as tomato blight and tomato blossom-end rot.
Tomato wilt can cause absolute devastation to any number of tomato plants. I answer a readers question concerning this horrible disease.
Click here for my response and tutorial on tomato plant care when you have wilt disease. (Opens in a new window on my site.)
Blight disease comes from too much moisture retained on the leaves. This can occur from too much rainfall and also water from sprinkler systems.
You usually don't worry about the method used in watering plants outside. But in the world of tomato plant care, don't water over the tomato leaves, rather directly to the soil. The less moisture on the leaves, the better.
A tomato plant problem worth mentioning is blossom-end rot. This tomato disease occurs from improper watering.
As we discussed on the Watering Tomatoes page, watering too little or too much can have terrible consequences on all tomato varieties. When a plant doesn't receive enough water, the shallow watering forces the plants roots to grow upward in search of nutrients.
If your planter is drying out too quickly, a container gardening tip for watering tomato plants is to lightly mulch the plant. This will hold much needed water in the soil: more than what you might think!
When a plant receives too much water, the roots are deprived of oxygen. Thus the plant is starved of calcium.
If you suspect your tomato plant needs calcium, try this container garden idea. Apply crushed eggshells around the base of the plants' stem.
I've never tried this, however I do think it would work. Eggshells would return calcium back to the soil.
Have a tip to share? Click here to let us know how you kept the bugs and diseases off of your cherished tomato plants.
When doing any normal garden care, we always have to be ready to deal with gardening pests.
Since we're dealing with tomato plant care, we'll touch on a few tomato pests that can interrupt our good, gardening day.
First, we'll discuss some tomato bugs known as thrips.
The thrip is a very small green to brown insect that can be responsible for carrying diseases from one plant to the next.
A good way to suspect you have a tomato thrip, is noticing signs of tomato spotted wilt disease.
Since you won't be able to see thrips, the symptoms you'll notice are blackened, dead looking spots on the tops of the plants.
Streaks of black or a dark color can be noticed running down the stems.
Treatment For Thrips
How to get rid of thrips?
Use a product called Monterey Garden Insect Spray. I highly recommend this spray for thrip control.
It only lasts a couple of weeks, but will do the job in a very quick amount of time.
For tomato plant care, a dust application might suit your fancy. Shop for a product called Permethrin Dust.
Using dust to cure tomato plant problems is a bit messier than a spray. But anyone who has used dust before know the advantages of this choice.
You'll always see where the application has taken place. And consistent and even coverage is key for good tomato plant care.
Last on my list would be an Insecticidal Soap. Soap works very effectively on pesky tomato plant problems, but will need to be applied at least twice a week if you know you have a thrip problem.
Now, on to tomato pests known as the aphid.
A common symptom of the aphids would be yellowing leaves and leaf curl. You may also notice stunted plant growth.
Noticing a shiny leaf could be a sign of "honeydew". A shiny and sticky excrement left behind by the aphid creates this effect.
Not wanting to be a broken record, any of the above mentioned products will very easily work for aphid control.
An absolute foliage-eating machine. This little tomato worm will eat everything from leaves to your precious growing fruit.
As you can see from the picture under Tomato Problems, Tomato Hornworms are hard to spot. Happy Hunting!
You might notice black droppings left behind by this terrible little creature. If you do manage to spot one, you'll notice a green, reddish horn on the "behind" of the animals!
You need to pick them off by hand! EASY! EASY!
If you don't have the guts to do this, you can treat the plant with a common vegetable insecticide.
For existing and future tomato plant care, I would keep some brand names such as Dipel on hand.
Have a tip to share? Please let our readers know what YOU recommend to help your tomatoes flourish.
Make sure you have the proper size container. Big trouble if you don't! Check out this article: Choosing Containers
There are lots of things to know when planting tomatoes. Read this information on: Planting Tomatoes
Can't find the answer to your tomato plant problem?
Check out my NEW Tomato
Gardening Pearls Ebook!
50 Pages of easy to follow tips and techniques that will be sure to answer your question!
How much would you pay for perfect tomato growing skills?
Click here to find out today's special offer price -- it's unbeatable!
Lost? If you're following the How to Grow Tomatoes series and need to find your way back to the main article, use these handy links.
See All Our Articles on How to Grow Tomatoes
Follow these links to learn everything you'll need to know to begin growing your own delicious, organic vegetables in containers, right on your patio, balcony, or windowsill!
Know a secret tomato-growing tip? Built a great tomato cage? Found an organic way to remove pests, or a method to improve fruit output?
Share your story, tip or review about Tomato Growing!
Click on the links below to see some great reviews, stories and tips about Growing Tomatoes. They were all written by other visitors to this page.
Eggs in the dirt for tomatos
I have used eggs for my tomatos for years. A couple of days before you plant your tomato plants, set out three eggs per plant. After you dig the hole, …
Watering Of Tomato Plants
OK- Was wondering that when the tomato leaves look like they are dry or maybe dying, are we giving them too much water or not enough? Thanks! …
Tomato Plants: Leaves Curling Up
Question: My tomato plant leaves are curling up, to much water or not enough? No yellow or brown spots yet. Answer: Hi Pattie!! I think …
Possible Tomato Wilt
Question: Leaves are drooping, even though there seems to be enough moisture in the soil. Answer: If you do have enough moisture in your soil, …
Topsy-Turvy Tomato Planter: That's not the way to do it! Not rated yet
Topsy-Turvy Tomato Planter: That's not the way to do it! You are supposed to put the plant (root first) through the bottom hole without the foam …
Tomato Emergency! Not rated yet
Tomato Emergency! I have successfully grown organic tomatoes from seeds when the vendor my wife brought them from said it could not be done. …
Watering Tomatoes Too Much Not rated yet
Question: I too have planted a tomato garden with a raised bed. I built it 4x4x12" and vented with a 1/4" drain hole below each plant. I have 6 different …
Only SOME of my Tomato Plants are Dying! Not rated yet
I have some tomato plants in my garden that are thriving and doing well,while a few are shrivelling up and dying. I have dying plants right beside thriving …
Black Bottoms on my Tomato Box Tomatoes Not rated yet
Question: I have tomato boxes that I purchased. You plant the tomatoes in the pot that comes with packages of nutrients and you water from the bottom …
Rotting spots on green tomatoes Not rated yet
Question: This is my first attempt at growing/harvesting container tomatoes, and I notice that when the green tomatoes reach the size of a golf ball, …
Yellow Leaves on Cherry Tomatoes Not rated yet
Question: I have two husky, cluster cherry tomato plants in one big container. They were doing well until a week ago when the leaves on only one plant …
Curling of Leaves and New Buds on my Young Tomato Plants Not rated yet
Question: Our tomato plants are about three weeks old. I have noticed recently that the leaves are curling and the very small leaves, not yet opened, …
Why Are My Tomatoes Spliting Open Not rated yet
Question: Tomatoes are opening up and exposing the inside fruit. Answer: It's usually caused by excessive rain or watering after a dry spell. …
My Roma Tomatoes Are Soggy? Not rated yet
Question: My Roma Tomatoes are going Soggy The first few tomatoes are fully ripe, but are soft and mushy inside. They are grown upside down and the …
Healthy Green Tomato Plant Wilts In About 30 min Not rated yet
Question: We are experimenting growing hanging potted tomato plants--we have 8 plants. We are using better boy and bush tomatoes in Lowe's 5 gallon …
Tomatoes Splitting Not rated yet
Question: Why is the tomato splitting before it gets ripe? Answer: Hello Woody, Splitting on a tomato is usually caused by a lack of water, …
Tomato Leaves Turning Yellow: Pest Attack? Not rated yet
Question: Lower tomato leaves in container are turning yellow. Some also have holes in them, like "something" has been chewing on them. Might it …
A Great Container For Growing Tomatoes Not rated yet
Go to your local super market fish counter and ask them if they get fresh whole salmons in. If yes, ask them for the container. They are big and deep with …
Bottom Of Tomatoes Get Black But Not Rotten Not rated yet
Question: As the tomatoes start going red the bottom looks like its getting rotten but when you cut the tomato just the bottom tip is bad the rest …
Tomatoes get black on the bottom Not rated yet
Question: The past three years that I have planted Beefsteak tomatoes, I've had the same problem. The plants grow as they should, but the tomatoes …
Tomato Blooms Are Dying
-Tomato Blossom Drop- Not rated yet
Question: I have one tomato but the other buds just seem to be drying up. Lots of blooms but they die before fruit forms. What would cause this? …
When There Are So Many Flowers and The Tomatoes Are Malformed, What Is Wrong? Not rated yet
Question: My plant is very tall and has tons of flowers but the tomatoes that are forming are gnarly shaped. It is a container plant and is a Beefsteak …
Curled Tomato Plant Leaves? Not rated yet
Question: Why do my plants have curling leaves? Answer: The most common thing I see with tomato plants is something called Tomato Leaf Curl. …
Tomato Plants Not rated yet
Question: Tomato plant leaves curling and light patches starting. John, try reading these pages. Sounds like that's what is going on with yours. …
Tomato Leaves Turning Yellow Not rated yet
Question: I have 2 tomato plants that are about 3-4 ft tall. They are planted in a large flow pot. They have about 15 tomatoes on them combined. The …
Controlling Tomato Blight Not rated yet
I took one plant out that had blight already, what do I do with the others that were beside it. They look like they have spots. Is there anything I can …
Tomato Plants Leaves Are Turning Yellow...Why? Not rated yet
Question: My Topsy Turvy tomato plants leaves are turning yellow and I wonder if it is too much or not enough water. Answer: Hi Doris, If …
Yellow Leaves and Very Little Growth in Tomato Plant? Not rated yet
Question: Please tell me why my tomato plant is remaining very small and has yellow leaves at the bottom. Answer: Without knowing some specifics, …
Yellow Leaves on Tomato Plants Bought From a Local Nursery Not rated yet
Question: Hi, I just brought home a patio tomato plant, already in a container and about 2 feet tall with some immature tomatoes. After 2 days, the …
Broken Tomato Plant Not rated yet
Question: I am growing a cherry tomato plant in a container on my driveway and I think maybe a basketball may have hit my plant. It appears that something …
Tomato Wilt Not rated yet
Question: What could be happening to my tomatoes? I have a large vegetable and herb garden, and everything in it really flourishes: okra, peppers,strawberries, …
What Causes Wilt Of Tomato Plants? Not rated yet
Question: My tomato plants are wilting over night and then they die. What can I do to prevent it? Answer: Dear Susan, If your tomato plants …
Tomato Leaf Curl Not rated yet
Question: My outdoor tomato plants have narrow leaves that are curled over. Answer: Vucky, Unless your tomato plants have other signs …
Tomato Leaf Curl in New Plants? Not rated yet
Question: Why are the leaves of my newly planted (1 month) tomato plants curly upward and swindling? The leaves remain green but they curl upward …
Tomato Problems Not rated yet
Question: I have one of the upside down tomato plants which is not producing tomatoes. The plant is really healthy looking and getting very large. …
Tomato Blight? Not rated yet
Question: My tomato plant leaves have spots on them, is this normal? I have them in a large pot that is about twice as big as the plant. Thanks, …
Watering Tomatoes and Sunshine Not rated yet
Question: I have just bought a tomato plant and live in a flat so have put in window in a sunny room, is this ok? How often do I water and when do …
My Tomato Transplants Are Dying Not rated yet
Question: I started my tomatoes from seed. They were doing beautifully until a couple of weeks ago. I have been putting them outside on warm days. …
Where Should I Cut My Tomato Plants Back At? Not rated yet
I need to know where to cut my tomato plants back, how far back should i cut them or at all? Thanks Hi Melissa, Great question!! First …