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Tomato Blossoms But No Fruit? Here’s What You Should Know

Tomato Blossoms But No Fruit Here's What You Should Know

Blossoming tomatoes mean a promising harvest, right? But what happens if there aren’t any fruits growing?

If you’re stumped for answers, we’ve got the answers right here! We’ve listed several possible causes and ways to prevent them from recurring. 

Without further ado, let’s begin!

What is blossom drop?

blossom drop
Image: Santa Fe Extension Master Gardeners

Blossom drop is a common condition in fruit-bearing vegetables such as tomatoes when they bloom and eventually dry up and die off without setting any fruit. 

It can be caused by abiotic or biotic factors, making it hard for pollination to occur, even to the most healthy-looking tomato plants. 

What causes blossom drop?

Blossom Drop Causes
Image: Gardenerd

Blossom drop is the result of poor pollination caused by abiotic stressors, which are non-living factors.

These include temperature, humidity, water, light, wind, and nutrition, or biotic stressors, which are living factors such as pests, diseases, and heavy fruits.

Let’s discuss each factor in more detail below!

1. Too high or low temperatures

Too high or low temperatures
Image: Tagawa Gardens

Tomato plants have quite a reputation for being fussy to grow. While there are a couple of gardeners that can produce healthy yields without a hitch, there remain a handful who are at their wit’s end and still trying.

When growing tomato plants, it’s important to be cautious of the temperature to be able to produce optimal yields.

TemperatureEffect on yields
Above 85°F or 29°CFewer yields
70 to 85°F or 21 to 29°CIdeal for pollination and fruit-bearing
Below 55°F or 12°CMisshapen or cat faced yields
Below 33°F or 0°CBarely any yields
Susceptible to frost and death

The ideal daytime temperature for the best pollination and fruit-bearing is anywhere from 70 to 85°F or 21 to 29°C. 

If daytime temperatures rise above 85°F or 29°C, your tomato plant will start getting stressed out. At this point, your tomato plant’s main goal is survival, which will cause it to produce fewer yields to conserve energy and resources.

Too much heat will also negatively affect the pollen in your flowers, causing them to become too sticky which pollinators aren’t particularly fond of. As a result, there’ll be little to no pollinating action.

The same thing can be said if the nighttime temperature’s high is only 70°F or 21°C and drops below 55°F or 12°C. When this happens, you can expect your poor yields, often misshapen or cat faced.

While your tomato plant can survive temperatures as low as 33°F or 0°C, it most likely won’t be able to bear any fruits at all. Your plant will also be susceptible to frost and death.

Too high or low temperatures
Image: Archute

Even then, it’s important to note that the temperature tolerance of your tomato plant will depend on its variety. There are a couple that can withstand cold or heat hardiness.

Having mentioned that, be sure to plant tomato varieties that can withstand the environmental conditions of your area.

2. Too little or much water

Too little or much water
Image: Gardening Channel

Did you know that tomatoes are made up of 95% water? As a result, tomato plants need to stay hydrated to be able to properly develop and produce healthy fruits.

They also have a pretty extensive root system, so it makes sense to give them a ton of water, right?

This may be true, but you need to be able to recognize signs that your tomato plant has had enough or too little water.

If you’re the type of gardener who waters your plants on a set schedule, say every Tuesday and Thursday for a couple of minutes straight, that’s not the right way to do it, unfortunately. 

Too little or much water
Image: Daily Express

Tomatoes need about 1 to 3 inches of water weekly. It’s your job to discern how much water it needs each day depending on your plant’s well-being and its environmental conditions. 

There’ll be days wherein rainfall will be able to compensate for this, watering your tomato plant just enough that it may not need any additional watering for the next few days.

There’ll also be relatively dry days, particularly in the summertime, wherein your tomato will be a lot more thirsty than usual. This is a sign to give it a bit more water than usual.

You’ll also want to avoid shallow watering which is another term for underwatering. Similar to overwatering, this gives your plant additional stress that could affect its ability to develop and pollinate properly.

3. Too little or much fertilizer or nitrogen

Too little or much fertilizer or nitrogen
Image: Plantophiles

Let’s face it – we all want to harvest a ton of juicy and beefy tomatoes. As a result, we add a little more fertilizer than we think is necessary to boost our chances of a hearty yield.

While fertilizers are one of the best ways to improve your tomato plant’s health, it’s important to follow the application instructions on the packaging. 

This means that you should only give what your tomato plant needs. While we know you mean well, sometimes too much of a good thing becomes an issue. 

Aside from that, you can’t skimp out on essential nutrients, especially when your tomato plant is in its fruit-bearing stage.

Too little or much fertilizer or nitrogen

Improper fertilizing, whether too much or too little, can cause a variety of problems. One of the most common is an imbalance of nutrients and minerals.

This often causes tomato plants to develop a ton of leaves but you won’t be able to see any fruits.

Now, you may be wondering, “Isn’t this a good sign that my tomato plant will eventually grow flowers and blossom?”

Sorry to burst your bubble, but your tomato plant will just end up using the majority of its energy towards growing more foliage. As a result, it won’t have any power left to grow flowers and produce fruits.

4. Too much wind

Too much wind
Image: Gardening Mentor

Soft bouts of wind help act as vectors and help flowers get pollinated. However, it’s difficult to control how strong the wind currents are. 

Too much wind can cause physical damage to your tomato plant’s delicate little flowers and even dry it up.

If not that, windy weather can make it difficult for pollinators to travel to your tomato plant, significantly reducing the amount of bee activity. 

As a result, your yellow flowers will remain unpollinated and eventually dry up and die off.

5. Poor nutrition

Poor nutrition
Image: HGTV

When growing any kind of vegetable or fruit-bearing plant, remember that once their health declines, they’ll transition into survival mode.

This essentially means that they’ll use up all of their energy and power into keeping themselves alive. Therefore, flowering and pollination are at the bottom of its agenda.

From improper watering to fertilizing, these are all sources of stress that are hindering your tomato plant from developing any further.

6. Relative humidity

Relative humidity
Image: AllThatGrows

When growing tomatoes, keep a close eye on what the humidity is like in your area. The optimal range should be anywhere from 40% to 70%. 

If the humidity is too high, it’ll cause the pollen to be too sticky. As a result, it’ll clump together, making it difficult for pollinators to work with.

Aside from that, a humid environment also doubles as a welcome sign for fungal growth. Knowing how difficult it is to grow tomatoes, uninvited fungal growth is the last thing you want to happen.

Meanwhile, if the humidity is too low, it’ll cause the pollen to become too dry, causing it to flake off. This, also, is a nightmare to work with according to our pollinator friends.

This also means bad news for anyone nearby who has pollen allergies. Hence, you’ll want to address the humidity levels ASAP.

7. Insufficient sunlight

Insufficient sunlight
Image: Safer Brand

Fun fact: Tomatoes need anywhere from 6 to 8 full hours of sunlight daily to develop flowers and produce fruit.

Insufficient sunlight will cause several problems with your tomato plant. Though the most common one would be that it’ll grow too much foliage with little to no flowers or fruits. 

This is because tomato plants, just like any other fruit or vegetable-bearing plant, get energy from the sun. Without it, they won’t have enough vitality for fruit production.

It’s kind of like how humans can’t function well without sleep. You can’t expect yourself to be able to give your all when you’re running on 0 hours of sleep, right?

What are other causes of tomato blossoms but no fruit?

other causes of tomato blossoms but no fruit

Other causes of tomato blossom drop are pests, diseases, and even stress from a heavy fruit set. While these are relatively uncommon, they can happen. 

Read on as we dabble a bit into how each can result in tomato blossom drop.

1. Pests

Image: Mineopa Orchards

One of the main biotic causes of stress for tomato plants are pests, from aphids to caterpillars, insects of any shape and size can easily wreak havoc on your tomato plant overnight. 

When tomato plants are dealing with pests, they’re too busy trying to stay alive to be producing flowers and fruits. Ultimately, preventing them from pollinating.

Early infestations are relatively simple to handle, so rest assured that your tomato plant can easily bounce back from this. 

However, the same cannot be said for larger infestations, unfortunately. As a result, prevention is the best solution.

2. Diseases

Image: Garden Design

Diseases are another giant stressor for tomato plants, especially ones that aren’t easily noticeable from the outside, prolonging your plant’s suffering. 

These include anything under the sun, from something as common as a fungal infection to diseases as serious as bacterial wilt.

The moment your tomato plant gets an infection, it’ll revert all of its energy into trying to fight it off. 

In fact, they’ll go as far as to stop blossoming flowers altogether, especially in more severe infections.

3. Heavy fruit set and overproduction

Heavy fruit set and overproduction
Image: Homestead Acres

Any gardener would think they’ve won the tomato harvest lottery if they were able to collect a ton of plump and juicy fruit sets. While this may appear like a blessing from the garden gods may not be a good sign. 

If you’ve noticed that your first set of tomato yields are abnormally large, this is probably because your plant doesn’t have enough energy.

As a result, it’s pouring all of its power into making ginormous fruits and ignoring the growing flowers. 

How do I prevent blossom drop?

prevent blossom drop
Image: Wikimedia Commons

If you’ve gone through a season of blossom drop, there’s no need to fret! Luckily, you can prevent it from recurring the following season once you’ve addressed the problem.

We’ve listed a couple of ways that you can prevent blossom drop, from teaching you new tricks to helping you change your gardening routine. 

1. Water evenly and deeply.

Water evenly and deeply
Image: Gardening Chores

When we say “water evenly and deeply” it means just that – water consistently and enough so that at least the first 8 inches from the top of the soil is soaked.

Watering consistently prevents your tomato plant from getting stressed out in between waterings. Though, you’ll need to be able to discern when your tomato plant is doing fine and when it’s thirstier than normal.

It’s worth remembering that tomatoes are 95% water, so their soil needs to be constantly moist, but not wet.

Meanwhile, watering deeply means giving enough water so that most of the soil gets wet. This is essential as tomato plants are known to have extensive root systems, sometimes getting as long as 5 feet or 60 inches. 

Water evenly and deeply
Image: Backyard Boss

As for frequency, watering on a strict schedule, say every Monday and Wednesday, is a big no-no. This is because you’re not taking into account the state of your tomato plant. 

A general rule of thumb is to give your tomato plant about 1 to 3 inches of water weekly. Though this will still vary depending on the environmental conditions such as the amount of rainfall your plant received and temporal conditions.

For example, you’ve been experiencing consistent rainfall for the past week. As a result, you don’t need to water your tomato plant anymore.

Come summertime, you may notice that your tomato plant is a lot thirstier than usual. In this case, you may give it more than 3 inches of water each week, especially as temperatures rise.

2. Control your fertilizer use.

Control your fertilizer use
Image: The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

Before adding nutrient or mineral-specific fertilizers to your tomatoes, you’ll want to get a soil test done first and pinpoint the exact deficiencies that need to be addressed. 

It’s important to be extra sure of what nutrients or minerals need to be added because too much of the wrong thing could cause serious harm to your tomato plant.

While we understand that you only want what’s best for your tomato plant, you can’t add more than the prescribed dosage.

A wrong move could cause nutrient and mineral imbalances that can be tricky to fix, often resulting in blossom drop. 

Hence, you mustn’t go too hard on your fertilizer. Instead, we recommend using a nitrogen-based fertilizer first, especially during your tomato plant’s early growth stages.

This is because tomato plants are heavy feeders, which means they’ll need a ton of nitrogen to help in their chlorophyll production and photosynthesis.

Control your fertilizer use
Image: Grower Today

If you’re not one for store-bought fertilizers, several animal-based alternatives that are high in nitrogen, too. These include:

  • Blood meal
  • Poultry or feather meal
  • Fish meal
  • Kelp meal
  • Bone meal
  • Shrimp meal
  • Crab meal

Other than that, you can add composted manure and till it several inches into the soil. This way, your tomato plant’s underground root system gets a hefty serving of much-needed nitrogen.

3. Practice crop rotation.

Practice crop rotation
Image: Plants Spark Joy

Another way to prevent blossom drop is to regularly rotate the crops that are grown in a single space. 

Just as the name suggests, crop rotation entails growing different plants that aren’t from the same family.

Rotating your crops helps allow your soil to recover and replenish all of the minerals and nutrients that were used up. 

During this time, your soil has the chance to increase fertility and improve its structure. Over time, that’ll help prevent soil erosion. 

Practice crop rotation
Image: Soil Yourself

Apart from that, crop rotation prevents the build-up and spread of soil-borne diseases and pests. 

This is because insects are known to attack plants that are similar to one another. The same can be said for diseases as they typically host plants that are similar to one another, too.

Since tomatoes are part of the nightshade family or Solanaceae, you must grow crops that are from another major plant family after a year or two. 

Plant familyCrop members
Tomato family• Tomato
• Eggplant
• Pepper
• Potato 

Beans are great to grow after your tomatoes primarily because they’re soil builders. This means that they work wonders at enriching the soil and replenishing nitrogen levels.

Plant familyCrop members
Bean family• Bean
• Pea
• Clover

After planting beans, you can now grow light feeders. These crops only take a small amount of nutrients and minerals from the soil.

This way, you can still make use of your plot of land without severely depleting your soil of fertility. By growing light feeders, your soil can still recover.

Here are a couple of light feeder crops that you can grow after your beans:

Plant familyCrop members
Onion family• Onion
• Leeks
• Shallot
• Garlic 
Carrot family*• Carrot
• Parsley
• Dill
• Fennel
• Celery
• Coriander
• Anise 

*Note: The carrot family is composed of light to medium feeders

If your soil appears to be fertile after planting beans, you can opt to skip growing light feeders and head on straight to growing heavy feeders.

You can go for another year of tomatoes or grow other heavy feeder crops such as these:

Plant familyCrop members
Lettuce family• Lettuce
• Chicory
• Artichoke
• Endive 
Cabbage family• Cabbage
• Collard
• Radish
• Kale
• Cauliflower
• Broccoli
• Cress
• Brussel sprout
• Turnip
Squash family• Squash
• Cucumber
• Melon
• Watermelon
• Pumpkin
Beet family• Beet
• Swiss chard
• Spinach

4. Promote pollination.

Promote pollination
Image: The Naked Scientists

Another reason your blossoms are dropping is there’s poor pollination in the area. This could mean that there’s very limited pollinator activity, so your flowers are left unpollinated.

To ensure pollination, you’ll want to attract pollinators, from bees to hummingbirds into your garden. Thankfully, this can easily be done by growing nectar-rich flowers and herbs alongside your crops. 

Here are a couple of their favorites according to our pollinator friends:

• Sunflowers
• Marigolds
• Cosmos
• Borage
• Coneflower
• Hyacinth
• Bee balm
• White wild indigo
• Lavender
• Basil
• Oregano
• Fennel
• Sage
• Mint
• Thyme
• Rosemary
• Parsley
Promote pollination
Image: The Dallas Garden School

Another plus is that some flowers and herbs deter pests and diseases. For example, the marigold is known for keeping whiteflies away, while sunflowers repel aphids.

In case you didn’t know, pollinators are attracted to flowers that have bright white, yellow, blue, and violet colors. They also love the fresh and pleasant smells these flowers emit. 

If you want to promote pollination in your garden, steer clear of anything that smells like citronella or lemon. These scents are too strong and unpleasant for pollinators.

Other than that, limit the use of any kind of insecticide, herbicide, rodenticide, fungicide, pesticide, and any other -cide you can think of. 

5. Grow varieties that match your climate.

Grow varieties that match your climate

When growing tomatoes, or any type of crop for that matter, you need to take into consideration its match to your climate.

This means ensuring that the environmental growing requirements of your chosen tomato plant variety are suitable for where you’re going to plant it.

Else, your tomato will experience a lot of temperature stress and struggle to develop properly. When this happens, they’ll only strive to survive and not produce any flowers or fruits.

Grow varieties that match your climate
Image: Agri learner

Here are a couple of heat and cold-tolerant varieties to give you an idea of what types of tomatoes you can plant depending on the weather you have.

Warm-climate varietiesCool-climate varieties
• Heatmaster
• Solar fire
• Summer set
• Phoenix 
• Beef buck
• Early girl
• Rawan
• Arkansas traveler
• Celebrity
• Chadwick cherry
• Equinox
• Glacier
• Bush beefsteak
• Galina’s 
• Gregori’s Altai
• Manitoba 
• Amish gold
• Black krim
• Jetsetter 
• Japanese oxheart
• Black prince
• Anna Russian

6. Ensure your plants are healthy.

Ensure your plants are healthy
Image: New Atlas

One of the best ways to reduce the likelihood of your tomato plants developing blossom drop is to ensure that they’re healthy from the moment they’re planted into the ground until they’re ready to be removed for the season.

Keeping your plants healthy alleviates a ton of risk as far as stress is concerned. Just like how stress negatively affects our lives, the same thing can be said for tomato plants.

To do so, you’ll want to adopt good gardening practices early on. This includes doing regular check-ups on the state of all of your plants.

Ensure your plants are healthy
Image: NZ Herald

Do a quick inspection of how your fruits are doing. 

Are there any unusual markings or weird bites that weren’t there before? Are they growing abnormally?

Take a look at the state of your leaves, too. 

Are they turning yellow or brown? Are the sides curling? Notice any bites or markings from pests?

While you’re at it, don’t leave your soil unchecked either. You can use a chopstick to puncture through the soil, about 5 to 10 inches deep, to see whether it’s dry or compacted.

Ensure your plants are healthy
Image: Forbes

Aside from that, you’ll want to keep the premises clean at all times. Wash your equipment and tools before and after use to prevent the transfer of bacteria or fungi.

In the same way, tidy up after you’ve created a mess. We know you’ve been putting it off, but it’s better to get the job done and out of the way, right?

7. Address the humidity.

Address the humidity
Image: Safer Brand

For tomato plants to be able to produce the best flowers and pollen, the humidity range needs to be anywhere from 40% to 70%. 

Any more than this and the pollen will begin to turn sticky and clump together. If humidity levels are low, the pollen will dry out and simply fall off.

Poor humidity levels also make your tomato plant more vulnerable to catching bacterial diseases and fungal growth. An infestation of either could cause chaos in your entire garden.

Thankfully, addressing humidity can be quite an easy fix. 

Address the humidity
Image: It’s My Sustainable Life

For low levels of humidity, you can raise it by carefully overwatering your tomato plant’s foliage. That’ll help cool down your tomato plant. 

Keep in mind that this should only be done during the day. This is because there’s enough heat during the day to dry off any excess water before nightfall.

If your humidity levels are high, on the other hand, you’ll want to increase air circulation. You can do so by evenly spacing your plants to promote ventilation.

You can also improve the drainage of your floors to reduce the standing water. In case you didn’t know, any water that’s sitting out is continuously evaporating, which increases humidity in the area.

8. Provide shade.

Provide shade
Image: Tunnel Vision Hoops

If you live in a warmer climate, you’ll know how tricky it is to grow tomatoes. We reckon you check the local weather forecast every now and then to see how your tomato plants will hold up. 

Tomatoes thrive in temperatures anywhere from 70 to 85°F or 21 to 29°C. Any more than this and you can expect fewer yields or none at all.

TemperatureEffect on yields
Above 85°F or 29°CFewer yields
70 to 85°F or 21 to 29°CIdeal for pollination and fruit-bearing

To prevent your tomato plant from suffering from heat stress, you can set up shade to block direct sunlight, especially during peak hours.

If your tomato plant is in a pot and relatively easy to move, you can simply relocate it to an area that receives more shade.

Provide shade
Image: Kouboo

Otherwise, you may need to install a canopy tent. If you’re willing to invest a couple of bucks, there are a variety of plant shade covers available in gardening and hardware stores.

However, if you’re on a tight budget and don’t mind getting a bit creative, you can use old cloth, umbrellas, or even tarpaulins to create a hand-made cover.

FAQs on Tomato Blossom Drop

Can I provide an immediate treatment to blossom drop in tomatoes?

There’s no fast-acting treatment to blossom drop in tomatoes. Fixing blossom drop will depend on how well and fast you address the source of the problem.

What temperatures cause blossom drop in tomatoes?

Temperatures above 85°F or 29°C and below 55°F or 12°C can cause blossom drop in tomatoes. Poor temperatures can affect the quality of the pollen, either making it sticky or dry.

Is blossom drop preventable?

Blossom drop is completely preventable as long as your tomato plant is healthy and has  ideal environmental conditions.

Can I force a tomato flower to bloom?

It’s possible to boost flower production and blossoming by increasing the amount of phosphorus in the soil. 

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