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Tomato Flowers Falling Off: 11 Causes and Fixes

How to Fix Tomato Flowers Falling Off

Tomato flowers falling off? Yes, that can get a little worrying especially when you’re trying for an abundant harvest.

Just like how the flowers dropped, our jaws dropped too when we saw the carnage. 

We’ve made sure to list the possible reasons where we went wrong, so that you don’t have to have the same heartbreak we went through!

Why are my tomato flowers falling off?

Pollination Issues

Pollination Issues
Image by GFL Outdoors –
The Fix: Promote Pollination

Tomatoes have fascinating flower structures to aid self-pollination. But sometimes, they face challenges. 

One of the more evident results is the occurrence of flowers dropping and fewer fruits. This is because problems arise when pollen fails to transfer properly within the same flower. 

Harsh weather, like extreme heat or humidity, can easily disrupt pollination. Plus, low bee activity and limited wind movement can also hinder pollen transfer between flowers. 

Besides these, cultivation practices and the environment play a role too. For example, crowded plants block air circulation and hinder pollen from reaching its destination. 

When this happens, there is a lack of pollinators. Also, their absence can be due to habitat loss or chemicals, affecting the entire pollination success.

How To Fix: Promote Pollination

Ease of InstallationModerate ●●○○○
Maintenance LevelLow
Estimated CostsPaint brush
Possible RisksNone

How to Promote Pollination
1. Gently shake or tap the main stem and branches of your tomato plants.
This simple action aids in the transfer of pollen, enhancing the pollination process. Alternatively, you could use a small brush to spread pollen from one flower to another.
2. Attract pollinators.
Plant flowers that are favored by these pollinators. Research and select varieties that they are naturally drawn to.
Refrain from using pesticides, especially during the flowering period. Pesticides can potentially deter pollinators from visiting and interacting with the flowers.

Temperature Extremes

Temperature Extremes
Image by Homes & Gardens
The Fix: Manage Temperatures

Tomatoes are warm-season plants. They thrive within a specific temperature range that supports their growth and reproductive success. 

However, extreme temperatures can pose challenges. These can quickly and profoundly affect their flowering and fruit-setting abilities.

When temperatures soar above 90 F, tomato flowers face difficulties in successful pollination. The scorching heat discourages essential pollinators like bees from transferring pollen among flowers. 

This leads to hindered fruit formation and flower drop, as pollination is impeded. Plus, the plant may prioritize its survival over flower development during extreme heat.

On the other hand, unseasonably low temperatures below 50 F present another challenge for tomato flowers. These chilly conditions can cause flowers to fall as a protective measure against unfavorable weather. 

Plus, low temperatures may hinder the necessary biochemical processes for fruit set. This is due to restricted enzyme activity within the plant.

How To Fix: Manage Temperatures

Ease of InstallationModerate ●●○○○
Maintenance LevelLow
Estimated CostsShade cloth and other covers
Possible RisksNone

How to Manage Temperatures
1. Provide protection during hot days.
Provide shade for your plants on hot days using row covers. These covers can help regulate the temperature and protect your plants from excessive heat.
Utilize a shade cloth to shield plants from intense sunlight. Alternatively, strategically position taller plants to provide natural shade to the ones that are more sensitive to heat.
2. Protect plants during cold days.
Cover them with frost blankets or cloth, especially during colder nights. This protective layer acts as insulation against chilly temperatures.
Opt for containers or raised beds when planting tomatoes. These options provide improved control over the surrounding temperature, safeguarding your plants from extreme cold.
3. Regulate soil temperature.
Apply mulch around the base of your tomato plants. This aids in maintaining consistent soil temperatures and also shields the plant roots from extreme temperature fluctuations.
4. Plant strategically.
Wait until after the last frost date in spring before planting tomatoes. This precaution prevents exposing them to potentially damaging cold temperatures and ensures a healthier start to their growth.

Humidity Imbalance

Humidity Imbalance
Image by Seipasa

The balance of humidity is crucial for tomato flowers to thrive. Tomatoes prefer moderate humidity levels for their best pollination and fruit development. 

If the humidity is too high or too low, it can disrupt the delicate flower development. As a result, unwanted outcomes like flowers dropping can be seen.

In humid regions, the air can get too moist. This makes it difficult for pollen to transfer effectively. As a result, this can lead to unsuccessful fertilization and premature dropping of tomato flowers. 

High humidity can also worsen issues with fungal pathogens. It has the negative impact of affecting flower health and lifespan.

Conversely, low humidity is also harmful to flowers. When the air lacks moisture, the flowers dry out and become prone to falling off prematurely. 

This can significantly reduce the overall fruit set and harvest yield.

The Fix: Ensure Airflow
Ease of InstallationModerate ●●○○○
Maintenance LevelLow
Estimated CostsNone
Possible RisksOver pruning

How to Ensure Airflow
1. Increase air circulation. 
Adequately space your tomato plants to ensure proper air circulation. This moderate installation effort can significantly help in maintaining appropriate humidity levels.
Avoid overcrowding your plants, as this can hinder air movement and contribute to humidity-related problems.
2. Provide correct watering techniques.
Water your plants at the base, directing the water to the soil. This practice prevents the foliage from getting wet, which in turn reduces humidity levels around the leaves.
Consider the use of fans or natural air currents, especially in greenhouses or indoor growing areas. These methods enhance ventilation and contribute to humidity balance without incurring high costs.
3. Select resistant varieties.
Go for tomato varieties known for their resistance to humidity-related issues. These types are better equipped to handle elevated moisture levels without significant negative effects.
4. Prune to control humidity.
Routinely prune the lower leaves of your tomato plants. This practice prevents excessive moisture retention and helps curb the growth of fungi due to high humidity levels.


Image by Bonnie Plants

In a crowded tomato patch, plants vie for sunlight, water, and nutrients, leading to natural competition. This stress limits their growth potential. 

The consequence? Slower growth, weaker plants, and fewer flowers. 

Moreover, overcrowded tomatoes prioritize survival, sometimes sacrificing flower and fruit production. This results in premature flower loss and affects fruit development as the plant conserves energy for itself.

Unfortunately, the problems don’t end there. Increased humidity caused by overcrowding creates an ideal environment for fungal diseases. 

Such diseases easily spread among tightly spaced plants, causing more stress and reducing fruit yield from the plants.

The Fix: Thin Out Excess Plants
Ease of InstallationModerate ●●○○○
Maintenance LevelLow
Estimated CostsNone
Possible RisksNone

How to Thin Out Excess Plants
1. Manage overcrowding.
Space your tomato plants according to the recommended distances mentioned on seed packets or plant labels. This practice ensures each plant has adequate room for growth.
During the initial growth stages, thin out excess seedlings. This creates sufficient space for the healthy development of the remaining plants.
2. Consider container gardening.
Determine the number of plants based on the container’s size and the specific tomato variety you’re growing. Enhance air circulation and nutrient distribution among the remaining fruiting stems by pruning away excess branches and suckers.
3. Use supports through trellises or stakes.
Stake or trellis your tomato plants. This method helps keep the plants upright and organized, reducing the risk of overcrowding.

Watering Issues

Watering Issues
Image by Tomato Bible

Water is incredibly important for tomato plants’ well-being and growth. Striking the right balance in providing them with sufficient moisture is crucial. 

What happens when tomato plants don’t receive enough water? Their vital processes suffer, and healthy flowers may drop prematurely before bearing fruit.

Underwatering deprives the plants of essential hydration needed for proper growth. This affects nutrient uptake and results in weak flowers that drop too soon.

On the other hand, overwatering can also harm tomato plants. When the soil becomes too wet, the roots can’t access enough oxygen, and nutrient absorption is hindered. 

When this happens, the plant weakens. Weak plants are more susceptible to stress that negatively affects flower development. 

Consequently, flowers may not reach their full potential and may drop prematurely.

The Fix: Water Plants Consistently
Ease of InstallationModerate ●●○○○
Maintenance LevelModerate
Estimated CostsNone
Possible RisksOverwatering, underwatering

How to Water Plants Consistently
1. Create a watering schedule.
Maintain a consistent watering schedule for your tomato plants. This regularity helps avoid abrupt changes in moisture levels.
Steer clear of extreme fluctuations in watering frequency and amount.
2. Practice good watering techniques.
Water deeply, focusing on the root zone. This approach guarantees thorough soil moistening without leading to waterlogging.
Apply mulch around the base of the plants. Mulching serves to retain soil moisture and reduce water evaporation from the soil surface.
3. Monitor and adjust.
Keep a close watch on soil moisture and make necessary adjustments based on conditions and plant requirements:
Regularly check the moisture level of the soil. This step helps you gauge if the plants are receiving adequate water.
Modify your watering routine in response to weather changes and the specific needs of your plants.
4. Consider drip irrigation.
Evaluate the option of setting up a drip irrigation system. This system offers accurate water delivery to the root zone, promoting efficient water usage.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Nutrient Deficiencies
Image by Deep Green Permaculture

Nutrient deficiencies play a crucial role in impacting tomato plant growth. They directly affect both flower development and fruit formation. 

To achieve optimal growth and reproduction, a well-balanced supply of essential nutrients is necessary. But how can we ensure this balance?

Tomatoes depend on three primary macronutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. If any of these are insufficient, it can hinder flower formation, resulting in premature flower drop. 

Take nitrogen, for example; when lacking, it can cause leaves to turn pale green or yellowish, disrupting flower development. Quite unfortunate, right?

As for phosphorus deficiency, it manifests as dark green leaves with a purplish hue and stunted growth. This nutrient is vital for energy transfer and essential components needed for proper flower development.

A shortage of phosphorus can compromise the plant’s ability to initiate and maintain flower development. This can lead to increasing the risk of flower drop.

If the plant lacks potassium, the edges of its leaves may start yellowing. It can eventually lead to browning and necrosis of leaf tissue. 

Potassium is vital for enzyme activation, and its inadequacy can negatively impact various plant processes. These include reproductive functions and flower development.

Moreover, micronutrients such as iron, magnesium, calcium, and others also contribute to proper flower development. Deficiencies in these micronutrients can upset the overall nutrient balance and indirectly contribute to flower drop.

The Fix: Apply Balanced Fertilizers
Ease of InstallationModerate ●●○○○
Maintenance LevelModerate
Estimated CostsFertilizers, applicators as needed
Possible RisksOver fertilizing

How to Apply Balanced Fertilizers
1. Test the soil for precision.
If feasible, conduct a soil test to pinpoint specific nutrient deficiencies in your soil. This test will guide you in making targeted amendments to the soil composition.
2. Use micronutrient foliar sprays for imbalances.
Apply foliar sprays containing micronutrients to address observed deficiencies. These sprays can provide direct nutrient supplementation to the plants’ foliage.
3. Address macronutrient issues.
Utilize a balanced fertilizer specially formulated for tomatoes. Stick to the recommended application rates mentioned on the product label.
Prioritize the use of organic fertilizers, compost, or well-rotted manure. These options provide essential nutrients gradually to the plants.
4. Continuously monitor and adjust.
Throughout the growing season, ensure plant health and nutrient balance.
Regularly monitor the health and development of your plants. Look for any signs of nutrient deficiencies or excesses.
Adjust the fertilization regimen as necessary based on the observed plant health and any changes in nutrient requirements.

Pest and Disease

Pest and Disease
Image by Gardening Channel

Pests like thrips and aphids pose a concern for tomato flowers. They directly feed on delicate plant structures, causing harm to their reproductive organs.

Similarly, diseases can also pressure tomato plants and their flowers. One such disease is the most common in tomatoes, which is blossom end rot.

This disorder manifests as dark, leathery lesions at the base of the fruit. While it mainly affects the fruit, it might indicate underlying stressors impacting flower health.

When pests and diseases spread in the growing environment, tomato plants perceive them as signals to focus on defense and recovery. 

Consequently, the plant diverts energy from flower development. This leads to premature shedding of flowers before fruit setting.

The Fix: Implement Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Strategies
Ease of InstallationModerate ●●○○○
Maintenance LevelModerate
Estimated CostsBeneficial insects, companion plants
Possible RisksNone

How to Implement Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Strategies
1. Combat pests and diseases in your garden using IPM approaches.
These encompass a range of effective methods to manage pests and diseases sustainably. Consider introducing beneficial insects to your garden, or using insecticidal soaps as part of your pest control approach.
2. Act on issues immediately.
Regularly inspect your plants for any signs of pests or diseases. Promptly address any detected issues.
If you observe affected leaves or fruits, promptly remove them. This action helps contain the spread of diseases and thwarts potential pest infestations.
3. Soil Health and Garden Cleanliness:
Practice crop rotation to minimize the buildup of pests and pathogens in the soil. This strategy involves changing the location of crops each season.
Keep your garden area clean and free from debris. This reduces potential hiding spots for pests and contributes to a healthier overall garden environment.

Genetics and Variety

Genetics and Variety
Image by YouTube

Certain tomato varieties exhibit varying propensities for flower drop. This trait is influenced by their genetic makeup. 

In turn, their genetic makeup affects their reproductive behavior and fruit set. Growers must be aware of these genetic traits in different tomato varieties. 

Some cultivars display strong resistance to flower drop, resulting in consistent and abundant harvests. On the other hand, some varieties have delicate flowering patterns, leading to higher flower abortion rates.

The Fix: Pick the Right Varieties
Ease of InstallationModerate ●●○○○
Maintenance LevelLow
Estimated CostsSelected variety
Possible RisksNone

How to Pick the Right Varieties
1. Look for your desired varieties.
Go for tomato varieties that are well-suited to your specific growing conditions and climate. Conduct research to identify varieties that are naturally resistant to diseases, helping you prevent potential problems.
2. Pick the right seeds.
To ensure desirable traits in your plants, especially if you plan to save seeds, choose seeds from plants that display robust health and high productivity. This helps maintain the positive characteristics you seek.
Experiment with different tomato varieties to determine which ones thrive best in your garden environment, showcasing superior performance.
3. Document for future planning.
Keep a record of your gardening successes for future reference. Also, keep seed packets or maintain organized records of the tomato varieties that have proven successful in your garden. 
This information will be invaluable for your future planting decisions.

Stress Factors

Stress Factors
Image by Maximum Yield

Tomato plants, like sensitive organisms, can face various stress factors that impact their well-being and cause flower shedding. Have you heard of transplant shock? 

It’s a well-known stressor that occurs among young tomato seedlings. It’s when they’re moved to a new garden or larger pots. 

During this adjustment period, the plant’s growth may temporarily slow down as it tries to adapt to its new surroundings. Sometimes, the plant may divert energy away from flower production to focus on other vital growths. 

Plants may encounter stress from rough handling or harsh weather. This can affect their flowering activity temporarily as they repair and strengthen. 

Environmental changes like sudden temperature shifts or excessive sunlight can also be taxing for tomato plants. In response, they might shed flowers and redirect resources to adapt to new conditions. 

Plants have a surprising way of dealing with challenges, did you know that? Stress can actually help them cope! 

But if stress lingers or becomes too intense, it can seriously affect tomato plant productivity, including flowers and fruits.

The Fix: Address Stressors Promptly
Ease of InstallationModerate ●●○○○
Maintenance LevelModerate
Estimated CostsSupport structures
Possible RisksNone

How to Address Stressors Promptly
1. Minimize plant stressors.
Gradually acclimate seedlings to outdoor conditions before transplanting them. This gradual transition reduces the shock of the new environment.
During the transplanting process, handle the seedlings with gentle care. This minimizes physical stress on the plants.
2. Protect young plants.
Provide protection against harsh weather and extreme environments until the plants are well-established.
Maintain consistent care for the plants. Avoid sudden changes in watering, fertilizing, or environmental conditions, as these can greatly impact their health.
3. Protect tomato fruits.
Use stakes or cages to support the plants as they bear fruit. This prevents branches from bending or breaking under the weight.

Photoperiod Sensitivity

Photoperiod Sensitivity
Image by

Tomatoes’ photoperiod sensitivity is all about how they respond to the length of daylight and darkness in a day. They can be divided into two categories: short-day and long-day varieties.

Short-day tomatoes need shorter daylight periods to start flowering. This period is typically around 10 to 12 hours of daylight. 

You’ll find them more often in tropical and subtropical regions. These areas are where day length remains fairly consistent throughout the year.

On the other hand, long-day tomatoes require longer daylight periods to trigger flowering. Usually, they need around 14 to 16 hours of daylight. 

They are more common in temperate regions where day length varies significantly between seasons.

Knowing the photoperiod sensitivity of tomato varieties is vital for successful cultivation. If a variety doesn’t get the right amount of daylight, it may lead to delayed flowering or, in some cases, flower drop. 

But don’t worry! This response is natural and helps ensure optimal pollination and fruit development during the right growing season.

The Fix: Keep the Right Factors in Place
Ease of InstallationModerate ●●○○○
Maintenance LevelModerate
Estimated CostsNone
Possible RisksNone

How to Keep the Right Factors in Place
1. Pick the right variety.
Research and choose tomato varieties that are well-suited for the day-length conditions and growing season specific to your region. This ensures that the plants’ sensitivity to photoperiod is accommodated.
2. Consider growing indoor tomatoes outdoors.
Go for outdoor tomato cultivation to allow plants to follow natural daylight patterns. This helps regulate their photoperiod responses.
Avoid placing tomato plants near artificial lights or other light sources that could disturb their natural light exposure and photoperiod.
3. Manage light exposure.
Utilize blackout curtains or shades in the greenhouse to regulate the amount of light exposure. This control helps in managing the plants’ sensitivity to photoperiod.
Ensure the plants receive adequate darkness during the night. This step prevents disruption to the plant’s light-response mechanisms, which are sensitive to changes in light exposure.


Image by Sprouted Garden

Ever wondered what happens when tomato plants produce an excessive number of flowers? Well, they end up with loads of fruits! 

But guess what? That puts a strain on the poor plants, as they have to support all those developing fruits. 

You know what that means, right? The fruits might not grow too well because of limited energy and nutrients. 

Fortunately, tomato plants are smart! To deal with this issue, they conserve energy by putting their own survival first, rather than focusing on too many fruits. 

The Fix: Thin Out Fruits and Flowers
Ease of InstallationModerate ●●○○○
Maintenance LevelModerate
Estimated CostsNone
Possible RisksNone

How to Thin Out Fruits and Flowers
1. Consider natural fruit management.
Tomato plants often drop flowers naturally to control fruit production. This ensures a manageable number of fruits and allows them to receive ample nourishment for optimal growth.
2. Remove flowers regularly.
Regularly remove excess flowers or clusters of fruits. This action lightens the load on the plant, leading to a more balanced and productive outcome.
Consider hand-thinning by gently removing smaller or crowded fruits. This practice ensures that larger fruits receive the necessary nutrients and space to develop fully.
Carefully eliminate surplus suckers and non-essential branches. These parts are unnecessary for a successful harvest.
By thinning out excess fruits, you enable the remaining ones to develop with better size, flavor, and maturity.
3. Provide fruiting stems and branches.
Provide appropriate staking or trellising to prevent damage and guarantee the successful growth of the remaining fruits.

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