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Tomato Plant - all leaves, no flowers

Concord, CA

Ok, so I have an indeterminate tomato plant, it is tall and I think happy.

Like a good gardener I pinched off all the suckers that would come along (except one that got away and is now too big) because suckers are "all leaf, no fruit" right??

Well, now the very top and that one rouge sucker have flowers, every other branch is just leaves. What's up with that?

I have so many gardening questions I made a blog about it: WWW.TheNewGardenReview.Blogspot.com

I'm not a natural green thumb to say the least:(

Starkville, MS(Zone 8a)

Tell me what your fertilizer is, the dilution (if water soluble), and the frequency of application.

Ken

Clover, SC

Sounds like you've done a lot of things right ... but like Ken asked, what fertilizer did you use? The first number (of 3) in your fertilizer indicates the amount of nitrogen, which encourages foliage growth. The other two numbers represent the ration of phosphorus and potassium, which encourage blossoming and fruit. Use a tomato-specific fertilizer for best results, like Tomato Tone. More info here: http://www.tomatodirt.com/tomato-fertilizer-kinds.html

Concord, CA

Hi! Thanks y'all.

About fertilizer, I have used a slow-release tomato-specific organic fertilizer throughout the life of this tomato, every few weeks or so. At the beginning of it's life I also gave it a high-nitrogen fertilizer and I also supplement with a 5-10-10 (I think?) liquid fertilizer.

The branches that are not flowering all look like the kind that don't flower. So I don't know if it's that they decided they don't want to flower or the plant just produced branches that won't flower. Does that make sense? So I have this huge plant and like 5 flowers now.

Starkville, MS(Zone 8a)

I think you have overwhelmed your plant with "Nitrogen-kindness". It appears that the plant has had so much nitrogen that only leafy, green growth has been encouraged. Generally, slow-release fertilizer will last an entire season. You'll just apply it once. I don't know at this point whether there is really anything you can do to reverse the growth and encourage flowering. Just give it plenty of water and perhaps that will dilute the fertilizer some.

Ken

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

I looked at your blog photos of the tomatoes and other plants. They are both showing leaf roll. How often are you watering or is it in a windy dry area?

I water our containers at least twice daily as the temperatures get above 70 degF or if the soil is drying out too fast.

I'm not concerned about the high nitrogen fertilizer as plants esp tomatoes that are grown in containers need to be fertilized every week or so. The life span of slow release fertilizer pellets is only mid summer. However next summer you might want to start with a fertilizer for tomatoes. If you want organic then either soy meal or a organic fertilizer for tomatoes should work.

Here are a couple of articles on growing tomatoes in containers.
http://www.finegardening.com/how-grow-tomatoes-containers
http://containergardening.about.com/od/vegetablesandherbs/tp/5-Tips-For-Growing-Tomatoes-In-Containers.htm

Plantersville, TX(Zone 9a)

Too much nitrogen.

Starkville, MS(Zone 8a)

Yep, tomatoes really don't need any nitrogen fertilizer after the first good dose. You are looking for fruit production, not green vegetative production. They need nutrients, just not nitrogen. Just my opinion.
Ken

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

Yes. I agree that too much nitrogen can be one cause of no blossoms but that is not the only thing that will cause no blossoms. She did say it was just at the beginning of the plant life and since then she has been using a tomato fertilizer.

Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

Weather in Concord CA has been up and down so much that the tomatoes are likely having problems setting fruit. They need some pretty specific nighttime temps to properly set fruit.

I do not remove suckers, they fruit as well as the original stem.

I agree that a plant growing lots of strong healthy leaves probably has too much N.

Concord, CA

Thanks everyone! I added the nitrogen at my husband's persistence, can't wait to tell him he's wrong!! haha, mostly kidding :)

Plantersville, TX(Zone 9a)

All suckers are not all leaves. They will produce tomatoes at the very top. The reason you snip the suckers is to keep the production of few flowers, giving you a few big tomatoes, intead of lots of smaller tomatoes.

Custer, WI

My tomatoes are doing the same thing. I have continuously tied them to a 7ft. tall stakes and they are already over the top. The leaves are beautiful this year, but I want tomatoes. There are a few green tomatoes but not many. I haven't give them much for fertilizer except a dose of fish emulsion twice so far. Could it possibly be that the weather here has been on the cooler side this summer so they won't set fruit? The picture I posted was a couple of weeks ago. They are much taller than that already.

Thumbnail by ShelleyF
Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

What are the temps. They would have to be pretty low to prevent fruit set and the plants don't grow well in cool weather. I bet it's too much Nitrogen, also. What kind of soil are you using?

Custer, WI

We've had mostly low to mid 70s during the day with a few days of 50s and 60s in between. At night it has been mostly in the 50s with some high 40s. We brought a truck load of soil in last year from a local place. I believe they dug it from a swamp area. I mulched it with grass clippings to keep weeds down. Would any of those things be the culprit? Is there anything I can still do to promote tomato growth?

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Your temps are pretty cool...care to send any of that down here. Lol Temps that cold could effect fruit set but your plants look happy. My first guess is too much Nitrogen. Since you had the soil brought in there is no way to tell what's in it, unless you run a soil test. If it were me I'd fertilize with a product that has a high middle # (phosphorous). Phosphorous is needed for root development, blooms and fruit set.

When you say that the plants are much taller then 2 weeks ago and your temps have been so cool I'm even more inclined to think the Nitrogen level is way too high for tomatoes.

When is your first frost?

Custer, WI

We usually have our first frost mid to late September, but this year I wouldn't doubt that we'd have it in August. I like hot weather so I'd love to come live in Texas! After this last long winter I was looking at Costa Rica! Lol I could try the high phosphorus fertilizer. Thanks for your help.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

How are your plants doing?

Custer, WI

I found out that many people in our area are having the same trouble with not very many tomatoes on their plants and the ones they have not ripening very much. Supposedly it is the cooler temperatures we've had this summer, and very cool nights. We had some big storms lately also that broke some of my plants.I got a few tomatoes, but I did have to buy some from an Amish farmer that had tomatoes to spare for canning.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Well, it always makes me feel better to know that others are having the same problem....there isn't much you can do about the weather. It does surprise me that the plants are growing so well,in the cool temps. Learn something new everyday,

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

You could try putting plastic over the tomato plants at night. Also red plastic on the soil under the tomato plants is suppose to ripen tomatoes faster. It also probably keeps the soil warmer.

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