The Q&A Archives: Tomatoes aren't producing fruit

Question: I recently moved to a condo and have to do container gardening now. I used to have a full garden when in a single family house & I grew abundant amounts of fruits/ veggies. On my patio, I'm using very large unglazed terra cotta pots. My patio faces north and gets morning sun, but not a great deal of afternoon sun - that should be good for tomatoes-right? The plants grew well on a trellis and many times throughout the summer, I had lots of yellow flowers, but the flowers never developed into fruit. The flowers would just fall off or seem to disappear? Why? - Would an animal be eating the flowers? I can't think of any that could reach the blooms. I thought maybe not enough room for the roots was stunting production, but after the season, I removed the plants & they were not root bound. Any advice is appreciated.


Answer: I would have expected the plant to need more direct sun, but since the plant is blooming you must be taking good care of it and so it should be able to support tomatoes. When the flowers drop without forming fruit, there is usually an environmental problem such as uneven soil moisture or fluctuating temperatures or extra cold nights or extra warm nights that cause the flowers to abort. Another possibility is lack of pollination, especially if they are growing in a spot that is very sheltered from the breeze. You might try shaking the plant every day to distribute the pollen if you think that is a possible cause. Also be sure the fertilizer you are using includes minors to prevent any nutrient deficiency and that the soil is evenly moist like a wrung out sponge. I suspect that it is a temperature problem, probably nights that are too warm due to the heat retained by the building reflecting back at it. Maybe relocating it to a different part of the patio away from the wall would help. Or, you might experiment with a different variety. I hope this helps you trouble shoot.

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