With over 10,000 varieties, tomatoes are one of the fruits that are most commonly grown in gardens around the world.
In fact, China produces over 50 million tons of tomato fruits every year.
However, these crops are also very sensitive, and untreated disease or change in care could cause your tomato plant to take a turn for the worst.
If your tomato plant looks like it is dying, it needs to be tended to immediately.
In this article, I am going to write about how I revive a dying tomato plant.
How to revive a dying tomato plant?
If your tomato plant looks like it is dying, it could be that your plant isn’t getting the proper care it needs. Make sure that your tomato plant is getting enough sunlight, water, and fertilizer. Transplanting your tomato plant can be used as a last resort to revive it.
Symptoms of a dying tomato plant
If the leaves of your tomato plant are wilting and the stems are beginning to collapse, this could mean your plant is dying.
Although, it can often be difficult to tell the difference between a dying tomato plant and one that is suffering from factors that don’t need attention.
If you notice any sort of changes in the appearance of your tomato plants, such as yellowing or wilted leaves, I would suggest keeping a close eye on them for a few days before taking any sort of action.
Sometimes, a tomato plant can be affected by factors like a change in weather, which can cause disruptions in growth that your plant will soon recover from.
If up to a week has passed and your tomato plant has shown no signs of recovery, then that is definitely a cause for alarm.
Symptoms of a dying tomato include leaves have become dry and crisp to the touch, and discoloration has spread to the stems.
Tomato plants have relatively fast-growing foliage, meaning that if no signs of growth have appeared in a while, it is likely that your plant needs attention fast.
Caring for your tomato plant
The first thing you should do if you believe that your tomato plant is dying is check that you have been fulfilling all of its needs.
A tomato plant needs at least 4 hours of regular sunlight a day to thrive, and with very little or no sunlight your plant’s leaves will begin to wilt and eventually fall off.
It is additionally important that your tomato plant is watered enough and regularly.
Tomato plants need 1-2 inches of water each time, and shouldn’t be watered again until the top-soil is only slightly moist.
Consistently over or under watering your tomato plant will cause it to start to die, and your watering schedule should be adjusted immediately if you believe this is the cause of your plant’s distress.
Fertilization is key
Tomato plants need lots of nutrients, more specifically the three NPK nutrients. Without regular fertilization, your plant will not survive or bear any fruits. It can even cause your tomato plant’s leaves to turn yellow.
You should add fertilizer to the soil around a week before planting and regularly during the blossoming and fruit growing periods. A simple tomato plant fertilizer is all that you will need.
If your tomato plant is looking drab and you haven’t kept up with a frequent fertilizing schedule I would suggest adding fertilizer to the soil immediately.
Tomato plants recover very quickly from nutrient deficiency, so you should see signs of recovery within less than a week.
Top tip – Be sure to only add the recommended amount of fertilizer to your plant, no matter the damage the has been done to it.
Tomato plants are very sensitive to nutrients and can be severely damaged by over-fertilization.
Transplanting a dying tomato plant
If you’ve had no luck with reviving your tomato plant, a final thing you can try is transplanting it. However, as tomato plants have quite sensitive roots, you should only transplant them as a last resort.
Transplanting a tomato plant has especially proven to be successful in cases of root rot, where the soil has become so saturated that it is rotting the soil.
You should start by carefully removing your tomato plant from the soil, then clean the roots and carefully prune off any damaged or dead parts from the roots.
Don’t panic if your tomato plant starts to wilt right after you transplant it.
Typically, this is a symptom of plant shock, although in the case of tomato plants it is likely just your plant adjusting to its new habitat and it should revive itself after a few days.
Ensure that you handle the roots with care and avoid damaging them. I would suggest cutting around the root ball and washing off any excess soil instead of pulling your tomato plant from the soil, as this can result in roots being snapped.
Finally, transplant your tomato plant into a compost mix, in a pot or container that has drainage holes.
Precautions to take
Any tomato plants that look like they might be dying should be moved away from any other plants as soon as possible.
You should also never compost any dead tomato plants. Many tomato diseases can live on plant debris even during the winter months, such as blight.
Dispose of both your plant and the soil it has lived in to prevent any sort of disease from spreading to your new crops the following year.
Frequently Asked Questions Related to Reviving Dying Tomato Plants
How long does it take a dying tomato plant to recover?
This all depends on the extremity of your plant’s damage and what is causing it. If your plant is dying due to a lack of maintenance, it should usually take less than a week for it to recover. However, if your tomato plant has been affected by disease and has to be transplanted this could take much longer.
Can I still eat the fruits from a dying tomato plant?
If the fruits are not showing signs of discoloration then they are still safe for human consumption. I would suggest picking any tomatoes that have not started to change color and let them ripen off the vine, as your dying tomato plant may not have the energy to ripen them alone.
Taking care of houseplants and gardening are my greatest passions. I am transforming my apartment into an urban jungle and am growing veggies in my indoor and outdoor garden year-round.