Information On Common Tomato Plant Problems

Information On Common Tomato Plant Problems

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

By: Heather Rhoades

Tomatoes are often considered to be among the easiest and most popular vegetables to grow in the home garden. But, while tomatoes are easy to grow, this doesn’t mean that you won’t have tomato plant problems. Both novice and experienced gardeners may find themselves asking, “Why is my tomato plant dying?” Knowing the most common tomato growing problems will help you keep your tomato plants happy and healthy.

Tomato Plant Diseases

Perhaps the most common reason for tomato plant failure is disease. Tomato plants are susceptible to a wide variety of diseases. These include:

  • Alternaria Canker – brown depressed spots on the leaves, fruit and stems
  • Bacterial Canker – leaves wilt, turn yellow, then brown and die from the bottom up
  • Bacterial Speck – small brown dots with yellow rings on fruit and leaves
  • Bacterial Spot wet, black spots on the leaves that eventually decompose and leave a hole
  • Cucumber Mosaic Virus – the tomato plant will be stunted and will have thin leaves
  • Early Blight – large black irregular shaped spots with yellow rings around them on the leaves
  • Fusarium Crown Rot – whole plant turns brown, starting with mature leaves – brown lines can be found on the stems
  • Fusarium Wilt – plants wilt despite proper watering
  • Gray Leaf Spot – small brown spots on leaves that rot out and leave small holes in the leaves
  • Late Blight – leaves turn pale brown and papery and the fruit develop indented spots
  • Leaf Mold – light green or yellow spots on the undersides of the leaves that eventually cause whole leaves to turn yellow
  • Powdery Mildew – leaves will be covered with a white powdery coating
  • Septoria Leaf Spot – brown and grey spots on the leaves, mostly on older leaves
  • Southern Blight – plant wilts and brown spots can be found on the stem near or at the soil line
  • Spotted Wilt – Bulls-eye type spots on the leaves and the plant will be stunted
  • Timber Rot – The tomato plants will have hollow stems and moldy spots on leaves and stems
  • Tomato Tobacco Mosaic – The plant is stunted with patchy yellow and bright green leaves
  • Verticillium Wilt – Plants wilt despite proper watering

Environmental Tomato Issues

While disease is a common reason for tomato plants dying, disease isn’t the only thing that can kill tomato plants. Environmental issues, such as a lack of water, too much water, poor soil and too little light can also cause tomato plants to fail and die.

  • Watering issues – When a tomato plant is under watered or over watered, it reacts the same way. It will develop yellow leaves and will look wilted. The best way to determine if you are under watering or over watering is to examine the soil. If it is dry, dusty and cracked, then it’s likely your tomato plants aren’t getting enough water. If, on the other hand, your tomato plants are in standing water or if the soil seems swampy, the plants may be over watered.
  • Nutrient issues – Poor soil often leads to tomato plants with stunted growth and fewer low quality fruit. Plants in poor soil are lacking in nutrients and are unable to properly grow without these.
  • Light issues – A lack of sun also can affect a tomato plant. Tomato plants need at least five hours of sun to survive. Less than this, and the plants will be stunted and eventually die.

Tomato Plant Pests

There are many garden pests that can damage or kill tomato plants. Typically, tomato pests will either attack the fruit or the leaves.

Tomato pests that attack the leaves include:

  • Aphids
  • Blister beetles
  • Cabbage loopers
  • Colorado potato bug
  • Flea beetles
  • Leafminers
  • Stink bugs
  • Thrips
  • Tomato hornworms
  • Whiteflies

Tomato pests that can damage fruit are:

  • Rodents
  • Slugs
  • Tobacco budworm
  • Tomato fruitworm
  • Tomato pinworm
  • Vegetable leafminer

Discovering what’s causing your tomato plant problems will help you to work to correct them. Remember, tomato growing problems are actually rather common. Even gardeners with years of experience can find that their tomato plants have been killed by disease or pests.

This article was last updated on

Ask a Question forum→Tomato plant problem

Sign-up for our Free Weekly Newsletter from the National Gardening Association:

· Gain access to free articles, tips, ideas, pictures and everything gardening

. Every week see the 10 best gardening photos to inspire your gardening projects

My tomato plant dropped all plants and now seems like dying from some sort of disease. Help please to identify and recommendations to treat itrusty

I don't see any signs of diseases. It could be there's just not enough space in the bucket to sustain a plant with a root systems as big as a tomato's. You are using a 5-gallon bucket but, there's probably only 4 gallons of dirt in there. Does that bucket have drain holes?

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming. "WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada

Yes, there is bunch of holes for drainage so plant get all water out perfectly. Everything was going well until last 2-3 weeks. Got around 10 good tomatoes growing but then suddenly they started to drop. At first I thought birds got them but then the rest fell. Now it's looking very bad with leaves curling and yellowing with spots on them.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming. "WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada

Early Blight does not cause fruit drop but a sudden change in weather or the soil being too hot, too dry, too wet will. A larger container would help even out temperature and moisture swings that a small container cannot.

When a sentence is started, "with all due respect", I suspect the speaker does not value or respect anything I might have to say. Yes, I live in Nevada, in Northern Nevada but, my knowledge base is wider than the county I live in.
I will leave this conversation to the "expert."

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming. "WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada

When a sentence is started, "with all due respect", I suspect the speaker does not value or respect anything I might have to say. Yes, I live in Nevada, in Northern Nevada but, my knowledge base is wider than the county I live in.
I will leave this conversation to the "expert."

You are wrong about that Daisy. Starting a sentence like that does not mean what you say it means. I have used that expression many times both in my legal practice and outside of it. When a judge gives me an opinion on what a legal case says and I disagree I will say "With all due respect Judge, I think the case means this. " I am not saying I do not respect anything the judge might have to say. It is just a gentle way of saying you do not agree with something someone said. Nothing wrong with that. We do it all the time. You over-reacted to this comment.

DaisyI said: Tomato Blight is characterized by brown spots with a yellow ring on the lower leaves of the plant (I don't see any yellow rings and the whole plant seems to be affected). It shows up first at the bottom of the plant because the fungus lives in the soil and gets splashed up on to the lower leaves (this tomato is in a container with, I assume, bagged soil). It does cause leaf drop, then the complaint would be the tomatoes are sunburning.

Early Blight does not cause fruit drop but a sudden change in weather or the soil being too hot, too dry, too wet will. A larger container would help even out temperature and moisture swings that a small container cannot.

When a sentence is started, "with all due respect", I suspect the speaker does not value or respect anything I might have to say. Yes, I live in Nevada, in Northern Nevada but, my knowledge base is wider than the county I live in.
I will leave this conversation to the "expert."

Would be dangerous to replant the tomato to bigger pot or box?
If replant is the solution how big pot should I be looking for?

if you have lost all the tomatoes on your plant, it may not be worth trying to save the plant. When temps get this hot/humid there will be no pollination even though the plant continues to bloom, it will not produce more tomatoes until it cools. Just a thought.

gardenfish said: All due respect, Daisy, a 5 gallon bucket IS sufficient to grow a tomato plant in, if it is watered properly.

(I am a master Gardener in my county).

Maybe you CAN grow a tomato plant in a 5 gallon bucket in your area.

It's a lot harder down south with our hotter temps and brighter sunlight.

I saw a self-proclaimed "master gardener" on the news over the weekend. Showing off her dead cucumber plants that she tried to grow in tires, complaining that she'd been watering a bunch. She blamed tha problem on the subtropical sunlight.

Ida been embarrassed of that garden.

Seems like they fail to teach important stuff in those MG classes.

Stuff like not repeating something that doesn't work in ones current location.

If I was that lady on the news, I'd stop trying to garden. In tires, and. If I was in houston, I'd give up attempting to garden in 5 gallon buckets.

Different techniques work in different areas, and two gardens on the same tract of land may have different enough conditions to require completely different methods.

For example. When I had a clay garden. I gardened in raised beds. In my current garden. Bottomless sand. I would never attempt to garden raised beds. Too dry.

While high temps make flower set with tomatoes difficult, it doesn't completely rule tomatoes out.

The heated roots in the five gallon bucket. That would make the dropped fruit seem positively expected.

I'd try planting the plant in the ground. If it lives, good. If it dies, no big loss.

Try planting cherry tomatoes. They are almost guaranteed to be successful.

When I figured it out, I began to grow in containers (Yep and I am only a couple hours north of Houston) and in raised beds exclusively.

I also plant an assortment of tomatoes for different uses and ripening times. This year I am growing 26 plants started from seed. Five different types

four indeterminate types (two cherry) in raised beds and one determinate type in large restaurant cooking oil containers. All have done well.

Solution is to do what works best at your house!

Lynda, thank you for the seed sources. I will check them out. Yes, I am already studying on what I want to plant next year and this year isn't even done.

Tomato Growing Problems: Troubleshooting

Tomato growing problems include the tomato horn worm.

Tomato plants are susceptible to several diseases and pests. Preventing problems is the best growing strategy.

  • Keep the garden free of weeds that can harbor pests and diseases.
  • Use floating row covers at planting time to exclude early season pests.
  • Prune and train tomatoes early to provide good air circulation.
  • Pick off any leaves that show sign of disease or insect attack.
  • Later, keep an eye on plants as they blossom and set fruit water evenly and regularly and mulch to conserve soil moisture.
  • At the end of the season get rid of crop residues and cultivate the soil to expose insect larvae.

Here is a troubleshooting list of possible tomato problems with brief control suggestions. For a full description of pests and diseases and prevention and controls click over to the Pest Problem Solver of the Disease Problem Solver. For tomato growing details click to How to Grow Tomatoes.

Here are 35 tomato plant problems and solutions:

Small holes in leaves of seedlings. Flea beetles eat small holes in the leaves of seedlings and small transplants. In worst case, the entire plant is destroyed. Flea beetles usually concentrate on seedlings. Healthy tomatoes can tolerate beetle damage.

Leaves eaten off plant. Colorado potato beetles or vegetable weevils attack many vegetables. They are small and dark colored and do not fly, so they are slow to spread. Hand-pick adult beetles off of plant. Keep garden clean. Use rotenone in severe cases.

Lower leaves have a bronze, oily color. Tomato russet mite is not visible to the eye but you will see them with a hand lens they are whitish-yellow and pear-shaped. Avoid growing tomatoes near petunias. Treat with sulfur.

Leaves are yellowish and slightly curled with small shiny specks. Aphids are tiny, oval, yellowish to greenish pear-shaped insects that colonize on the undersides of leaves. They leave behind sticky excrement called honeydew which can turn into a black sooty mold. Use insecticidal soap.

Leaves turn yellow and then brown from the bottom up plant loses vigor. Root knot nematode is a microscopic eelworm that attacks feeder roots. Plant resistant varieties labeled VFN. Rotate crops. Remove old plant debris from garden.

Leaves appear scorched and wilted. Leafhoppers are green, brown, or yellow bugs to ⅓-inch long with wedge-shaped wings. They jump sideways and suck the juices from plants. Use insecticidal soap. Cover plants with floating row covers to exclude leafhoppers.

Water-soaked spots on leaves spot become circular with gray centers. Leaf spot or Septoria leaf spot is a fungus disease. Plant resistant varieties. Rotate crops. Keep garden free of plant debris. Apply copper dust or liquid copper spray every 7 to 10 days.

Tiny white winged insects around plants. Whiteflies will congregate on the undersides of leaves and fly up when disturbed. Introduce beneficial insects into the garden.

Trails and tunnels in leaves. The leafminer larvae tunnel inside leaves. Destroy infected leaves and cultivate the garden to destroy larvae and keep adult flies from laying eggs. Cover crops with floating row covers.

Young plants are cut off at the ground. Cutworms can be found at the base of plants, they are small curled grayish grubs. Handpick and destroy cutworms and place a cardboard collar around young plants.

Leaf veins turn purple and leaves curl downward. Curly top virus is spread by leafhoppers. The leaves will become thick and leathery or brittle and the plant stops growing. Once the virus hits lift and throw away the plants. Control leafhoppers.

Leaves turn purple. There is a phosphorus deficiency in the soil. The leaves may also be bluish-green, bronzed, or reddish along the veins and margins. Add phosphorus rich bonemeal to the soil.

Leaves have an irregular light and dark green pattern leaves are narrow and wrinkled. Tobacco mosaic virus can be spread by tobacco plants and smoking. There is no cure for the virus. Plant resistant varieties (TMV on label). Infected plants can produce edible fruit but the size and yield is reduced.

Plants produce a lot of lush foliage, but little or no fruit. Several possible causes: (1) too much nitrogen in soil: use a phosphorus rich fertilizer avoid too much nitrogen (2) overwatering: allow the soil to dry to a depth of 4 inches before watering again (3) temperatures are too low: cover plants with plastic covers (4) inadequate pollination: lightly tap plants at flowering time to increase pollination.

Blossoms fall off. There are several possible reasons: (1) night temperatures are too low, less than 55°F (13°C): use a hormone spray to improve fruit set during low temperatures and keep soil evenly moist (2) day temperatures are too high, greater than 90°F (32°C): there is no solution, temperatures must drop (3) smog during blossoming period: tap on blossoms 3 times a week when flowers are open to assist pollination (4) too much nitrogen in the soil: feed plants properly (5) too much shade: plant tomatoes in full sun (6) early blossoming: don’t plant too early, early blossoms will not set fruit (7) the variety is not adapted to your region: get regional suggestions from a garden center or the cooperative extension.

Lower leaves yellow, tiny brown specks on leaves. Smog or air pollution. Some tomatoes grow poorly where the air to polluted.

Plants turn pale yellow with brown lesions on leaves, brown stripes on stems. Spotted wilt virus is spread by thrips. You may seed circular light areas or bumps on fruit. The plant will eventually die. Remove and destroy infected plants. Keep weeds down they host thrips.

Plant yellows beginning on one side or branch, yellowing spreads plant wilts. Fusarium wilt is a soil fungus that infects only tomatoes, usually where the soil is warm. If you cut the plant at the base, the main stem will be dark reddish brown instead of ivory color. Grow resistant varieties (F or VF).

Older leaves yellow and die yellowing begins between main veins of leaves. Verticillium wilt is caused by a soil fungus. It favors cool soil and air temperatures. Grow resistant varieties (V or VF) and avoid planting where tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, and cucumber family plants have been recently growing. This disease is most evident in hot weather when the plant is loaded with fruit and water is short.

Plants are slow growing and wilt roots look water-soaked or brown and dry. Phytopthora root rot is caused by a soil fungus. This disease is common in heavy, clay soils. Keep the watering short and add organic matter to the planting bed.

Cottony white growth on stem near soil line, plant wilts. Southern blight is caused by a fungus. Southern blight gets its name because it spreads rapidly in humid weather in temperatures greater than 85°F. The fungus feeds on decaying organic matter. Keep the garden clean of plant debris. Lift and destroy infected plants. Rotate crops.

Fruit turns light brown and leathery on side exposed to sun. Sunscald is caused by over exposure to the sun. don’t prune away foliage above fruit clusters.

Leaves and stems look water soaked and a grayish fungus grows on the undersides of leaves. Late blight is caused by a fungus which favors high humidity and temperatures around 68°F (20°F). Keep the garden free of plant debris and avoid overhead irrigation.

Round white powdery spots and coating on leaves. Powdery mildew is caused by fungal spores. Spores germinate on dry leaf surfaces when the humidity is high spores do not germinate on wet leaves. Common in late summer or fall but does not result in loss of plant. Avoid water stress. Pick off infected leaves.

Dark brown to black blotches surrounded by yellowing along edges of leaves. Bacterial speck develops where the weather is wet and cool, less than 70°F (21°C). Delay planting until temperatures warm. Rotate crops and avoid overhead watering.

Worm in immature or ripe tomato fruit. Tomato fruitworm (corn earworm) is a pale caterpillar with a brown head about 1¾ inches (4.5 cm) long it is the larvae of a night-flying moth with brownish or olive wings. Bacillus thuringiensis can be used to control worms, but control is difficult unless the infestation is severe. This tomato fruitworm is also known as the corn earworm.

Dark, leathery areas appear on the blossom end of fruit. Blossom end rot is caused when there is too little moisture in the soil, particularly when temperatures are greater than 90°F. Sometimes there is a calcium deficiency in the soil which keeps roots from taking up water. Mulch planting beds to keep soil moisture even water regularly. Test soil for calcium deficiency.

Fruit is cracked radially from top toward the bottom of the fruit. Cracking is caused by uneven soil moisture–the soil is either too wet or too dry. This often occurs when temperatures are greater than 85°F. Allow foliage to shade fruits below. Mulch to keep soil moisture even. Water thoroughly and then allow the soil to dry to a depth of 4 inches and then water again.

Brown dashed scar or zipper streak appears on side of fruit. Zipper-like scars appear after blossoms stick to tiny fruit when the weather is too wet and cool at flowering time. Pull flowers off of fruit when the fruit is very small.

Fruit is misshapen and distorted. This happens when the plant is exposed to temperatures below 55°F at the time of blossoming. Keep tomatoes warm with cloches or row covers early in the season. Plant later after temperatures have warmed. Grow early lower temperature varieties: Early Girl, Rocket, Earliana.

Small worm tunneling in fruit. Potato tuberworm is 3/8 inches (9.5 mm) long caterpillar the larvae of a moth that frequents potatoes. Avoid planting tomatoes where potatoes where planted the year before. Destroy potato plant debris.

Small worms tunnels into fruit. Tomato pinworm is a very small leafmining caterpillar about ¼-inch (6mm) long that tunnels into tomato fruit. It leaves a small entry hole which allows disease to enter the fruit. Remove and destroy tunneled leaves. If fruit is attacked it must be thrown away. Keep garden clean of plant debris and weeds where pinworms overwinter.

Leaves eaten, small to large holes eaten in fruit. The hornworm is a green caterpillar from 3 to 5 inches long with white stripes and a horn on its rear end. It is the larvae of a mottled gray or brown moth with orange spots. Hand pick and destroy hornworms. Use Bacillus thuringiensis and parasitic wasps.

Fruit surface is eaten or fruit is hollowed out. Snails feed on the surface of fruit. Slugs hollow out the fruit. Keep tomatoes off the ground. Set out beer traps for snails and slugs.

Cloudy cream or yellowish colored spots without definite margins on ripe fruit and the tissue underneath is spongy. Stink bugs are gray or green shield-shaped bugs about ¼-inch long they feed on fruits. Remove garden debris and weeds where bugs can overwinter. Hand-pick egg masses and bugs and destroy.

Sunken water-soaked areas on fruit fruit shrivels and become watery. Anthracnose and alternaria fruit rot are fungal diseases that causes dark, brown, or black sunken, circular spots on stems, leaves, and fruits. Keep fruit off the ground and destroy rotting fruit. Rotate crops.

Fruits are malformed with ugly scarring. Catfacing is caused by cool and cloudy weather at the time of blossoming. Weather causes blossoms to stick to small fruits and create distortions. Pull blossoms off of fruit when the fruit is still small. Plant varieties that resist catfacing, Big Set and Burpee’s VF.

16 Common Tomato-Growing Problems - and How to Solve Them

Written by The Seed Collection Pty Ltd Date Posted: 1 November 2019

Most veggie gardeners make at least a little space in their patch for tomatoes. And when you taste a homegrown fruit it's immediately obvious why they hold such appeal. Sweet, sharp, luscious, and very far from the often watery disappointments on the supermarket shelves, they can be picked at full ripeness to enjoy them at their best.

But while the rewards are high for tomato growers, it's not all plain sailing. Tomatoes can be one of the trickiest crops to grow, attracting many problems along the way. But thankfully, most of the common issues can be solved when you know what to look for.

Basic Tomato Cultivation

Although there are countless varieties of tomatoes available, they fall into two basic types, known as determinate and indeterminate.

Determinate tomatoes are also known as bush tomatoes, and produce fruits along all of their stems. These are the easiest varieties to grow, needing little or no pruning, and require supporting only when heavily laden with fruit.

Indeterminate tomatoes, or cordon tomatoes, grow their fruit only on the main side shoots of the central vine, and the other side stems need pruning or pinching out to focus growing energy on the fruits. Cordon tomatoes usually need much more extensive support, as they'll sprawl across the soil or snap their stems if left to their own devices.

But whichever type of tomato you grow, it's important to provide rich soil, consistent watering with good drainage, plenty of sun, and regular feeding once flowers begin to form. It's also important to sow seeds or plant seedlings as early as you can for your location, as many varieties need a lengthy growing season to fully ripen.

Unfortunately, this basic cultivation method can be complicated by a wide range of diseases, pests, and other problems. Here are sixteen of the most common.

1) Aphids

Every tomato grower will experience an aphid infestation at some point. While there are insecticide sprays which can solve the problem effectively, encouraging ladybirds into your garden by planting scented flowers and herbs is a good long-term strategy, alongside physical removal methods such as spraying with horticultural soap.

However, companion planting can also help immensely. Grow garlic next to your tomatoes to repel the insects, while also growing sweet basil nearby as a sacrificial offering, and you'll reduce your aphid issues while also creating the basis of an excellent homegrown pasta sauce.

2) Blossom End Rot

Blossom end rot is instantly recognisable from the discoloured skin on the bottom of the fruit, opposite to the stem. It's usually a sign of a calcium deficiency, either because of poor soil or depletion through over-watering.

However, reaching for the fertiliser may only make the problem worse. Adding too much nitrogen hampers the plant's ability to absorb calcium quickly enough to prevent the rot. As is so often the case, providing good free-draining soil enriched with plenty of organic matter is the best approach.

If your tomato patch is hit with blossom end rot, pick the affected fruits to stop it from spreading, and then water the soil lightly with diluted milk(50/50 water and milk) to give a quick calcium boost.

Adding egg shells to the soil at the time of planting is also a popular practice and is thought to help prevent the disease.

3) Cat-Facing

Cat-facing develops in a similar way to blossom end rot, but instead of the fruit becoming discoloured, it grows deformed, cracked, and pitted. There's no single fixed cause, but sustained low temperatures during the plants' early life can signal trouble ahead. Also, excessive nitrogen levels in the soil can weaken the plants and increase susceptibility.

The good news is that while affected fruits may be ugly, they're still perfectly edible with a little trimming.

4) Blossom Drop

As the name suggests, blossom drop is when the plant produces normal amounts of flowers, but they drop off before fruit is set. The most common cause of this is extremes of temperature in either direction. There's little you can do about this other than growing varieties suited to your local climate, and choosing the growing spot carefully to provide as consistent conditions as possible.

5) Poor Fruiting

However, even in seemingly ideal conditions fruiting levels may be disappointing. Tomatoes are self pollinating and a little wind is normally enough to pollinate the flowers. However in sheltered positions or difficult growing conditions the plants may need a little extra help.

If you need to take over pollination duties, try dabbing the inside of each flower in turn with a fine paintbrush. Another method is to simulate the vibrations caused by wind by vibrating each flower at the stem with an electric toothbrush a less reliable variation on this method is to shake the entire plant gently.

6) Sunscald

If young, unripe fruit are suddenly subject to strong, direct sunlight, they can develop whitish blisters which often then turn mouldy. To prevent this, ensure your plants are fed well so that they produce enough foliage to provide natural shade. However, if necessary, cover bare fruits with light fabric to give them some temporary protection.

7) Leaf Roll

Tomato leaf roll, also known as leaf curl, is caused by a viral infection usually spread by aphids or brought into your garden through infected seedlings. The first sign is the foliage curling inward, then starting to yellow. The plant's growth will be stunted, flowering will be reduced, and fruit setting will be impaired or stopped altogether.

The only cure is to remove infected plants and dispose of them properly. However, be aware that temporary leaf curling can happen through inconsistent watering, so rule this out as a cause before taking any drastic action.

8) Bacterial Canker

Bacterial canker is a disease which affects tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and other members of the nightshade family. It turns foliage dry and brown with yellowing veins, and as the infection advances the plant stems can crack and start to rot.

The bacteria which cause canker can survive in the soil or on infected debris for up to three years, and can quickly spread across an entire garden. There is no known chemical cure, but swift removal of infected plants, good tool hygiene, and careful watering to avoid excessive splashing can all help control the problem.

9) Cracked Fruit

Split tomatoes are a sure sign of overwatering or inconsistent watering. To prevent splitting, water your plants a little and often rather than giving them an occasional drenching followed by a drought. Also, add an organic mulch to the soil surface to help keep it moist.

10) Hollow Fruit

Although not as immediately visible as cracked fruit, hollow fruit is another symptom of poor growing conditions. It's particularly caused excessive watering or rainfall, extreme temperatures, or high levels of nitrogen in the soil.

There's no cure for affected fruits, but if growing conditions improve the vine can still produce healthy fruits from later blossoms.

11) Early Blight

Early blight is a fungal infection that affects the leaves, stems, and fruits of a tomato plant. While it's not necessarily fatal, it stunts growth and drastically reduces fruiting. The most common symptom is ringed, brown blotches on the foliage and fruits, with lesions on the stems which can turn rotten.

Early blight is a recurring problem in affected gardens, and the best solution is to grow varieties bred for resistance. Crop rotation and good tool sanitation can also help prevent a buildup.

12) Fusarium Wilt

Fusarium wilt is another fungal infection which causes yellowing foliage, starting on the lower leaves and moving upward. The fungus which causes it can survive indefinitely in infected soil. Again, growing resistant varieties is the best option once the problem has been identified.

13) Verticillium Wilt

Verticillium wilt has very similar symptoms to fusarium wilt, although the yellowing progresses more slowly. Remove and destroy all affected plants, and for future years grow resistant varieties in a rotation scheme that keeps cropping in one spot at least four years apart.

14) Septoria Leaf Spot

Septoria leaf spot is yet another fungal infection which is particularly common in wet, warm conditions. Dark brown spots first appear on the underside of lower leaves, growing and merging together over time. Eventually, infected leaves will drop and the plant will be severely weakened through a lack of photosynthesis.

Fast action is vital: remove all infected leaves as soon as you see them, and then spray the rest of the plant with an organic fungicide based on either copper or potassium bicarbonate.

15) Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is an instantly recognisable fungal infection which coats foliage and stems with a white dusty mould. If left untreated, the sun-starved leaves will yellow and drop. If you catch the problem early enough, pick off and destroy all the affected leaves, and then spray plants weekly with a mixture of one part milk to five parts of water for as long as the mildew persists.

16) Nutrient Deficiencies

Lastly, nutrient deficiencies afflict tomatoes more severely than most other crops. The symptoms vary, but in general foliage will become yellow, pale, or even translucent, and in extreme cases the plant will wither and die.

While a good organic tomato feed is an effective emergency solution, effective soil management using plenty of added organic matter is the best way to prevent the problem occurring in the first place.

Tomatoes are an extremely rewarding fruit to grow, but the path to that sublime flavour has its fair share of pitfalls. However, if you create the best growing conditions you can and pounce on any problems as soon they arise, you'll soon be enjoying fruit that's better than anything on the supermarket shelves.

Recent blog posts:

Kale: Much More Than a Superfood Cliche

Author: The Seed Collection Pty Ltd Date Posted: 26 March 2021

Kale is nutritious, versatile and easy to grow. What's more, homegrown offers vastly better taste and texture than the coarse, bitter leaves too often found in stores. This article gives a guide to growing, harvesting, and using kale to enjoy it.

Armyworms: Preventing and Controlling Their Damage

Author: The Seed Collection Pty Ltd Date Posted: 18 March 2021

Armyworms are a group of caterpillar species which can lay waste to a garden. Although they prefer to feed on grasses and grains, any leafy plant is at risk if there's a serious infestation. This article explains the damage these bugs can do.

Compost Tea: Thrifty, Easy, and Great for Your Plants

Author: The Seed Collection Pty Ltd Date Posted: 11 March 2021

Compost tea is a thrifty way of recycling weeds and other garden waste, turning them into a nutrient-rich liquid fertiliser for your plants. This article explains how to make it and how to use it effectively.

Garden Tips- March 2021

Author: The Seed Collection Pty Ltd Date Posted: 1 March 2021

As the season turns to autumn and we look back on a successful summer of growing, it's time to think to the future and get your garden ready for the cooler weather ahead.

Plant-Parasitic Nematodes

Author: The Seed Collection Pty Ltd Date Posted: 28 February 2021

Nematodes are class of tiny worm-like creatures which are present in most soils. While some species are allies in the fight against pests, other species cause problems of their own. This article explains why and gives tips on reducing the damage.


Tomatoes are heavy feeders and need to be fertilized regularly if you aren't using a pre-fertilized potting soil.   Most potting soils contain very few of the nutrients your plants require to grow and be healthy, so you will need to add those nutrients to the soil or supplement the nutrients already present if your mix is heavy on compost. You have many fertilizers to choose from, but some good options are an all-purpose, organic slow-release fertilizer or one designed especially for growing tomatoes or vegetables, which you can mix into potting soil. In addition, you might consider adding a diluted fish emulsion/seaweed liquid once every week or two, or calcium, either in the form of lime or liquid calcium. Black areas at the bottom end of a tomato indicates the fruit could be suffering from blossom end rot, which can be caused by irregular watering and/or a lack of calcium in the soil.

Watch the video: Common tomato plant problems