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By: Nikki Tilley, Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden
Are you getting tomato plant blossoms but no tomatoes? When a tomato plant is not producing, it can leave you at a loss as to what to do.
Big Blooms but No Tomatoes on the Tomato Plant
Several factors can lead to a lack of fruit setting, such as temperature, irregular watering practices, and poor growing conditions. You don’t need two plants in order to produce fruit either—this is a popular misconception.
Lush Foliage but No Tomatoes
If you’re troubled with lots of lush foliage on your tomato plants but can’t seem to get any tomatoes, it may be due to poor lighting or watering.
- Insufficient light – A lack of adequate light is one of the main reasons for non-fruiting, as the plants require anywhere from six to eight hours of full sun to produce blooms and then fruit. Without this, you will be left with plenty of foliage, albeit spindly or leggy growth, and some flowers but little to no tomatoes. Fruit production requires a lot of energy, which plants get from the sun. If your tomato plants aren’t receiving enough light, they should be moved.
- Too little water – Tomatoes need plenty of water. Too little water results in poor fruit development. If the tomato plant has too little water, they may only produce a few flowers and then drop those flowers.
Lots of Blooms but No Tomatoes
If you have lots of flowers and no tomatoes. Temperature and poor pollination are generally to blame here.
- Temperature – Tomato plants require warm temps to flourish (65-70 F./18-21 C. during day, at least 55 F./13 C. at night to set fruit). However, if the temperature rises too much (above 85 F./29 C.), they will fail to bloom, thus not producing fruit. If you have plenty of big blooms but no tomatoes, it may be too cold and wet or too hot and dry. This results in what is known as blossom drop and will, of course, make it much more difficult for plants to produce fruit.
- Poor pollination – Weather can also be a factor with pollination. Cold, windy, or wet weather will limit the amount of bee activity, which is helpful for pollination to occur and fruits to set. Without these pollinators, you will have only a few tomatoes. Once weather returns to normal, however, this should right itself or you can hand pollinate them instead.
Additional Factors for No Tomato Fruit
Another factor for limiting tomato fruit set is improper tomato spacing. If you plant them too close, they will produce few tomatoes and are more susceptible to disease. In fact, fungal diseases, like botrytis, can actually cause blooms to drop and result in no fruit. Tomato plants should be spaced at least 2 feet apart.
Looking for additional tips on growing perfect tomatoes? Download our FREE Tomato Growing Guide and learn how to grow delicious tomatoes.
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Tomato Plant Flowers, But No Fruit? Causes and Solutions
It is frustrating to see your tomato plants flowering without producing any fruit. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to identify the problem and save your harvest.
So, why are your tomato plants flowering but not producing fruit? A lack of pollination due to extreme temperature or humidity is a common cause of tomato plants flowering without producing fruit. Other environmental factors that can delay fruit production include water, light, nutrient deficiencies, pests, and diseases.
It’s important to remember that it takes over a month to go from the appearance of a flower to a ripe tomato. So, be patient! However, if you aren’t seeing any fruit starting from flowers on your tomato plant, then it is time to do some detective work to find the source of the problem.
Let’s start off with pollination for tomato plants: how it works, what can prevent it, and how you can take matters into your own hands.
Huge tomato plants and no flowers!
Last year mine didn't start showing until late August.
I had the same problem with tomato plants growing really big, and never getting any fruit for the past two years. My plants get plenty of afternoon sun also. I did a little research this spring and learned that you need to prune the suckers daily. As your plant grows, new little leaves will sprout up between established leaves and the main plant, these are the suckers. Just pinch or cut them off very close to the plant. This will help direct the energy to the plant to produce fruit. I have done this diligently this year. I planted 4 tomato plants and 3 of them are producing tomatoes -- the 4th is just a dud. I have to prune almost daily, definitely after it rains. I hope this helps.
Get a fertilizer made just for tomatoes, or go to one of your local nurseries. I also trim my tomato foliage.
They say not to fertilize until flowers set, otherwise you get big, healthy plants, but no fruit.
That is the soil I used. Thanks
Some types of tomatoes can't flower in the heat of summer. Research the type of plant you have. If this is the problem they will set tomatoes when the weather cools and you can plant a more heat tolerant variety next year.
Have you made a solution of water and Epsom salt? One teaspoon to a gallon of water helps them blossom. Good luck
Joan I was gonna suggest the epson salt spray to . It works great on my potted cucumbers as well as tomatoes .
It sounds like your tomato plants are lacking magnesium and potassium. Try giving the some fertilizer making sure it is applied in the early morning.
I would venture to say that your tomato plants have pinched feet. Your pots look too small, there's no room for the roots to spread. I have four huge pots with a plant in each one and my plants are not so big but the amount of tomatoes on each plant is amazing. I only use Miracle Grow every 10 days and I water every day. I have been planting like this for the last 13 years and by the way, I don't remove any suckers or leaves. I do hope my approach to gardening helps you out. I also have pickling cukes, banana peppers, green bell peppers, romaine lettuce, red onions, garlic and they are all cared for the same way and they are all quite abundant. You just have to find what works for you. Gardening is just that.
I'd like to connect with home gardens also.
If the Epsom salt solution hasn't helped you can buy a setting solution at your local garden center. I've used it in the past and usually only one spraying is needed. Once your tomatoes start blooming you won't need to spray again.
Do you mean you use miracle grow potting soil and plant food? Is that a liquid? Do you use compost?
I have been using ProMix liquid fertillizer and see that my plants are growing very tall.
Temps above 75 degrees at night and/or higher than 95 degrees in the day can stop the budding process. Also, too much humidity can cause pollen to be sticky and not fall within the flower.
It depends the area where you live. we have 107 - 110 degrees during the day in Az.. and my tomato, bell peppers, green onions, zucchini & jalapeño plants are beautiful and quite abundant, I water my plants once a day, part shade only
I have never seen tomato plants with out flowers?
The soil could have too much nitrogen
Don’t use roundup ready / miracle grow! They are GMO products and will kill off any heritage plants. We have used milk with huge result. I never use soil with feed in it (anything that says feeds up to. ) all water is pH 4.5-5.5 and large pots (wide not tall). And we also live in AZ. We grow grapes, blueberries, lettuces, citrus, apple, Mellon’s, and pumpkin with no issues. Also raise chickens and ducks free range organic. I’d also suggest getting worm casting to mix in your soil
Usually it is caused by the soil being far too rich in Nitrogen which causes them to bolt with new growth and nothing else, also the stems look very thin which could be lack of water which won't help in small pots like that in hot weather they would require watering 3-4 times a day. If I were you I would but some good old fashioned plastic buckets put some holes in the bottom then some drainage material like stones/gravel, then fill them 7/8ths full of plain potting mix without any fertilizer , when the plants start to set their first flower trusses then start fertilizing them and make sure you give them some Epson Salts once a week, that is how I grown mine in my Glasshouse, alternatively if you buy 40ltr bags of potting mix, just stab a lot of drainage holes on one side of the bag for drainage, then turn the bag over and cut 4 holes in it and plant your Tomatoes in it, but plenty of water is the main requirement, plus the normal fertilizer routine, this way is also excellent for growing Strawberries.
Wow! Lots do doable info. Thanks Alan!
Mine were barren until this week 7/25/2016. I did put some violet fertilizer in my watering can 2 weeks ago. I think that gave them a kick start. Ask at a nursery which fertilizer to use.
If you contact your county extension agent he can give you tips. I heard ours give advise on this several years ago, but i can't remember what he said. I'm sorry i can't be any more help.
I think most of your problem I lack water I grow y tomatoes in a glasshouse and in buckets the same size as yours and on hot days I have to water twice a day, I good guide is the stems they should be a t least twice as thick as yours are showing, the leaves are reasonably healthy looking although should be a deep darker Green, I would try a decent feed for them and lots of water and they should correct themselves, as a general rule the main stem should be about as thick as your thumb, so lack of water stress would be my guess.
8 More Questions
Ask a Question Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
Question: Tomatoes Started Indoors Not Flowering?
This is the first time to start seeds indoors. Everything seemed to be going fine. I started 3 types of peppers on about 2/17. I discovered they are very slow, but seem to be on time for 5/15 outdoor planting if the weather holds up. I also started tomatoes. These are the Campari variety that I get from Kroger/Meijer's etc. I was told and I watched a video on planting from a cutting of a tomato. I put starter seed in a Jiffy Pot, cut a 1/4" slice of the tomato in the pot and then covered it with starter soil. The seeds sprouted to the point that I had to thin them. They have grown well and I have thinned them down to 4 plants total. I had to transfer them to larger Jiffy Pots, two to a pot. My question/issue is that they were about 12" high on 4/9, today they are 20" tall and spindly. There are no flowers and not all that many branches, but I know that doesn't matter for planting. Color is very light green, but not translucent, yet.
Any help would be appreciated in this matter. I do great outdoors when I buy and plant.
When Are the Best Times to Pinch Blooms Off of Tomatoes?
If you believe your tomato plant is in a rough spot, or perhaps it’s simply blooming at an awkward time, it could be appropriate to pinch the blooms. Here are some great times to consider picking them off:
- When you tomato seedlings start blooming indoors, well ahead of transplant time, while still under lights or greenhouse plastic.
- When you’re transplanting plants with blooms, or dealing with plants you’ve recently transplanted that have transplant shock.
- When indeterminate plants are still less than 30″ tall, as they will still be slow to ripen while slowing plant growth.
- When the plant is severely stressed, by disease or pests, to allow the plant to rejuvenate itself.
- At the end of the season, when you want fruit to ripen quickly before frost. (this is a method know as topping tomato plants, and it is incredibly useful when you know that cold weather will be arriving in the next 4 to 6 weeks.)
In short, removing the blooms and immature fruits of a tomato plant redirects its energy towards growing more foliage, and eventually more fruit. By removing new blooming clusters as they develop, you can also hurry the ripening process for green fruits.
Warm or Cool Temperatures
Tomatoes thrive in warm soil and temperatures between 21.1 and 26.7 degrees Celsius. If nighttime temperatures in your area dip below 50 degrees, this may stunt your plant's ability to produce blooms. If temperatures are cool at night, cover the plant with a burlap cloth. Lift the cloth when warmer temperatures resume. If sizzling hot weather is the problem, the two options are to water the plant more frequently -- up to 2 inches of water per week -- or to transplant the plant into a container that can be moved indoors.