Have you been watching your tomato plants lately and noticed that they are starting to lean over? Don’t worry; you’re not the only one. Bending or falling over is a common problem for tomato farmers, and there are several reasons why your tomato plants are bending over.
Tomato plants bend over due to a lack of light and water, resulting in leggy stems. Additionally, they bend over if they have a fungal infection or insufficient support. Also, most seedlings bend over when you transplant or re-pot them to a new environment.
In this blog post, I’ll guide you through the possible reasons why your tomatoes fall over. In addition, I’ll provide some solutions so that you can get your plants back on track.
Let’s dive right in!
Also Check: Black Flies On Tomato Plants
Why Are My Tomatoes Falling Over?
Your tomatoes are falling over and bending due to the lack of light in the environment. Additionally, lack of support could be a challenge and could cause bending. If you recently transplanted your tomatoes, they may be falling off due to the shock of the change of environment.
There are several reasons why your tomatoes could be falling over. The causes vary with the plant’s age, the environment of your tomatoes, and human actions.
Lack Of Light
Light is one of the significant factors in the growth of your tomatoes. Whether they are indoors or outdoor tomatoes, they need sunlight for photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process through which plants make carbohydrates out of light, oxygen, and water using chlorophyll.
So how does lack of enough light make your tomatoes fall over?
Lack of sunlight results in your tomatoes turning yellow or pale green due to a lack of chlorophyll. Consequently, a lack of chlorophyll reduces the production of food by the plant, thereby making the plant leggy.
A leggy plant will likely fall over, mainly because the stems become weak. Additionally, If the light comes from one side, the plants bend towards the light. But how is the plant able to sense the light’s direction?
When light hits the plant from a single direction, the exposed side grows normally. However, the side exposed to less light grows faster (Leggy). The result of this is the bending of the plant towards the light.
Lack of Support
Tomato is a climber plant that doesn’t have a strong stem like the mango plant. The plant may not need support when it’s a seedling because the stem can probably manage the weight of the leaves. However, mature tomatoes need enough support mainly because they have the fruits or are already too tall.
The average height of a determinate tomato is about 3 to 4 feet. Indeterminate tomatoes may grow taller to at least 6 feet, mainly because they fruit for several seasons before they die. It could be challenging for a tomato’s diameter, about an inch, to support such heights.
The tomato plant carries about 14kg, weighing about 5 ounces each on average. That amount of weight is too enormous for a tomato stem to support. A tomato plant, on average, yields roughly 20 to 90 tomatoes in a single season.
Therefore, your mature tomato plant will likely fall over when the yielding season begins. But there’s a way out, and I’ll address it later in this article.
Did you just transplant your tomato’s young plants from the seedbed to the garden? If yes, they will likely fall over for the first several days. But why would they fall over?
When you transplant plants, it undergoes a combination of three factors; physical abuse, change of environment, and reduced size. The combination of the three factors is what gardening experts otherwise refer to as transplant shock. The shock effect comes when you transplant, re-pot, or topdress your seedlings. The shock’s major causes include poor or injured root system, improper replanting, and a harsh new environment.
You will notice that your plant has transplant shock if it falls over and the leaves start wilting. Additionally, if you did the transport late and the plant has flowers, they will fall. Lucky for you, this kind of fall over is recoverable, especially if the harm wasn’t significant.
Damping-off is one of the major causes of tomatoes falling over. The effect results from your tomatoes having a fungal infection or disease among seedlings.
Some signs you should notice if your seedling has damping off include think and wiry stems. Also, the leaves and the stems develop spots and grey molds that may spread throughout the entire seedling. In case you uproot the seedling, you will notice the roots looking deceased and weak. In damping off, instead of the plant recovering, it worsens.
But what could have caused the damping-off on your seedlings? Also, what are some of the reasons for the damping off?
Some of the most apparent causes of damping are overwatering and poor drainage. When water floods your seedlings, it reduces survival time by inhibiting the amount of air in the solid. Additionally, the new seedling may inherit fungal diseases from other seedlings or recycled soil.
Lack of Enough Water
Seedlings are aggressively growing, and therefore, they need enough water. But underwatering or overwatering, none is healthy for your plants. Either could be detrimental to your seedling’s growth.
Usually, when the plant has insufficient water, the stems grow thin and leggy. That results in the upper part of the plant being heavier to be supported by the thin stem. In the end, the plant falls over and could break, especially if the plant is mature and has fruits.
Why Are My Tomato Plants Lying Down?
Your tomatoes are lying down because of damping off, fungal disease, and lack of light. They could also lie depending on your watering mode or lack of support. There could be more reasons, but those are the significant contributors.
You might be asking, what’s the difference between falling over and lying down? Lying down is the advanced level of fall over. Plants lying down need urgent care to recover, or else they’ll die. So, how do you fix your lying tomato plants? Plus, will they even recover?
Will Bent Tomato Plants Recover?
Yes, the bent tomato plants will recover. However, you need to address the causes of the bend, falling over, or lying down fast. Otherwise, the attempts to recover the plant may be futile once it starts drying up or withering.
When a tomato plant bends, you must first address the cause of its bending. For example, if the bend was due to winds, you could consider creating a wind counter before repairing the plant. If some of your tomato plants are bent or are falling off, there’s a way to fix them.
How Do You Fix Droopy Tomato Plants?
To fix droopy tomato plants, you must identify the cause and take corrective action. Fixing depends on what causes them to drop off. They could be drooping due to lack of water, sun, or poor drainage.
Let’s expound on how you can fix each cause individually.
Lack of Enough Water
One of the most common causes of droopy tomato plants is a lack of water. Make sure to water your plants regularly, especially during hot weather.
If the soil is dry, deeply water your plants at the base, not just around the leaves. Once you water the plants, they should start to perk up within a few hours or days.
Too Much Sun
Another common cause of droopiness in tomato plants is too much sun. If your plants are getting too much sun, they will lose a lot of water and sag. Also, if the plants are potted, the best way to fix too much sun is to move the plants to a location that gets partial shade for part of the day.
If the tomatoes are in the garden, you can mulch the plants to reduce the amount of water loss at the base of the plant. Additionally, you can create a shade in your garden to reduce the excess heat.
What’s more? You cover them with a tarp or place them in an area that gets partial sun.
Lack of Support
If your tomato plants are drooping because they don’t have enough support, you will need to give them something to lean on. You can do this by tying them to a stake or placing them in a tomato cage.
However, the best way is to have an existing support mechanism with interlinked sticks that go as high as 10 feet. Improving the support mechanism improves yielding.
Damping is a fungal disease that affects young seedlings and can cause them to collapse and die. If you think your plants have damping off, you will need to remove the affected plants and start over. Additionally, change the soil to improve drainage if the plants are potted. You should also avoid overwatering, mainly if the soil highly retains water.
Shock is a common problem because you must transplant seedlings into the garden. To fix it, water them well and keep them protected from the sun for a few days.
In addition, reduce the disturbance of roots when transplanting. Generally, to prevent transplant shock, be very careful when handling your plants.
Tomato plants falling over results from many factors, but the most common reasons are too much or too little water, sun, lack of support, and more. If you’re experiencing this problem in your garden, it’s crucial to identify and remedy the cause.
In many cases, providing your tomatoes with adequate water and proper nutrition will help fix and have them stand up straight again. However, if fungal infection is the culprit, you may need to take additional steps to eliminate them.