Tomatoes are some of the most beautiful plants to grow. I believe it’s because of the tendrils and how the tomatoes fall once they ripen.
However, it’s only a lovely sight to watch if your tomato stems grow strong enough to support the fruiting stage.
Although you can give tomatoes support as they grow to prevent breakage, it’s simpler to try and grow strong, thick stems from the seedling stage.
But how to get thick stems on tomato plants?
Giving your tomato plants enough sunlight (8 to 10 hours of sunlight) alongside nitrogen plus ensuring they get enough aeration, makes their stems thick. Your tomato stems are likely to grow thin if you deny them enough water. Adding enough nitrogen to your soil makes tomato stems stronger.
Read on for more information.
Also Check: How Long To Run Soaker Hose For Tomatoes
How to Get Thick Stems on Tomato Plants
You can get thick stems on tomato plants by:
- Providing your Tomatoes with sufficient Sunlight
Tomatoes need about 8-10 hours of daylight as they grow. Farmers, especially beginners, avoid the sun for fear of scorched harvest. Although sunlight exposure can lessen your harvest quality, it’s not a guaranteed occurrence.
Therefore, you’ll have to place your plants outside if you don’t want spindly stems.
If you’ve grown tomatoes alongside other plants for support, you’ll need to prune these plants to open up tomatoes to the sun.
Sunlight allows the tomato plant to grow better root systems that, in turn, lead to the development of sturdier stems as the leaves develop.
- Try not to Overcrowd your Seedlings
As you know, tomatoes need support from other plants as they grow. Overcrowding seedlings together forces the tomato plants to intertwine with each other.
This is bad because their stems dont have the strength to hold too many plants at once. It causes a strain, therefore, weakening the stems.
Crowded planting also means the tomato plants must fight for resources like water, sunlight, and nutrients.
It’s possible that multiple plants may not consume these resources and end up dying.
To avoid this, provide good inches (1-3 feet) between one tomato plant and the next. You can also plant one tomato seedling and another different plant and interchange in that order.
If you’re worried that the same might happen if you grow tomatoes with other plants, ease your mind.
You’re advised to grow tomatoes alongside other plants because they offer different nutrients. However, intercropping shouldn’t mean overcrowding. So, if you’re using containers, use one container for one tomato seedling.
- Give your Plants Good Nutrition
Vigorous plants are developed from the nutrients you provide. Tomatoes, just like other plants, require good nutrition to grow stronger. The essential nutrient, in this case, is nitrogen.
Although they can get nitrogen from the soil, the most effective way to ensure it’s in an appropriate amount is by adding nitrogen-rich fertilizer.
You can use both slow-release fertilizer and liquid fertilizer. It depends on your preference.
However, slow-release is preferred because it makes sense economically and can be considered the ‘gift that keeps on giving.’
- Keep your Tomato Plants Well-Aerated
You might be wondering why we mention good aeration when the tomatoes are outside. The common thought is that they must be aerated out in the open.
That’s true because you’ve planted your tomatoes outside; hence, they are aerated. However, to get thick tomato stems, the aeration required is from the soil to get thick tomato stems.
Sometimes roots are chocked with compact soils that don’t allow them to travel and look for nutrients and water.
This restriction causes tomato plants to rot from within. Therefore, when we say ‘provide good aeration,’ it means tilling your soil to expose both soil and roots to the sun and air for growth.
If you’re unsure how often you’ll need to till your land, get your soil tested. The soil texture test tells you the particle mark-up, whether it’s dense or sparse.
- Water your Tomato Plants
Like standing up more straight after a glass of fresh water when you were perched, tomato stems thrive when watered adequately.
Therefore, water your tomatoes as soon as you notice they need water. Place your finger 1-2 inches in the soil to check whether it’s dry and in need of watering if you aren’t sure.
Why Are My Tomato Stems So Thin?
Your stems are growing thin because of a lack of sufficient water. So, keep your tomato plants well hydrated to ensure that the stems are getting enough water. Even so, how much water you give them depends on where you have planted.
Tomatoes growing directly on the ground may need more water than those grown in indoors as they’re more exposed to direct sunlight. Here’s what I mean. Every day, be sure to water your tomato plants if they’re growing directly on the ground.
Go slow on those growing on tins (indoors) as they may not have too much sunlight to dry the water. Therefore, only water those indoors when you notice that the top layer of the tin’s soil is dry to your finger’s touch
Target the roots when watering, not the leaves.
How Do I Make my Tomato Plants Stronger?
You can make your tomato plants stronger by:
- Starting to Expose your Tomato Plant to Weather Elements from the Seedling Stage
Gradually put your seedlings out in the sun, wind, and rain while they’re still seedlings. Like humans, plants adapt to suit the environment they find themselves in. However, because the seedling is young, you’ll need to do it in phases. Constantly bring them out when the weather isn’t too harsh for a few hours, then take them back to the nursery.
You’ll need to repeat this process for 7-10 days before you can entirely leave them out.
- Transplant your Tomatoes
Instead of starting the planting and growth process entirely outside, take the transplanting route. It takes about a week before seedlings are ready for transplanting. Transplanting allows tomato plants to build a steady stem somewhere secure, usually a nursery.
After that, when you transplant outside, they already have a hold on the new leaves and fruit. Although you’re trying to grow strong tomato stems, give the seedlings support when you transplant them.
Support can be through providing a wire mesh to hold the tendrils and planting a stick to hold up the stem. You can also transplant the seedling near an already established plant so the tomato can grow around the plant.
It’s easy to have thick tomatoes if you start the process of building strong branches from the seedling stage. Although it’s possible to help mature tomato plants grow stronger stems, you’re likely to see results if you start from the seed stage.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Make my Tomato Plants Bushier?
You make your tomato plants bushier by providing them with three basic needs:
For leaves to develop, they need light.
Therefore, if you notice your tomato plants aren’t as leafy or bushy as you’d like, start by exposing them to morning sunlight and checking the nutrient content to supplement whatever is lacking.
However, bushy tomato plants are more susceptible to pest and disease attacks.
Additionally, a bushy tomato plant may strain the stem and cause weakness and breakage.
Therefore, as you work towards getting more leaves to grow on your tomato plants, always check to see which ones need pruning to avoid these side effects.
Why Are My Tomato Plants Tall and Skinny?
Your tomatoes are tall and skinny because they lack the sunlight and nutrients needed to ensure they grow thick.
To supplement this problem: Expose your tomatoes to sunlight for about 8 hours and ensure your soil is always supplied with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Remember to water frequently, too.
Spray your plants with chemical-free insecticide. Tomato plants are notorious habitats for pests and diseases.
Should I Cut the Bottom Leaves off My Tomato Plants?
Yes, cutting the bottom leaves of your tomato plant as they grow is advisable. Since the bottom leaves are nearer to the ground, they pose two significant challenges.
- They are most likely to carry diseases that can spread throughout the whole plant and kill the tomato fruit.
- The leaves are likely to overweigh the stem and break the tomato plant if the leaves are too bushy.
With this in mind, trim away 6 to 12 inches of bottom tomato leaves to keep your plant strong and healthy.
Why Won’t My Tomatoes get Big?
If you notice your tomatoes aren’t getting more prominent, they probably lack the required nutrients. Tomatoes need abundant nutrients, especially nitrogen, to grow radiant, strong, and healthy.
Therefore, to remediate this issue, add fertilizer to your soil and turn it over to expose the plant to sunlight for solid stems.
If you’re unsure of the fertilizer to use, apply garden residue from trimmings and pruning as top mulch for your soil.
Growing tomatoes is easy and also very profitable in today’s economy. However, simple mistakes make it easy for someone to incur losses.
Different gardeners have different advice when it comes to questions like how do I get thick stems on tomato plants. However, I found that the above suggestions worked best for people who want thick tomato plant stems.
It’s better to pick straightforward solutions for delicate plants like tomatoes.
Feel free to try them out and see how they help your tomatoes.