We grow tomato plants to enjoy juicy, ripe tomatoes. So it can be frustrating when the plants don’t seem to grow any flowers and fruits.
Your tomato plants are not flowering because they are not getting enough light, heat, or water that they need. Some other reasons for this problem could be too much pruning, lack of nutrients, or too much nitrogen. It could also be a simple reason that you just need to be patient.
I know your pain and have written down all the details to help you understand the problem. Once you know the issue, you can go about fixing it so the plant can start flowering and grow tomatoes.
Lack of water
Plants that grow fruits need a lot of water. The common reason why tomato plants are not growing flowers is due to a lack of water.
You may be underwatering the plant because you don’t have the time. Or you may not know when is the right time to water the plant.
The other problem you may have is you are overwatering the plant. And this can also cause a lack of water.
The overwatering will drown the roots in moisture causing problems like root rot. The roots will not be able to supply the required moisture to the plant.
So both underwatering and overwatering can lead to a lack of water reaching the plant. It’s easy to fix the problem of underwatering by increasing the frequency of water you provide.
If the tomato plants are suffering root rot, you need to take the plant out and cut off the roots that are infected. Then replant it in a location that is free from this problem.
I suggest checking the moisture in the soil every morning as you inspect the plant. Tomatoes need moisture in the soil but not too much.
You can stick your finger 1-2 inches in the soil and check if it sticks to the tip of the finger. If the finger comes out dry, that’s a sign you need to water the soil.
There may be everything OK for your tomato plant and it still may not flower if you don’t prune it well. The tomato plant may be encouraged to keep growing new suckers and foliage rather than flowers.
The plant cannot spend the energy on growing flowers and fruits and is happy to continue growing more leaves, suckers, and branches.
Once the tomato plant has matured, it’s important to start pruning it. You want to remove any suckers and let the main stem keep growing.
You should remove unwanted foliage and branches so the plant can focus on growing flowers. If there are any malformed or dead flowers, you need to prune them as well.
Make sure you don’t prune more than 1/3rd of the tomato plant at a time. You want to avoid stressing the plant due to a lack of foliage.
You can check your tomato plant every week and prune any unwanted parts of the plant. If the suckers are smaller than 2 inches, you can twist and pull them out with your hand.
But if they have grown larger, you’ll need to use a bypass pruner to cut them off the plant. Make sure to sterilize the pruner with rubbing alcohol before using it on the tomato plant.
Lack of nutrients
Tomatoes are a heavy feeder plant which means they need plenty of nutrients to be able to flower and grow fruit. If they don’t get the required nutrients, flowers won’t develop.
I suggest adding organic compost to the garden soil when preparing it for planting the tomato plant. This will provide nutrients to the soil as well as introduce beneficial organisms to it.
You need to also add fertilizer to the soil every month when the tomato plant is growing. When the plant is young, you can use a balanced fertilizer having an N-P-K value of 10-10-10.
Once the plant has matured and you need it to start flowering, you need to reduce the nitrogen content. So you need to use a fertilizer that is low in nitrogen and high in potassium such as one having N-P-K of 5-10-10.
If you add too much nitrogen to the soil, the tomato plant will be encouraged to grow more foliage rather than flowers and fruits.
I also recommend using organic fertilizer as it is gentle on the soil, plant, and wildlife. Too much chemical fertilizer can also burn the roots and reduce nutrients reaching the tomato plant
The tomato plant needs soil that has a pH close to 7. And it has to be soil that has the right balance of sand and clay. If the soil is poor, the plant growth will be poor and you may find flowers are not growing on the plant.
You want the soil to have a good texture that allows moisture and air through it but drains out any excess moisture after a while.
I suggest adding organic compost to the soil when you’re preparing the garden for planting tomatoes. The compost helps improve the texture of the soil with its organic matter. It also has beneficial organisms that keep improving soil texture over time.
You can get the soil in your garden tested before planting the tomatoes. You send a few samples of the soil to your Local Extension Service. And they will send you back the results with any required amendments.
If the soil is already poor and the tomato plant is growing in it, you need to start adding the compost so that the soil can improve by the next growing period.
Lack of sunlight
Tomatoes are a warm-season plant that needs full sun to grow well. This means at least 6-8 hours of sunlight every day. If they don’t get the required light, the flowering will not happen.
This is something you need to plan before you can plant the tomato plants in your garden. Select a location in the garden that gets the required sunlight.
If there are any obstructions such as taller plants or trees, you can try to trim the branches and let more sunlight reach the tomato plants.
If a wall or fence is blocking the light, the only option you have is to move the plant to another location in the garden. If you’re growing the tomato plants in containers, it will be easy to move the container to a good location.
Lack of heat
Tomatoes need warm weather to grow well. The day temperature between 65 to 75 degrees is ideal to grow tomatoes. If the temperature is too low, the flowers will not bloom.
You want to grow tomatoes when the weather is warm enough. The best time would be spring/summer after the last frost date has passed.
If there are a few cool nights that are affecting the plant, you can use a row cover that will help keep the plants warm during the night.
The tomato plant won’t flower even if the temperature gets too high beyond 85 degrees. The plant gets stressed and won’t grow well.
You’ll just need to wait till the weather gets better and reaches the right threshold that the tomato plant prefers.
Lack of growing space
You may grow determinate or indeterminate tomato plants and they may need different space in your garden. If the plants are growing too close to each other, they may not flower due to stress.
If the plants are growing too close to each other, they will compete for nutrients which stunts the growth of the foliage and flowering.
You must get more information about the tomato plant you want to grow. Make sure to plant them keeping enough space in between.
If you have already planted the tomatoes and they are stressed due to a lack of space, you need to take one out and plant in another location.
If your tomato plant gets affected by some diseases, they can cause the flowering of the plant to stop. Or they may cause the existing flowers to fall off.
This is a common problem if the tomato plant is suffering from a fungal issue such as botrytis blight.
The best solution against fungal issues is to keep your tomato plants away from humid conditions. You should not splash water on the foliage when watering. If you did make sure to wipe the water off the leaves.
Keep sufficient space between the plants so there is plenty of air flowing through the foliage that avoids humid situations.
You can consider growing tomato plants that have resistance to some of the bacterial and viral diseases. This does not ensure they won’t get infected but does improve their chances.