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Tomato is a simple and easy plant to grow. It needs basic things, such as sun, water, and nutrient-rich soil. However, even these plants can be troubled by some things, such as high temperatures, rapid cooling, pathogenic organisms, and inadequate tomato nutrition. One of the things that can happen to them is that they start wilting, good thing is, it is not so hard to save and revive them.
There are a number of reasons why your tomato plants have started wilting, and we will write them in this article, but, as we said, it is usually very easy to revive them, all you need to revive wilted tomato plants is water and fertilizers. We will talk more in-depth about it as well later on.
What to do to not get into this situation
Tomatoes are more suited to sunny periods and much humidity, which is why they grow best in areas with a mild Mediterranean climate.
To grow and develop tomatoes well, they need a large amount of light. Therefore, if you grow it in the garden it will best produce in the summer. Growing in sheltered areas during the autumn and winter months does not provide the most favorable conditions because there is not much natural light then. Specifically, it takes up to 10 hours of light a day to flower and develops tomato fruits.
In the growth and ripening stages, tomatoes need large amounts of potassium. Due to the lack of potassium, the fruits could develop less and remain green in the places along the petiole. Feedings are done two to three times and KAN fertilizer is used for this. Feeding should be done at the flowering stage, during the harvest of the first fruits and when the fruits are ripe.
Tomatoes have a great need for water, especially during flowering and during fruit formation. Therefore, it is important to provide more water in these few months when flowering and fruit development takes place. In addition to moderate soil moisture, it also requires moderate air humidity.
Tomatoes should be provided with nutrient-dense soil, which will make the plant healthier. If you want to nurture tomatoes without the use of chemical agents, you can regularly spray it with horseradish tea, which is good against fungal diseases.
How to prevent tomato plants from wilting
Tomato plants wilt when they don’t get enough water, but they can also wilt if they get too much water!
So, when the weather is hot and sunny, for example, tomatoes can wilt because leaves and stems lose water faster than they can replenish. If they continue to fade after the sun goes down, this is probably a sign that they need more water. Often, plants revive when the sun goes down, if that happens, it means they probably don’t need more water.
On the other hand, if they get enough water on a regular basis, they may be getting too much water, which will also cause wilting. Too much water drowns the roots and it cannot absorb the water from the soil, causing the tomato plant to wilt.
From the very formation of the fruit to the end of the harvest, the tomatoes need 6 – 7 gal/sq of water if irrigation is done by the rain. When growing outdoors in the summer, the need for moisture is even greater, so tomatoes need 9 – 11 gal/sq of water per week. It would be ideal to provide a drip irrigation system, and the best time to water the tomatoes is definitely in the early morning when the soil is coldest. This is especially true for the summer months. This is equally important for the production of tomatoes in a sheltered area.
In case you have watered them too much, you will see after-water puddles that do not dry within half an hour or longer. Don’t despair though, tomato plants that are over-watered can recover. Stop watering them immediately, and start again only when the soil around them is dry at a depth of about 2 inches.
Tomato plants diseases that cause wilting
Tomato wilting can be caused by many abiotic factors like extremely high temperatures or lack of water, and from parasitic diseases, with bacteriosis, mycoses caused by fungi of the genus Verticillium and Fusarium. From the genus Verticillium wilting can cause species of Verticillium albo atrum and V. dahliae. These species occur in more than 200 plant species, including cultivated plants such as potatoes, eggplants, peppers, cucumbers, strawberries, and many others, on woody species, but also on weeds.
Fusarium wilt of tomato plants is caused by the species Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici, which occurs on tomatoes only. Tomato wilt caused by parasitic fungi is present in growing tomatoes in the field and in protected areas.
How to save wilted tomato plants
If the tomato plants start to whiter because of their lack of water, start watering them more. There is a possibility that they began to wilt during hot days if that is the case they should stop to wilting in the evening and in that case you do not need to water them again.
Then, you could be watering them too much. If that is the case, just stop watering them, and start only when soil is dry at 2 inches deep.
Here are some other reasons why tomato plants wilt.
Tomato plants start wilting after transplanting
Transplanting tomato plants can sometimes damage the root and cause them to wilt. But when they start to grow in their new environment, they usually start to recover again.
You have to look out not to tear or cut tomato plant roots when you transplant them, as well as not to water them too much.
If you are planting them somewhere outside on direct sunlight, try to put something over them, like newspaper, or something like that, till they don’t adjust to the heat.
Tomato plants wilting caused by diseases
When Fusarium and Verticillium fungi are infected, there are no effective curative procedures, so precautionary measures must be taken.
In open-air cultivation, one of the measures is a 4-5 year crop rotation in which plant species that do not host these pathogenic fungi (wheat, corn, sugar beet, cabbage, etc.) are represented.
A smaller number of crops are cultivated in protected areas, so crop rotation is less important. Nevertheless, crop rotation should be carried out when possible. The causes of wilting are the inhabitants of the soil. They reach protected areas usually by infected plant residues, seedlings, footwear, clothing, and because of the lack of hygiene in and around the protected area, so all procedures that reduce the risk of substrate contamination should be applied.
In addition, it is recommended to grow in well-drained soils with a pH of 6.5 to 7 and fertilize with nitrogen-containing fertilizers in nitrate form. Hybrids labeled V (Verticillium) or For (F. oxysporum) on the packaging are relatively resistant to these pathogenic species (Plant Disease Resistance Codes), although there are other Vd and Fo2 markings, respectively. Such hybrids are, for example, Belle, Vadetta, Moroe, and others.
It is possible to vaccinate tomatoes on relatively resistant soil fungus and roundworms. Vaccination is extra work, but it produces good results.
In the control of harmful organisms from the soil (Fusarium, Verticillium, and others), the best effect is achieved by pasteurization with water vapor, but it is also the most expensive procedure.
Solarization as a method is good for shallow root plants, for the production of seedlings. Dazomet has been registered for chemical soil disinfection.