Asked by: Sica Villodres
home and garden landscaping

Why do tomato plants grow tall and spindly?

Last Updated: 20th June, 2020

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The main reason for tall, spindly tomatoseedlings is a lack of light. As the plants straintoward the light, they grow taller, thinner, and morefragile. The spindly stem will sprout roots and become partof a deep, strong root system, and the top part of the plantwill quickly grow to make up for it.

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Also know, why do my tomato plants get too leggy?

The most common cause of leggy seedlings is lackof strong, overhead lighting. Tomato plants become long andspindly when they are reaching for the light. If the lightonly comes from one direction, then your seedlings not onlybecome leggy, but will also lean towards thelight.

Also, how do I stop my tomato plants from growing too tall? Top the tomato plant when it grows tothe top of its cage or stake. By doing this, it allows moreof the plant's energy to be directed at growing thefruit as opposed to the stems. Cut off each top verticalstem with shears, removing the stem 1/4 inch above where aside shoot diverges from the main verticalshoot.

Correspondingly, how do you fix leggy tomatoes?

If the soil is warm enough and the seedlings are matureenough to be transplanted, harden them off and get them outside inthe sun to keep them from growing leggier. If you have leggytomato seedlings, the best way to correct them is to repot them(or transplant them) and bury the stems up to the lowest set ofleaves.

Why are my plants growing tall and thin?

A very common mistake some gardeners make whenstarting their seeds can include depriving their seedlings ofthe light they need to thrive and grow. If yourseedlings are tall, "leggy" or thin, understand thisis caused by the plant having to "reach" for their lightsource.

Related Question Answers

Avis Buch

Professional

Should I prune my tomato plants?

To encourage a strong stem, I trim all suckersand I don't tie plants to their supports until the firstflowers appear. Determinate tomatoes need no pruningother than removing all suckers below the first flower cluster,because pruning won't affect their fruit size orplant vigor.

Samantha Testas

Professional

How do you prune tomato plants?

How to Prune Tomato Plants?
  1. You want to start pruning tomato plants a when they get to beabout 1 – 2 feet tall.
  2. By the time your tomato plant gets to be this size, the plantwill have branches coming off the main stem.
  3. Using a sharp, clean pair of pruning shears, snip these smallsucker branches off.

Aiara Caldenhoven

Professional

How many times a day do you water a tomato plant?

Water newly planted tomatoes well tomake sure soil is moist and ideal for growing. Early in thegrowing season, watering plants daily in the morning. Astemperatures increase, you might need to water tomatoplants twice a day. Garden tomatoes typicallyrequire 1-2 inches of water a week.

Sergejus Agarkar

Explainer

How do I make my tomato plants bushy?

Place a tomato cage over the plants aftertransplanting them into the soil or a pot. To grow vining andsemi-bush tomatoes as short, bushy plants, prune thecentral stems when the plants reach the desiredheight.

Love Holderried

Explainer

Why are my tomato plants tall and thin?

The most common reason for tall, spindlytomato plants is a lack of sun. Tomato plants requirea minimum of six to eight hours of direct sunlight a day. If theyreceive less light, the vines begin to stretch for the light,causing them to elongate. These plants are also referred toas "leggy."

Diago Yosi

Explainer

Lassana Bartsch

Pundit

How do I stop my plants from growing taller?

That being said, it's a good idea to familiarize yourselfwith how far away to keep your grow lights from the tops of yourplants.
  1. Consider Drastic Measures If You're Still in the VegetativeStage.
  2. Move Tallest Plants to Edges of Grow Space.
  3. Raise Grow Lights as High as Possible.
  4. Turn Down Light Intensity.

Pamela Escriu

Pundit

How do you pinch back tomatoes?

Pinching back typically refers to the practice ofpinching out the center leaves on the growing tips ofplants. This procedure forces new growth to appear along the stemof the plant, creating dense, compact foliage. When it comes totomatoes, it also means pinching out plant growth tocurtail size of the plant.

Reduan Moline

Pundit

Can leggy seedlings recover?

Seedlings also grow leggy when they arestarted too early. Once seedlings get too long andleggy many wonder if they can sink the stems lower inthe soil once the plants are put outside. This works for tomatoplants but most others can't be sunk into the ground in thatway.

Touraya Signorelli

Pundit

What does leggy plant mean?

Plants that become leggy or floppy tend tofall over, produce less flowers and create an untidy spindlyappearance. There are a couple of reasons why plants aretall and leggy. Leggy plant growth may be the resultof too much nitrogen or even low light situations.

Maurilia Wirt

Teacher

What are leggy seedlings?

Legginess occurs when a seedling's internode (orstem) grows long and thin. It makes them hard to transplant, easyto break on accident, less likely to grow well, and can result inwild, loose heads of greens that can impact sales. There are fourmain reasons that seedlings becomeleggy.

Reinhard Guenot

Teacher

How do you strengthen tomato seedlings?

Brushing Tomato Plants
  1. Begin brushing seedlings when they are 2-3 inches high. Passyour hand lightly over the seedlings several times a day.
  2. When seedlings are 4 inches tall, push them a little harder.Grasp stems and bend them back and forth, being careful not todisturb their roots.

Heinrich Olbertz

Teacher

What do you need to grow tomatoes?

Tomato Growing: Six Requirements for Success
  1. Sunlight. Tomatoes require a minimum of 8 hours of continuoussunlight each day.
  2. Temperature. Tomatoes need 3 to 4 months of warm, clear, fairlydry weather to produce best.
  3. Continuous and even watering.
  4. Continuous feeding.
  5. Loose, well-drained soil.
  6. Protect leaves and roots.

Annalisa Stenkamp

Reviewer

When should I transplant my tomato seedlings?

Wait until seedlings are six to 10 inches tall.A good rule is to transplant when the height ofyour seedling is three times the diameter of its pot. Potthem up individually in half-gallon milk cartons or four- tosix-inch-diameter pots. Again, you can plant them right upto their first set of leaves.

Omara Toenniessen

Reviewer

Can I trim overgrown tomato plants?

Trim back overgrown plants by selectingthe three strongest stems and removing all others at the base.Avoid cutting off more than one third of the plant.Trim off dead and broken branches.

Wasif Anduaga

Reviewer

How tall do cherry tomato plants grow?

Planting cherry tomatoes should be done after theplants are 6 to 10 inches (15-25 cm.) tall. If youdo it before this time, your tomato plants may die.Make sure when growing cherry tomato plants that youfertilize the ground.

Rares Gombert

Reviewer

Should you pinch the top of tomato plants?

Pinch off the tip of the main shoot a leafor two above the fourth flower truss. You can leavegreenhouse plants to grow on. I prefer not to cut them offin their prime, but let them develop until early September beforepinching out the growing tip of the main shoot acouple of leaves beyond the topmost flowers.

Qadeer Kings

Supporter

What is topping a tomato plant?

"Topping" a plant means pinching orcutting off its growing tip (presuming you've trained it to asingle stem) and preventing suckers from growing out of the upperleaf axils.

Surjit Hugel

Supporter

What is the difference between determinate and indeterminate tomatoes?

Determinate tomatoes, or "bush" tomatoes,are varieties that grow to a compact height (generally 3 - 4').Determinates stop growing when fruit sets on the top bud.Indeterminate tomatoes will grow and produce fruit untilkilled by frost. They can reach heights of up to 12 feet although 6feet is normal.