If there is one common complaint among tomato growers, it’s the failure to produce fruits. Before tomatoes start to appear, yellow flowers form, which have to be pollinated before giving rise to buds that form tomatoes. But, can a tomato plant be sterile?
Some tomato plants can be sterile. However, it’s not very likely. In most cases, tomato plants have both anthers and stamens, or male and female parts. They rely on pollinators to carry pollen from anthers to stamens, which results in tomato growth.
If you notice that your tomato plant is not growing, there could be a reason behind it, one that you can fix by making a few changes to your gardening habits.
Why Do My Tomato Plants Have No Buds?
Buds are the first sign of tomatoes. Over time, they typically develop into tomatoes if conditions are optimal. When tomato plants have no buds, there are several reasons why including:
- Lack of nutrients
- Lack of pollination
Most of these are fixable, though it may take some time.
Do Tomato Plants Have to Be Fertilized?
Tomato plants do have to be fertilized, though only at two stages of growth—one very soon after planting and the other shortly before fruiting. Fertilizing before plants start to fruit is essential, as there are a lot of changes that happen from producing flowers to tomato production.
Production of tomatoes takes energy from plants and requires a lot of nutrients to do so. It’s recommended that growers add fertilizer to soils at least once a week once tomatoes start to appear, providing nutrients that tomato plants need.
Why Are My Tomatoes Not Setting Fruit? (Top 3 Reasons)
If tomato plants produce flowers but drop them before producing fruits, there are three main causes. Understanding them can help you adjust to get your plants healthy and producing again.
#1. Lack of Pollination
Flowers on tomato plants can pollinate themselves, though not very efficiently. With help from pollinators, tomato plants can grow their best and most abundant. Key pollinators that help pollinate tomato blossoms include insects, bees, and gardeners.
One fix that can change your entire garden is adding flowers with lots of nectar. These will attract bees and ensure that all your flowers get a healthy dose of pollen. If you’re growing in a greenhouse or a more controlled environment, you can promote pollination by giving flowers a shake. This will release pollen, some of which may fall to the right place to produce buds.
#2. Too Much Heat
Tomatoes love the heat, but there is such thing as too hot. Temperatures above 86o F can result in lower pollen production, causing it to become sterile. Climate can be unpredictable, so you should keep a close watch out for weather patterns and try to gauge your planting as much as you can.
If temperatures do rise and your find yourself in a situation that could lead to a lack of pollination, the only thing you can do is wait it out. As you wait and see, give your tomatoes plenty of water and keep soils moist and full of nutrients by changing them often. When watering, ensure that water flows deep at least once a week, sending the roots some love.
#3. Wrong Fertilizer
There are many fertilizers on the market, some of which are not the best for tomatoes. When selecting a fertilizer for your plants, go for one that has a heavy dose of tomato-friendly nutrients, including potassium and potash.
You can mix up your batch of fertilizers based on your climate and soil conditions, adding the new fertilizer over time to promote more organic growth.
Natural Fertilizers Perfect for Tomatoes
If you love all things natural, there are some ingredients you can mix to produce nutrients for your tomato plants. These can help feed plants and promote the production of buds if you’re noticing slow growth.
While tomato plants are growing and producing, they use a lot of magnesium. You can give your plants a boost of magnesium with the help of Epsom salt. Using one tablespoon within each soil space before planting can help produce more blossoms, a darker green color, and tastier tomatoes.
Used Coffee Grounds
Did you know that coffee grounds have potassium, phosphorous, and nitrogen? All three of these nutrients are things that tomatoes need and love, so you should add coffee grounds when you can.
You have to take the grounds and sprinkle them around the soil before watering. Then, give the soil a healthy serving of water to let the grounds soak into the ground.
Animal manure is a great option when it comes to nourishing tomatoes. However, it can’t just be any animal. Tomatoes love manure from animals that feed on grasses and vegetables, including cows and horses. Some manures that you should stay away from include:
- Pet manure
- Chicken manure
- Fresh manure that hasn’t been composted
Seaweed is lower in NPK but is full of so many trace minerals that it’s worth it. You can find seaweed straight from the source if you live near water. If not, you may need to order online, but it’s becoming easier to find. Simply mix it with some water and add it to your garden, providing soils with a healthy dose of critical nutritional elements.
While some varieties of tomatoes can be sterile, it’s not common. In most cases, tomato plants fail to produce tomatoes because they lack a few things. It could be a lack of pollination, nutrients, or too much heat, which could lead to sterile-like plants.
To give your tomato plants the best shot at producing lots of red, ripe fruits, give them the nutrients and care they need, try out natural fertilizers while planting and before flowers appear for best results.
Hi there, my name is Allie and welcome to my blog; GareningWithAllie!
Much of what you see written here is just our personal experiences with gardening. Along with the content I write here, there is also a unique collection of gardening topics covered by some of our close friends. I hope you find everything you read here to be helpful, informative, and something that can make your gardening journey the most lovely experience ever! With that said, Happy Gardening!