The Q&A Archives: Blossom End Rot on Tomato

Question: I just moved to Hawaii and started growing tomato plants in 5 gallon clay pots. The plants themselves have grown quite large and have produced nice clusters of fruit. However, before the tomatoes have a chance to fully mature, they develop what appears to be a rotted area covering the entire bottom of the of the tomato. The tomatos are the Big Boy variety, and have been placed in an area that provides full sun only in the afternoon We have watered them each day, and on those days when we have missed a watering, the plant branches and leaves wither significantly. Is this what they call blosson rot?? I have never had this problem before on the mainland---what do we need to do to stop this condition??

Answer: You do have what sounds like blossom end rot. Blossom end rot is basically an imbalance of calcium in the soil, often aggravated by varied watering schedules. Potted plants are much more subject to this malady than those in the ground primarily because of the watering stresses. A good fertilizer high in calcium or an amendment such as lime, gypsum, or bone meal will help but you need to monitor yoour watering so the pot gets neither too dry or too wet. A mulch is helpful for this.

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