Tomato is an edible berry that belongs to the Solanum Lycopersicum plant but it is more commonly known as a tomato.
Tomatoes are fruits but are considered to be vegetables from a nutrition standpoint due to their common use in everyday cooking.
The tomato plant is one of the easiest fruit plants to grow outdoors and even indoors.
Issues can occur when growing tomatoes. One such issue is leggy tomato plants.
How to Fix Leggy Tomato Plants?
Tomatoes plant may become tall and spindly due to a handful of reasons. The three most common causes behind leggy tomato plants are related to watering, sunlight, and overcrowding. You can fix leggy tomato plants by providing sufficient light. 8 hours of direct sunlight, daily watering, and avoiding overcrowding. 3 Stems per pot is the maximum.
Causes Behind Leggy Tomato Plant
Lack of sunlight can cause several issues with plant growth. A reason could be that you planted your seed during the wrong season.
Tomatoes are not receiving adequate light needed for growth. Or you have planted tomatoes indoors where it is harder to get the light levels right.
You need to make sure your tomato plant is receiving at least 8 hours of direct sunlight so that it grows properly.
If your tomato plant is not receiving enough sunlight, it will start to stretch out and try to reach for sunlight.
This stretching will cause the plant to bend or curve towards one direction.
Insufficient water can make tomato plants thirsty. This causes tomatoes to develop into thin, leggy, and stringy tomato plants.
Tomato plants that have been planted into the ground need to be watered every day.
The same applies to potted tomato plants but you need to make sure sufficient drainage is provided.
A good way is to use pots with drainage holes where excess water will drain and not lead to soggy soil.
Soggy soil can lead to root rot.
Overcrowding your tomato plant’s seedling can cause them to fight for nutrients, sunlight, and water.
This causes tomato plants to deprive each other of things that they all need for survival.
This deprivation of nutrients, sunlight, and water causes tomato plants to become leggy and stretch out.
Solutions for Leggy Tomato Plants
Repot and Position
One thing you can do is repot your tomato plant and bury them deep into the soil till the bottom-most leaf on the steam.
Provide your plant with a large enough pot so that it grows proper roots.
You should move your plant indoors if it is too cold outdoors if you keep tomatoes in a pot.
Anything. below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) is considered too cold.
Indoor sunlight from a window placement itself is not sufficient for tomato plants. You will have to supplement it with grow lights.
Allow your tomato plant to soak up light for at least eight hours a day.
Grow lights are useful if you do not have enough pure sunlight available for your tomato plant.
The weather outdoors can be a reason why you want to grow tomato plants inside.
Grow light will be needed indoors to keep tomato plants healthy and happy.
You can use grow lights such as T5 fluorescent lights.
When looking into grow light, check the color of the light. There are different shades available such as cool blue shades and warm red shades.
Each color has its own purpose. Cool color light promotes vegetative growth, while warm colors promote fruit and flower growth.
You will need to use a mixture of both of these lights to stop your tomato plant from becoming long and spindly.
A light temperature of 6000k is considered to be optimal for tomatoes as it is very close to natural sunlight.
Place your tomato plants in large enough pots with sufficient soil, so your tomato plant stays hydrated.
You could also make use of an irrigation system that will provide water throughout the day whenever the plant needs it.
An irrigation system is especially useful in locations that are arid and have hot climates.
You should water your plant every day or once you noticed that the top few inches of the soil have dried up.
An indication to water tomatoes is when the soil starts to look grayish in color.
When watering your plant, it is important to make sure that the roots receive the most water, not the leaves.
Make sure the soil is not too sandy and drains well. Use good quality soil that retains enough moisture in it.
Good soil will help boost the growth of your tomato plants and will prevent them from becoming leggy.
You can use a soil mixture that contains manure and mulch as the top layer.
Mulch will help retain moisture for a longer period of time. This will also help keep your vegetables well fed.
When the soil is too compact, the air and water will not reach the roots.
Thus, if the soil is too flat or compact, you must aerate it.
Read our article about the best soil mixes for vegetables.
Stems Per Pod
When you notice that big clumps of seedlings are growing together, you need to separate them. Make sure there are only two to three stems per pod.
Frequently Asked Questions about Leggy Tomatoes
Will pruning my leggy Tomato plant fix the issue?
Pruning is a great way to multiply your tomato crop, but the best solution for leggy tomato plants is to provide proper sunlight.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.