The Q&A Archives: Blooms Dying And Dropping Off Tomato Plant

Question: I have a costoluto genovese tomato plant that was very healthy when transplanted, however about ten days after going in the garden the new leaves became shriveled and stunted, and the blooms began to drop. I applied a 15-18-20 liquid fertilizer and the plant became healthy again, however all the new blooms continue to turn brown and die. The stems turn yellow and the blooms fall right off. The plant is about 4 1/2 feet tall, but the foliage is not as dense as it should be (compared to the other tomatoes around it). What is this condition, can it be fixed, or should I pull the plant? (I raised from seed, so I'd like to save it if possible).

Answer: In some cases tomato blossoms fall because environmental conditions are poor (too hot, too cool, cold nights, hot nights, too wet, too dry, too windy), in other cases it is due to lack of pollination. They may even drop their blossoms if overfertilized, so make sure you are not overfeeding; also make sure the soil is evenly moist but not sopping wet. You can't control the weather, but you can try to help with pollination. You can try shaking the plant periodically or use a small brush to pollinate. You could also try one of the commercially available "blossom set" products. I have not grown that particular variety of tomato, but it is possible that it simply has a spare look to it naturally -- there are some fairly noticeable appearance differences among certain varieties.

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