Tomato season is in full bloom! You’ve just transplanted your tomato plants, and now we wait, but huh, interesting. Some flowers have already started to appear on the plant. You may be a little alarmed and wondering what to do next. This is a normal thing, and it’s no need for alarm. Can tomato plants flower too early?
Tomato plants can flower early for a variety of reasons. Some will flower early if they waited too long to be transplanted or you planted the seeds way too early in the season. Weather conditions and nutrients can all play a part as well.
Now the question is, pluck or not to pluck? Today’s article will discuss all the reasons tomatoes flower early and what to do next.
Pinching Early Flowers
Pinching, plucking, pruning. These are all terms used for the act of taking off the early flower’s blooms. It can be done by pinching them off with your fingers or snipping them with small scissors.
Pinching the early flowers allows the plant to continue to grow before it starts spending energy producing fruit. It will help the plant grow taller and straight up. Not only that, but the plant will also grow stronger roots and thicker stems. This is important for protection against wind and other weather plights. It is also essential to make sure the plant has enough strength or grows the best fruit it can.
Should I Pinch Off Early Tomato Flowers?
If you are wondering if you should pinch your tomatoes flowers, here are a few things you should ask yourself first.
How long is your growing season?
Suppose you live somewhere with a shorter growing season. In that case, places on the East coast (Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut) or some parts of Washington or Michigan usually have much shorter growing seasons than places like California or the Midwest.
The shorter the season, the less you should pluck. If you have just transplanted your tomatoes into the ground and they have already started flowering, it’s safe to pluck the flowers for a couple of weeks if you live in these short-season places. But anything after that and time is of the essence. In warmer climates, you should pluck the flowers for up to a month. This will allow the plant to have more time to grow before they start producing tomatoes.
How tall are your plants?
This is another good way to tell if you should pluck or not. Generally, you would want your plants to be at least 2 feet. The taller the plant, the more branches there will be, which will result in a higher yield. While 2 feet is still tiny, in colder regions, tomato plants won’t have time to grow as tall as tomatoes being grown in warmer regions.
Why Are My Tomatoes Flowering Early?
So we’ve discussed what to do if your tomatoes are flowering early, but you may wonder why and what is causing them to do so? There are a handful of reasons why this may be; let’s take a closer look.
Tomatoes will automatically start flowering after a certain time, no matter how tall they are. If you leave a baby tomato plant in its small vessel for a long period, it will begin to flower after so long. Sometimes, you find your tomatoes beginning to flower right after you transplant them into a bigger pot. They simply think it’s time to flower.
Tomatoes depend a lot on the temperature of the weather. They love warm hot, dry climates and do very well in the heated sunshine. Heat will help to speed up the flowering process, while the cold makes tomatoes very slow. Tomatoes need at least 8 hours of sunlight a day and like temperatures to be between 65 and 85.
Some tomatoes are just early risers! There are a few tomato varieties like Tigerella, Stupice, and Sophie’s Choice, which all take about 55 days until they start producing. This is a little quicker than the average tomato, around 65.
Though some strains can take up to 100 days. Always check which type of tomato you got before you plant! If you live in an area that has a short growing season, you won’t want a variety that takes longer.
How to Prevent Tomatoes From Flowering Early
Sometimes it will be out of our control that tomatoes will begin to flower. Making sure they are transplanted in time is your best bet to ensure that your plant flowers are at the appropriate time. It is much easier to know when to transplant when you start tomatoes from seed.
The general rule of thumb is that once they are at least 3 inches tall with some leaves, they are ready for their next container. After that, you can wait until they are 12 inches, then they are ready for their final destination.
When you buy tomatoes from a store, there is no way to tell how long they have been waiting there. This can throw off your timeline, and as a result, the tomato will end up flowering early.
Too Many Flowers On My Tomato Plant?
A tomato plant will begin to flower early, but it will also start producing more flowers but no fruit. Usually, when this happens, the plant will flower, and the bud will eventually fall off; this is called blossom drop. You can remove some of these flowers, especially ones clustered, so the plant isn’t overworking itself—wondering why blossom drop is happening? Here are a handful of reasons why it could be happening to your plants.
Lack of pollination
- Tomatoes and most fruiting plants need proper pollination to seed and fruit. Having bees or birds around is a big help in this area.
Lack of water
Lack of water can stunt the growth of a tomato plant, and the plant will not have enough water to begin creating fruit.
Temperature too high or too low
Tomatoes like heat, but not too hot. They like a range of 65-85 degrees. Anything below or above that can stress the plant out.
Little air circulation
Correlating with pollination, air circulation helps pollination fly through the air. Air also helps ensure the plant doesn’t get too humid or moist, causing fungal problems.
Improper nutrient levels
Tomatoes need a proper amount of nitrogen and other nutrients to create good tomatoes. Without it, the plant will not know how to begin fruiting or make healthy fruit.
When Should Tomatoes Start Flowering?
Tomatoes should begin flowering 45-100 days after sprouting. This will depend on their strain and how long their growing period is. Once a tomato plant begins flowering, tomatoes should be fully ripened and ready to eat within 25-60 days, depending on their variety.
Now that we have discussed all the reasons why your tomato plant has started flowering too early, I hope you better understand what is going on and what you can do to fix it and prevent it. It is fine to pinch off those flowers as long as your weather allows it. Pinching the flowers can help your plant grow big and strong, and in turn, you will get the most amazing tomatoes! Happy gardening!
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!