Homegrown tomatoes may be a summer harvest staple, but they’re surprisingly prone to problems that can cause them to wilt, dry up, or even die. If you recently checked on your garden and discovered your tomatoes in dire condition, you may have performed a quick Google search for “Why is my tomato plant dying?”
Whether you garden directly in the native soil or you prefer the ease and convenience of a tomato planter, diagnosing the cause of a wilted or dying tomato can be a challenge. That’s why it’s essential to know the most common ailments that affect tomato plants and how to recognize their symptoms. Then, you have a better chance of catching problems earlier and preventing further damage.
10 Possible Reasons Why Your Tomato Plant is Dying
At A Garden Patch, we want every garden enthusiast to enjoy the sweeter things in life, and by that, we mean plump and juicy homegrown tomatoes fresh off the vine. One of the easiest ways to produce a bountiful harvest of tomatoes is with our GrowBox planter, whether you’re a first-time gardener or a seasoned expert. Our self-watering planter and Nutrient Patch deliver a continuous supply of water, oxygen, and fertilizer, giving your tomatoes everything they need to mature into healthy plants and produce a generous crop.
However, tomato plants can be surprisingly sensitive to their surrounding environment and prone to certain ailments, including the following:
1. Not Enough (Or Too Much) Sunlight
Tomatoes are sun-loving plants. Too much shade stunts their growth; too much sunlight dries them out and causes cracked and scalded fruit. At a minimum, tomatoes need five hours of sunlight every day, but you should aim for six to eight hours.
2. Improper Watering
Improper watering techniques can severely damage your tomatoes, so avoid over- or under-watering. Instead, water two to three times per week at the plant’s base, as watering overhead can cause fungal growth. Alternatively, you can take the guesswork and hassle out of the process and use the GrowBox, which is self-watering. Just add water every few days, and the planter takes care of the rest!
3. Nutrient Deficiencies
Giving your tomato plants the wrong type or dosage of fertilizer can also lead you to Google “Why is my tomato plant dying?” Tomatoes need a wide variety of nutrients, including:
If you’re not keen on applying chemical fertilizers to your tomatoes, once again, GrowBox takes care of that for you. We included all the essential vitamins and minerals tomato plants need right in the Nutrient Patch, which goes directly on top of the soil and self-fertilizes to ensure optimal conditions and superior growth.
4. Poor-Quality Soil
Tomatoes grow best in slightly acidic soils (pH 6.0 – 6.5) with a loamy texture, sufficient drainage, and proper nutrient balance. Avoid using soil with high nitrogen levels or other chemical imbalances that can harm plant growth. Or, eliminate the chance of a soil imbalance altogether by growing your tomatoes in a premium-quality potting mix and a properly-ventilated planter to facilitate oxygen flow and drainage.
5. Blossom End Rot
Blossom end rot (BER) is a common affliction that causes round, blackish-brown mushy spots on the bottom of tomatoes. In most cases, BER occurs due to a calcium deficiency caused by a soil imbalance or conditions that hinder the plant’s ability to absorb this essential nutrient. You can try adding in garden dolomite, or prevent BER by mixing high-calcium limestone into the soil two or three months before planting.
6. Fungal Wilt Diseases
Tomato plants are vulnerable to fungal wilt diseases, including the two most common: Fusarium and Verticillium wilt. Fungal spores enter the root system and then restrict the movement and absorption of water and nutrients, making the leaves turn yellow and wilted. You can prevent fungal wilt by using fresh soil for every crop in a planter rather than the ground.
7. Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus
Despite the name, the tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) can infect hundreds of other plant species. Tomatoes with TSWV will have drooping leaves with yellow spots that ultimately turn brown and stunted growth. Sadly, there’s no remedy for TSWV besides removing the infected plant entirely from your garden. You can prevent the spread of TSWV by keeping your garden and tomato plants free of thrips, which carry the virus and transmit it to plants as they feed.
8. Pest Infestations
Tomato plants make a tasty treat for a variety of pests, including stalk borers, root-knot nematodes, aphids, thrips, tomato hornworms, cutworms, red spider mites, and whiteflies, to name a few. However, most pests simply eat the plant’s stalk or leaves. The insects most likely to cause wilting are the root-knot nematode and stalk borer.
9. Bacterial Canker
Canker is a dirt-bound bacterial disease that enters tomato plants via weak spots in their leaves, usually due to overhead watering that causes dirt to splash up on the plant. If your ripening tomatoes have yellow spots with a dark circle around them, bacterial canker is likely the culprit. Sadly, there’s no treatment other than destroying the infected plant.
10. Insufficient Airflow
Just like humans, plants need proper ventilation and enough airflow to provide sufficient oxygen. For example, improperly pruning tomato plants, using dense, wet soil with poor drainage, or planting your tomatoes too close together can all restrict airflow. You can prevent these problems altogether with GrowBox!
Our Nutrient Patch uses numbers as a visual aid to ensure that every tomato plant has perfect spacing. Plus, our GrowBox features university-developed technology for optimal airflow, drainage, and soil conditions by adding ventilation at the top and bottom of the planter.
Grow Healthy Tomatoes and Enjoy Gardening Again with GrowBox
With the GrowBox, never again will you have to ask yourself, “Why is my tomato plant dying?” Our self-watering planter makes it so easy to grow plump, juicy tomatoes, you’ll be eating them year-round! Just add potting mix, plant your tomatoes, water them every few days, and watch them thrive. Place your GrowBox order online now, or call (800) 519-1555 to order over the phone.